The reality of Project Natal that Microsoft unveiled at E3 this year, Kinect, wasn't exactly what the company promised when the technology was first teased at the E3 prior. One of the biggest omissions was the ability for the camera to detect objects and implement them into games. That wasn't present anywhere at E3 2010, so far as I could tell. So I asked Microsoft where it went.
"The video we unveiled at E3 2009 was intended to demonstrate the technological promise of Kinect for Xbox 360," said a Microsoft spokesperson in a brief statement released to me today. "The possibilities with Kinect are only limited by how far developers can push their imaginations."
There were two examples of Kinect, then Project Natal, putting this idea into practice.
"User Your Own Gear," touted the promotional video, as a young boy held his own skateboarding deck in front of the device. Kinect took the graphics from the deck, brought them into the game (called a "custom scan" in the video) and let to begin playing a skateboarding game with it.
The feature garnered some snide laughs from audience members, given that famed skateboarder Tony Hawk had been on stage just a little bit earlier showing off his expensive new peripheral.
"Facial Recognition" was a separate proposed feature for Kinect, where the device would recognize the individual and bring their Avatar (a more realistic one?) onto the screen automatically.
Microsoft themselves did not show off either of these features at E3, nor did any developers that I'm aware of. Maybe Kinect is capable of doing both to a more limited degree than the promotional video promised (likely, given the disappearing act), but if Microsoft isn't willing to take the lead and show developers it's confident the technology can pull it off, it's no surprise third-parties aren't diving in.