If some of Microsoft's top talent had their way, Kinect wouldn't be totally controller-free.
The Xbox 360's Kinect is different from other motion control systems seen in the Nintendo Wii and the PlayStation Move because it doesn't incorporate any kind of handheld controller at all. When the project was being designed, and still called "Natal," members of Rare and even Peter Molyneux insisted that it come with a controller like its counterparts.
Rare creative director George Andreas revealed his and Molyneux's resistance to a controller-free Kinect in an interview with Edge magazine. Andreas says that he was given a look at Kinect in its early stages, when it was "held together with sticky tape," and thought it had potential. An added controller, however, was a necessity to him.
"We were absolutely adamant that we needed a button, something with haptic feedback, that would initiate an action," Andreas said of Rare's discussions about Kinect after seeing a prototype. He went on: "We were very vocal to Kudo [Tsunoda, Kinect lead] at the time, and Peter Molyneux was as well, that you needed something in your hand."
Andreas says that after prototyping Kinect, Rare was convinced that a controller-free scheme was actually better. " It took a long time - we threw some prototypes together and then we saw you didn't need one," he said. "You end up falling back on the [gamepad] control scheme. It's a crutch really."
I have no doubt that Kinect can provide tons of fun, but probably only for Kinect-specific games. For the games that many of us are used to, I just don't think there's anything that will be more accurate than pushing buttons and moving a d-pad/control stick. I think I actually agree with Sony when it said buttons are necessary for "hardcore experiences." I really believe that Kinect will be at least partially limited by the lack of something to put in your hand, though I would think that some developers will incorporate the Xbox 360 controller into the experience at some point. Only once Kinect gets out into the public for a while will we know for sure.