News Article

Talking Point: Are Small Games Kinect's Future?

Posted Sat, 30 Apr 2011 by James Newton

Are they?

Are they?

Appy days on the way?

Yesterday we reported that Fruit Ninja might be coming to Kinect, and we know that Doodle Jump in bounding to Kinect too. In fact, of late we've had more announcements of smaller games than big AAA titles coming to the sensor, prompting us to ask "are small games Kinect's future?"

So far the biggest complaint levelled against Microsoft's wonder sensor is that there just aren't enough games available for it: there are currently 27 Kinect games available worldwide, all of which have been retail releases. Compare that to the 64 PlayStation Move games, of which 20 have seen release on PlayStation Network, and the drought looks worse.

An increased emphasis on smaller games, delivered through Xbox Live Arcade, could help to redress the balance: whereas many retail games lack the depth to justify spending £40/$50, impulse buys of 800 Microsoft Points would help to expand the sensor's catalogue. So far there are no Xbox Live Arcade games for Kinect, a gaping hole in Microsoft's success plan, but one the arrival of popular titles like Fruit Ninja and Doodle Jump should help to fill.

On the other hand, do we really need more throwaway gaming experiences on Kinect, even cheap ones? Would you rather have a brief, cheap and fun download game than a lengthy, expensive and fun retail game? Join the discussion in our comments thread below.

Tags: Kinect, Talking Points, Features.

User Comments


1. davahsa United States 30 Apr 2011, 19:30 BST

I think E3 will set the record straight. One things for Christmas 2011 there will be a general consensus about what you should expect from Kinect. . . Fitness/dance games, mini games and or core games. There will need to be a at least a couple of AAA core games that come out (that are fun-and work!) this year for the Kinect to win over the fan boys. . . otherwise it will be a long haul. Kinda like when Sony showed Final Fantasy 2 years before the PS3. It took them a long time to get where they are at. If RROD never happened than the PS3 would have sold like the Gamecube. In turn-the Kinect could get labeled as a casual device that core gamers will choose a Move controller over a Kinect causing Kinect to be stereo typed as casual only for a couple of years. . . till eventually those AAA games trickle out. Hopefully we don't have to wait for Kinect 2 to get our fix. I'm holding out hope that Steel Battalion will be one of these games


2. ifell41 Netherlands 30 Apr 2011, 21:41 BST

I dont need "little games" to get me satisfied or something... I think we've all been given a wrong impression of what the kinect would be like, through demo's like "milo". I was expecting stuff like that to come out at the release of the sensor. I am still waiting for games like that, instead of the glitchy sports stuff. I want games that give me a deeper sense of involvement on the overall gameplay experience. I dont need stuff I could play with a controller just as well, but can be played with kinect as a novelty.


3. AppleSprode United Kingdom 30 Apr 2011, 22:21 BST

I think it's way too premature for an article like this. Write it after E3 if the situation hasn't improved. Naturally any big game Microsoft is sitting on, or any big developer, will be saved for E3.

That aside, any comparison to Move in terms of numbers isn't entirely fair. Many Move games are just standard games that support Move (because it's far easier to quickly implement), or games that are easy to port to such a device because devs are so used to creating games for the Wii and it's uses are obvious. Kinect naturally needs more attention and creativity from developers; games can't simply be patched or ported from the Wii.

As it stands, I think Kinect is in a much healthier position with regards to UNIQUE games created from the ground-up entirely for it. Whilst the first half of the year has been a drought (as it is after the launch of virtually any new hardware) we already have the likes of Project Draco, Child of Eden, Steel Battalion 2, Codename D, Haunt, Star Wars Kinect, The Gunstringer to look forward to in the second half of the year, whereas the only game built for Move that looks interesting that I know of, is Sorcery. It's nice that it is used in games such as Killzone, but I bought Kinect for new experiences, not same old games, different input.


4. Kinectronic United Kingdom 30 Apr 2011, 23:41 BST

I think that small games have a place, but I don't think that they're the future for Kinect.

The problem with things such as Fruit Ninja and Doodle Jump, is that they're great timewasters. If I'm at work or sat waiting for a train, I'll fire up Doodle Jump and have a blast. I very, very much doubt I would bother loading up my Xbox 360 to play half an hour of Doodle Jump or Fruit Ninja when I have games such as Rock Band, FIFA, Kinect Sports, Shift 2 and Hot Pursuit sitting there waiting to be played.

Some players will get a kick out of small games, but I really can't see the REALLY small games (Fruit Ninja, Doodle Jump) doing very well at all. They're essentially really simple Flash games ported to the iPhone and Android. Angry Birds may do well, as it has goals, rewards, a structure and a reason to play on - much like a "big" game - but these minor iPhone diversions just won't be substantial enough to hold many people's attention.

Kinect needs to have a good E3. A second Kinect Sports would help, and I'm sure that Microsoft has one or two things up its sleeve that will surprise the pants off us! The third parties will bring a lot of Kinect-enabled franchises to the table too, but those will undoubtedly vary in quality. If some companies have spent some damned TIME trying to build great experiences with Kinect, rather than shoehorning in sub-standard control options in to existing franchises (Virtua Tennis 4, I'm looking at you), Kinect could still be racking up the sales this coming holiday season.


5. SagaciousTien Australia 01 May 2011, 03:37 BST

I think it's too early to have an article about this topic - even as a basis for discussion. Microsoft certainly haven't shown their full hand yet and I would wait until E3 to see what they have in store for it. Clearly, they've been hinting that Kinect is a major focus for them and that they see a future for it beyond what we've already witnessed. Fruit Ninja and Doodle Jump are definitely experiences that suit Kinect well, and especially with Fruit Ninja - as a quick and easy means of having fun. You must of course realise that Fruit Ninja and Doodle Jump come from small studios, and have no affiliation with MS. They've seen great success on their platforms so far, and my guess is that it is just easier for them to try to capitalise on that current success than to keep coming up with new intellectual property and the next big thing. And companies like Cpcom are no stranger to this either - they've been porting Street Fighter 4 for 3 years now, and Im sure they're not finished flogging the game. At E3 Im sure we'll have a greater idea about what the future holds for Kinect and I believe it will be a more hopeful one. Certainly, they have several studios already working on games, and quite a few partnerships we know of. I'm certain that we'll see some sort of sequel to both Dance Central and Kinect Sports, and we'll most likely see more than that.


6. JamesNewton United Kingdom 01 May 2011, 10:58 BST

I don't doubt that we'll see lots of new stuff at E3 this year, and the article is in no way trying to write off Kinect retail stuff, but I do think there's a big gap in the market for smaller games

I think lots of studios will have ideas that would work really well on Kinect, but aren't necessarily big enough to make it to retail — that's where smaller games could really work. I'd like more Kinect games in general, though! :)


7. slapshot82 United States 01 May 2011, 18:50 BST

Kinect and Move are competition and will like stay that way for years to come. Move has had some games patched in, but there's a difference in patched games (MAG) and games that have been built around Move (Killzone 3). We've all played FPS games for years with a standard controller, but picking up Move isn't easy. It's what I consider to be an advanced control scheme over the standard controller, and takes weeks of dedication to get the grasp of — as well as finding the right settings to use (per game).

Kinect (imo) needs something like this. Even with Move we are seeing more alternate control schemes in big titles instead of stand-alone Move games.

Don't turn a blind eye toward the smaller game market too quickly. Some of the best Move games have come from small companies via PSN like Dungeon Hunter Alliance, echochrome ii, Auditorium HD, etc. Smaller titles cost much less to develop and the risk is significantly lower as well. This gives the developers more room to expand on creative ideas and therefore the potential for fantastic Kinect games that use the hardware in unique new way is highly possible. Considering the developers have to learn how to develop for the hardware with Kinect, that would likely be a good reason why we haven't seen these titles as of yet, but they will come, and when they do they will be at a lower cost for you! These few small iOS ports might be significant at the moment, but it shows that the Indy market is developing for Kinect, and that is a great thing! ;)


8. Doliskipper Sweden 03 May 2011, 09:52 BST

I don't want Doodle Jump or other cheap little rehased games. I would like too see good-quality, 800-points or so downloadable titles for the Kinect and Xbox Live.

Best example I can think of is Tumble for the PS3, which is a really good puzzle-game that's taking full advantage of the Move's particular features, and it was available from day 1 (I think) and downloadable from the PSN store, including a demo.


9. JamesNewton United Kingdom 03 May 2011, 10:55 BST

Agreed, Tumble is superb — still one of the best displays of what Move can do — and a great Kinect puzzle game would go down really well with many I'm sure!


10. slapshot82 United States 04 May 2011, 03:07 BST

and 9... I agree as well, Tumble itself would likely be amazing with Kinect!

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