Remember how fun Kinect Sports was? No? Good, because neither do we. It was basically a glorified tech demo that showed off the capabilities of the Kinect without really using it to do anything actually fun. Once the whole novelty of using your body to control the action on-screen wore off, players were left with an assortment of mini-games that weren’t even really enjoyable to play through the first time around. In fact, while the Kinect is an absolutely amazing piece of technology, Microsoft has never really found a way to integrate it into the gameplay in any meaningful way. At best, companies are stuck making gimmicky titles that are awkward to control and devoid of any real content. At worst, you’re using it to order a pizza.
So when the first new exclusive announced at the Microsoft E3 conference today was Kinect Sports Rivals, one could almost hear the gaming community release one big collective “meh”. No one has been clamoring for another sequel to Kinect Sports, and that’s because no one wanted to play the first one for more than five minutes. The big addition this time, going off the “challenge the world” in the trailer, will be some online play which would be novel if you couldn’t already do that in every sports game ever.
Microsoft might have teased 15 totally exclusive awesome games for the Xbox One within the first year, but, when that number is inflated by stuff like this, the excitement starts to wane a bit. There was a time when a new Rare exclusive would actually be something to look forward to. Perfect Dark, Donkey Kong and Conker’s Bad Fur Day were some of the best titles on the Nintendo 64, but now Rare seems to be wallowing around in the casual end of the gaming market, and the best thing we can usually say about these games is “oh, my uncle that doesn’t play video games might find this interesting” (although the subsequent announcement of a new Killer Instinct title does lead me to believe Rare hasn’t completely jumped the shark yet). If too many of the Xbox One exclusives end up being something for the Kinect, I have a hard time imaging that Microsoft will be winning back all the hardcore gamers (and Hardcore Gamer staff members) that are threatening to jump ship after the debacle of their launch conference.