Why Isn’t Kinect “Kinecting” with Hardcore Gamers?

The Epic insanity continues. If you hadn’t heard, it almost doesn’t matter by now. Confirmed rumors of a Gears of War Kinect title have been trumped by a press update stating the game will never be. Gears of War: Exile has officially been mulched. Epic Games design director Cliff Bleszinski stated, “Gears of War: Exile was an unannounced game that…has since been cancelled.”

What does this mean for the Kinect?

The Gears of War franchise has sold nearly 20 million units. The possibility of transferring these high level sales onto the Kinect could not only mean a significant increase in Kinect sales, but more importantly the opening of a market that the Kinect has lacked: more serious titles. If you have a Wii, it’s still hard to find a reason to get a Kinect. Sure there’s been a handful of decent Kinect titles, but nothing that stands above the games compatible with Playstation 3 Move or Nintendo Wii.

PS3 and 360 have always appealed to the more serious gamers, and a push for blockbuster Kinect titles (decent ones) would mean hardcore gaming gold. While the Kinect helps the Xbox compete with the Wii and Move, it is also solid market research for what gamers prefer in a system. The thought of Epic taking the reins and leading a last minute revolution in Kinect games could have changed the face of the next generation console.

Some gamers may laugh off these serious attempts at Kinect games, but the good people at Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony are taking serious notes. Failures now may cripple future attempts to retain loyal fans against each respective competitor. If one of the three console giants perfects the motion capture in the next generation, they could force a lot of gamers to jump ship. Move brought on a few non-platform titles that hardcore gamers had been hoping to see. Socom 4 may not have been a franchise fan favorite, but it certainly wasn’t the worst shooter. And of course, there was Killzone 3. The Kinect has suffered the same simplistic boundaries that the Wii endures. Serious titles are laughed away or not attempted. The remaining successful games are platforms, sports, or family oriented. The console to break the mold may take the cake.

Gears of War: Exile is staying true to its name, and will never exist alongside the other Gears titles. Stories like these break my heart. Who doesn’t want a cover based first person shooter that requires you to hide on opposite sides of your TV, forcing the player into blind cover? What gamer doesn’t need that extra level of suspense provided by a more physical survival horror experience (not counting Rise of Nightmares)? Why wouldn’t you want to motion a chainsaw to slice some Locusts in half? Moments like these are being postponed or indefinitely suspended.

Epic brought 360 owners a new console mascot. Imagine if Mario so quickly abandoned a Nintendo product. It certainly leaves the future of the Kinect (or its next gen counterpart) in peril for adoption by anything but the most casual gamers.