Kinect Is Not For You

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Kinect Is Not For You

Why Microsoft's marketing plan ignores core gamers: Microsoft needs to market its Kinect so that it's perceived as the one thing to get this holiday season.

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Although I don't own a current generation console, I'm pretty sure the Wii has made it clear this sort of controllers doesn't work with "hardcore" games, silly remote or not. I really don't think anyone feels (or should feel) betrayed by this, especially with if it makes such real business sense.

Give it time, eventually Kinect will have some Core games, then the core audience can complain about those.

After all, Nintendo went after that casual market at first, and they got really, really successful. Now that they have a big audience and everything, they're moving back to the core gamers with a crapload of amazing looking games geared for the "hardcore" crowd.

And besides. Microsoft is a business, they'll market to where the money's at. And right now the money's with all the casual gamers.

Argh! Will they make up their bloody mind already!? Are they trying to market to core or not? Every week there's a new article contradicting the last! You know what, fuck it I didn't plan to buy the damned thing anyway; I'll just let its library of games do the talking once its out.

/rage

Motion Controls might not be good for FPS? There are plenty of 'core' games that aren't FPS, they'll figure it out eventually.

Children of Eden. That is all.

Irridium:
Give it time, eventually Kinect will have some Core games, then the core audience can complain about those.

After all, Nintendo went after that casual market at first, and they got really, really successful. Now that they have a big audience and everything, they're moving back to the core gamers with a crapload of amazing looking games geared for the "hardcore" crowd.

And besides. Microsoft is a business, they'll market to where the money's at. And right now the money's with all the casual gamers.

Not eally we were told that we'd get Zelda, Mario Metroid etc.. but for Kinect they haven't announced anything to look foward to. They should lower the price to $100 add an internet browser and advertise it as a way to explore th internet watch videos etc.. without a controller. There is no way to make a core game with that thing unless you'd enjoy being guided around a path.

The one problem I see with this article is that it's almost completely brushing aside that it's defined "core gamers" might actually enjoy some things on it as well as the "people who play games". Don't assume that just because people classify themselves as a gamer, that they'll hate the Kinect or the software titles that come with it within the next year or so. There's no way of knowing for sure until it's out and people have tried it for themselves. I call myself a gamer and I believe I can still enjoy what the Kinect has to offer. It's not as black & white as you think

Fenixius:
Children of Eden. That is all.

I don't plan on getting high while payin games so this isn't for me. I have no idea what the hell that guy is doing and playing this while sober would give me a headache. Even if I did find that game fun it doesn't justify a $150 Kinect purchase.

After watching that vid I now know how the double rainbow guy felt.

There's a strange stigma against playing video games (in America), I don't quite understand it, really.
But I am hoping that Kinect and Wii introduce people to the medium properly... and then they move onto games with more substance than petting virtual animals and playing golf.

Am I calling Kinet and Wii the gateway drugs of gaming? Hell yes.

Having a person like you writing for the Escapist with marketing background/experience is really refreshing. Keep up the good work, I shall be less bashful but still that doesn't reduce it greatly.

Looking at how Microsoft is marketing the Kinect, and looking at the titles available at launch, it is obvious that Microsoft is planning on going after the Wii's Blue Ocean market, while banking on the Xbox brand name to bring in some of the core and enthusiast gamer.

It should be interesting to see how the Kinect, and the PS Move, will do. Will they be the bridge that the Wii has not been for the gaming industry, getting all of those new gamers to purchase more traditional titles?

I don't think it will be nearly as popular as they hope it will. I don't fancy breaking my back in order to get my onscreen counterpart to take one step forward.

Midnight0000:
The one problem I see with this article is that it's almost completely brushing aside that it's defined "core gamers" might actually enjoy some things on it as well as the "people who play games". Don't assume that just because people classify themselves as a gamer, that they'll hate the Kinect or the software titles that come with it within the next year or so. There's no way of knowing for sure until it's out and people have tried it for themselves. I call myself a gamer and I believe I can still enjoy what the Kinect has to offer. It's not as black & white as you think

But do you think that you will get $150 worth of enjoyment? I hope if you buy it that you do find this the case. Or at least that you will eventually.

I certainly didn't get my money's worth from the Wii soley from Wii Sports. I did however from the Wii's "core" games. I don't own an Xbox, only the other 2; I certainly won't be buying Move on release day. That is some expensive hardware that I don't see being worth it.. yet anyway. When I see something I want then of course I would consider buying it. I expect that alot of Xbox owners feel the same about Kinect.

Good article.

Kinect both interest me and concerns me in a way.
I'm interested in seeing what it can do first hand, seeing what devs come up with, while alot of it will no doubt be showelware I'm willing to believe that some bright spark could come along and make some truely great titles, while leaving others to carry on with the fuzzy happy moms and dads get involved crap. I'm willing to give it time to, to let the stuff that'd appeal to us develope... kind of in the same as games early on in a consoles release often look alot more shoddy than same-genre games late in the machines life, this motion control stuff will need time to be understood and realised by alot of developers before we get the good shit.
On the other hand it concerns me because if that creativity, for whatever reason, does not get a chance to shine through... if it was to get constantly swept aside in favour of "Cute kitten playtime 4" or whatever, is that then gonna lead to the gradual extinction of the hard-core gaming we all seem to go for, while the hordes buy up the shovelware ready for that party on friday night?

We shall see.

Fenixius:
Children of Eden. That is all.

I can get an acid trip for less than $150 I'm sure.

"People who play games" aka 90% of the playlist population in MW2. (RIP CoD)

When did you start playing games? When it became cool? Fuck off back to Farmville.

What does Xbox LIVE really need? Oh, I know, more children! Fuck that.

Women aged 25-40 say, "You are welcome, Microsoft, for our continued, relentless product loyalty over the past 9 years." ...wait a minute.

At least Sony hasn't sold out much....YET.

/rant

Optimystic:

Fenixius:
Children of Eden. That is all.

I can get an acid trip for less than $150 I'm sure.

It'll be more fun too!!!

The issue I see is, that WAS the go-to strategy... before realizing that the core they expected would always be there slowly but surely is losing any reason to be. Valve aren't exclusive to them anymore, Bungie isn't exclusive to them anymore, Dead Rising 2 and Portal 2 and Mass Effect 2 are all not locks for the system. Those elements the core came to them for, they no longer can hold claim over for the console market. Hence recent statements pushing the Kinect on the core audience... because they gambled hard on the Kinect, and now it has to keep that core for the holidays or stand to lose a lot of ground. All the Justin Bieber sponsoring and Cirque Du Soliel hiring won't mean a thing if they can't keep firm hold of their market share.

Fenixius:
Children of Eden. That is all.

Looks like they took the concept play behind Elebits and made it make even less sense.

CORRODED SIN:
"People who play games" aka 90% of the playlist population in MW2. (RIP CoD)

When did you start playing games? When it became cool? Fuck off back to Farmville.

What does Xbox LIVE really need? Oh, I know, more children! Fuck that.

Women aged 25-40 say, "You are welcome, Microsoft, for our continued, relentless product loyalty over the past 9 years." ...wait a minute.

At least Sony hasn't sold out much....YET.

/rant

good sir, gaming has allways been cool.

also, I get the impression that I am not alone when I say that I couldn't care less about microsofts shiny new Wii-mote.

PS. don't give up on COD, see it as an opportunity to make gaming absolute hell for the children. After all if they are awful it should be no problem to decimate them right?

It's not a bad idea, in theory anyway. 'Casual' gamers certainly are a new and expanding market for video games.

There's just one problem.

CASUAL GAMERS ARE NOT GOING TO SPEND OVER $450 ON A VIDEO GAME SYSTEM WHEN THEY CAN HAVE FARMVILLE FOR FREE!

The success of the Wii in the casual gaming market is almost certainly directly related to its price point. At almost $100 less than its competitors, it represented a worthy investment to a market segment that doesn't play a lot of games, but wanted to try something novel and interesting. Now with the Wii console costing a mere $150, I just don't see 'casual' gamers shelling out three times as much for a gimmick with no guarantees of real enjoyment.

Granted, I'm not a professional marketer, but I don't know anyone who would shell out this kind of cash for a gaming peripheral or a console/peripheral bundle BESIDES a hardcore gamer. I think Microsoft is making a huge mistake by going this route.

RadiusXd:

CORRODED SIN:
"People who play games" aka 90% of the playlist population in MW2. (RIP CoD)

When did you start playing games? When it became cool? Fuck off back to Farmville.

What does Xbox LIVE really need? Oh, I know, more children! Fuck that.

Women aged 25-40 say, "You are welcome, Microsoft, for our continued, relentless product loyalty over the past 9 years." ...wait a minute.

At least Sony hasn't sold out much....YET.

/rant

good sir, gaming has allways been cool.

also, I get the impression that I am not alone when I say that I couldn't care less about microsofts shiny new Wii-mote.

PS. don't give up on COD, see it as an opportunity to make gaming absolute hell for the children. After all if they are awful it should be no problem to decimate them right?

I meant "cool" to the "cool" kids. I love gaming. I think its sweet.

No you are not.

I don't know man. I can pull more then my weight in CoD, but when some kids get in and realize the 203 is an insta-kill, you can't do shit. There is not a single weapon in the game that defeats the 203 once you are spotted except a wicked reaction time on top of a ridiculous connection. I'm switching back to MoH.

Another article that pretty much says what I'd imagine many here already know or have thought about. I do appreciate bringing on a writer with experience on the marketing side of things, and the writing itself certainly isn't bad, but I was really hoping we'd be getting more than a well written submission of the obvious.

Anyway, I think another angle that needs to be considered is that MS probably doesn't know exactly what it can do in the hardcore space yet. You can bet they want to show something that will make the core audience's collective jaw drop, and I firmly believe they would have done it at E3, but said experience just doesn't exist yet. With MS themselves not even seeming too sure on what sort of technology is going to be in the final Kinect product, core game designers can't honestly be expected to do more than create test engines and scribble their ideas in notebooks. There's no point in building something beyond the test stages if you're not even sure if the product needed to run it will be the same one that ends up on store shelves. And that's assuming a solid core title has even been imagined yet that really uses Kinect instead of just featuring tacked on Kinect support.

Nice article.

people keep bitching about it but if MS get richer it can only mean better games and software for everyone who owns MS products so you best hope it succeeds.

all you guys who own the xbox and feel "betrayed"...

it's not like they are going to stop making "core" games how can a company betray you by making more money which will inevitably lead to better, more numerous AAA games?

think about it, the casual games dont cost quite as much to develop ALL the time. the most expensive games are those like Halo Reach etc, I assume, therefore most of the money made by kinect will get put back into making games for the core audience.

I still think MS will make the same mistakes as Nintendo though and make instantly forgettable shovelware and once the casual market gets bored and stops buying games for it it will become useless.

unless they can make kinect appeal to core gamers, when they are finished hooking the casuals, then it will die eventually, core gamers are the perpetual dolllar, casual gamers are the big hit of dollar from what I can gather from hindsight.

Of course just my opinions as always I'm no pro marketer I'm just a forum goer, it's also not all black and white. I don't pretend to have any experience in the games industry.

RebellionXXI:
It's not a bad idea, in theory anyway. 'Casual' gamers certainly are a new and expanding market for video games.

There's just one problem.

CASUAL GAMERS ARE NOT GOING TO SPEND OVER $450 ON A VIDEO GAME SYSTEM WHEN THEY CAN HAVE FARMVILLE FOR FREE!

The success of the Wii in the casual gaming market is almost certainly directly related to its price point. At almost $100 less than its competitors, it represented a worthy investment to a market segment that doesn't play a lot of games, but wanted to try something novel and interesting. Now with the Wii console costing a mere $150, I just don't see 'casual' gamers shelling out three times as much for a gimmick with no guarantees of real enjoyment.

Granted, I'm not a professional marketer, but I don't know anyone who would shell out this kind of cash for a gaming peripheral or a console/peripheral bundle BESIDES a hardcore gamer. I think Microsoft is making a huge mistake by going this route.

Oh ho, you've read my mind sir.

If I may expand upon your point: I consider myself to be a "casual" moviegoer (as well as a quite avid gamer.) Fortunately the cinema supports my casualness; the most expensive a theater ticket gets is around $10, and videos don't go over $30 to own. If the only DVD player available cost $300, needed a separately sold $150 remote, and each film cost around $50m then I think that I would just start pirating movies. People were attracted by the Wii's $250 price point because the PS3 was still going for $600.

All the casual games success stories (Peggle, Farmville, Wii Sports etc.) worked because they were very cheap. They were either games that could work on any old computer or that ran on the fantastically inexpensive Wii.

The other problem with building on casual gamers is that they're notoriously fickle. Just wait until someone invents a robot that plays catch or a motion controlled computer and then you're lost. If Microsoft devotes it's energy to dominating every facet of entertainment and information, well, I'm sorry but that's a fight they're just not going to win.

I just can't see this venture being more profitable for Microsoft, then say, just making more very good games for their core demographic. Remember, we're called "core" gamers for a reason, without us we wouldn't have any sort of gaming.

I pray Kinect fails and burns.....though seeing how ignorant the masses are, especially in America, it also wouldn't shock me if it sold well.

It's a nice bit of technology with great potential but what's being offered is very shallow. People who like this kind of stuff probably already have wii.

I'm pretty sure that the people who are in Kinect's demographic already have a Wii. And they probably don't want to spend the 350+ dollars on a 360 and the kinect camera... thing... Aaaaand 60 bucks per game.

Of course I (perhaps unfairly) hate the damn thing.

What concerns me is Microsoft is releasing an entirely new peripheral for a system that is already 5 years old. Its processing power is already surpassed by affordable PC's and may have already hit its cap on what it can do for games already developed for it.
It has a history of malfunctions and breakdowns that would make for great sitcom material three times over by now, and now we have something to add to it that will place even more of a demand on it.
Console history has repeatedly shown what happens when a secondary system is added to a console: the company takes a beating because the system isn't up to snuff to really expanding the experience people want from the console. Sega was already on a downhill turn when it released the 32X and CD for the Genesis. Saturn and Dreamcast were its big white hopes for staying in contention. Now they have been reduced to the same status as Atari as games developer/publisher. Playing second banana to the current console makers with little influence or self-determination over what they can really do.
Granted Microsoft has a lot more on its plate than just its console, but as what was pointed out in the article, Microsoft has yet to enter into the handheld phone or handheld gaming market with significance(Whatever happened to the Zune?). Wolves are continually building in number biting at the OS and internet browser cookies that Microsoft still dominates but is slowly losing.
If Kinect doesn't extend the life of the 360 as Microsoft is hoping, then they better have a new system in the works that they have been keeping under excellent secrecy or we could very well see the dark days of Microsoft around the bend. And considering what they contribute to the marketplace, that could be bad. Very bad.

Iron Lightning:

I just can't see this venture being more profitable for Microsoft, then say, just making more very good games for their core demographic. Remember, we're called "core" gamers for a reason, without us we wouldn't have any sort of gaming.

Not to single you out, but your post kind of illustrates one of my issues with the casual vs. core dichotomy, in that the dichotomy assumes it's an either/or relationship, when clearly it's more of a spectrum. A better way to identify these people would be downstream and upstream users.

Think of it like say, with people who paint. People who paint casually or do so occasionally generally will not require really expensive brushes and a crap ton of equipment. They just don't have the skills and knowledge to make the purchase worth it, where as a sophisiticated painter will want to have all kinds of brushes to handle all the different strokes and techniques. However, it is not uncommon for a downstream painter to eventually become an upstream painter as they get better at this, consequentially, they start spending more and more on their hobby.

This, however, leads to what I believe is one of the few valid criticisms of MS' plan: the entry barrier is still really high. 450 USD just to get the equipment is a lot, especially for something that people don't consider to be a high prestige hobby. If MS really wants this to work, they need to find a way to cut costs significantly.

And you all want to know why so called "casual" games end up with a million shovelware? two reasons:

1. Sturgeon's Law: 99% of anything is crap. Core games are the same way. The only difference is that we generally only see the stuff in the spotlight, and those tend to not be TOO much off the mark.

2. The Casual = Idiotic fallacy: a lot of devs think that because something is casual, it doesn't have to be good, and put their crappiest dev team with no resources to make games for it. This is a fallacy that is easily refuted with the arcade games. i.e. games like Police 911, or Punchmania are incredibly easy to pick up, but clearly can be enjoyed by both so called "casual" and "core" gamers alike. The key difference between a casual game and a core game is the amount of convention/sophisticated know how from the player base. That is, a core game accepts that there are certain basic knowledges about the game that the player will HAVE to know even before they pick up the controller. Casual games, however, need to have a far more intuitive gameplay mechanic. Again, with motion detection boxing games, this is very clear. You dodge to not get hit, you swing to hit. (or you can block to not get hit) It doesn't, however, mean that the game can get away with being sloppy or simplistic. In fact, if anything, casual games probably need MROE thought put into it because you need to be far more considerate of the people you're making the game for.

gamer_parent:

Iron Lightning:

I just can't see this venture being more profitable for Microsoft, then say, just making more very good games for their core demographic. Remember, we're called "core" gamers for a reason, without us we wouldn't have any sort of gaming.

Not to single you out, but your post kind of illustrates one of my issues with the casual vs. core dichotomy, in that the dichotomy assumes it's an either/or relationship, when clearly it's more of a spectrum. A better way to identify these people would be downstream and upstream users.

Think of it like say, with people who paint. People who paint casually or do so occasionally generally will not require really expensive brushes and a crap ton of equipment. They just don't have the skills and knowledge to make the purchase worth it, where as a sophisiticated painter will want to have all kinds of brushes to handle all the different strokes and techniques. However, it is not uncommon for a downstream painter to eventually become an upstream painter as they get better at this, consequentially, they start spending more and more on their hobby.

This, however, leads to what I believe is one of the few valid criticisms of MS' plan: the entry barrier is still really high. 450 USD just to get the equipment is a lot, especially for something that people don't consider to be a high prestige hobby. If MS really wants this to work, they need to find a way to cut costs significantly.

And you all want to know why so called "casual" games end up with a million shovelware? two reasons:

1. Sturgeon's Law: 99% of anything is crap. Core games are the same way. The only difference is that we generally only see the stuff in the spotlight, and those tend to not be TOO much off the mark.

2. The Casual = Idiotic fallacy: a lot of devs think that because something is casual, it doesn't have to be good, and put their crappiest dev team with no resources to make games for it. This is a fallacy that is easily refuted with the arcade games. i.e. games like Police 911, or Punchmania are incredibly easy to pick up, but clearly can be enjoyed by both so called "casual" and "core" gamers alike. The key difference between a casual game and a core game is the amount of convention/sophisticated know how from the player base. That is, a core game accepts that there are certain basic knowledges about the game that the player will HAVE to know even before they pick up the controller. Casual games, however, need to have a far more intuitive gameplay mechanic. Again, with motion detection boxing games, this is very clear. You dodge to not get hit, you swing to hit. (or you can block to not get hit) It doesn't, however, mean that the game can get away with being sloppy or simplistic. In fact, if anything, casual games probably need MROE thought put into it because you need to be far more considerate of the people you're making the game for.

Please don't quote me out of context. What I meant was that (for most of the reasons you stated above) it's a better idea for Microsoft make good games then all the family-funtime shovelware that will hit us with Kinect.

I've got a good solution for your second qualm. What if we started designing games with optional in-depth tutorials. That way core gamers don't need to be reminded that "A" is jump for the nth time, and casual gamers can learn how to play something decent games.

The Children of Eden video was so nausea-inducing it literally made me want to vomit after watching < 30 seconds of it. That is all.

Iron Lightning:
Please don't quote me out of context. What I meant was that (for most of the reasons you stated above) it's a better idea for Microsoft make good games then all the family-funtime shovelware that will hit us with Kinect.

I've got a good solution for your second qualm. What if we started designing games with optional in-depth tutorials. That way core gamers don't need to be reminded that "A" is jump for the nth time, and casual gamers can learn how to play something decent games.

sorry about that. I was just illustrating a point. Not my intention to really quote you out of context. sloppy work on my part.

tutorials can be a good idea, if the idea of a tutorial or having to learn the game appeals to people. It's like me and medieval longsword fighting. I would LOVE to learn get into it. But in order for me to get into it, I have to expend large amounts of time to practicing and maybe even taking lessons, time that I just don't have right now.

Your solution will gap the knowledge gap, but it will still demand time from the players. i.e. SF4 is fairly easy to figure out how to play. It doesn't take too much to know the controls. But to get good enough so that the game is truly starting to shine? still takes practice.

And the more data you're requiring them to assimilate, the less effective it becomes. There's a certain point after which you're basically asking them to do a textbook exercise. There's going to be information overload past a certain point. This is why I think starcraft did a great job teaching people to play the game. They just used the single player campaign as a REALLY LONG tutorial.

I'm pretty sure most core gamers are aware that Kinect is not meant for them. It's just the feeling that Microsoft is turning it's back on the community that supports its gaming sector of business. Also, it just doesn't make sense to target an audience that doesn't already have an xbox. What casual Wii or Iphone user is going to shell out $450 for a 360 and Kinect package? NONE. They'll just go buy a Wii for half that.

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