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Opinion: Can Kinect cut it with hardcore gamers?

Microsoft's first expo presentation distances Kinect from core gamers...

Kinect has landed. Or should that be shyly stepped in from stage left?

As shockwaves from the Microsoft's opening E3 conference slowly become mere ripples of the excitement we felt in the months leading up to yesterday's unveiling, we've had a chance to collect our thoughts about just what Xbox's motion sensor outing will bring to the game-o-sphere.

Going on what we've seen from Team Xbox so far it's clear that Kinect is disappointingly going to go head-to-head with the Wii in the battle for the non-gamers. Rather than tackle the hardcore market from the off.

While we all quietly expected this we were secretly hoping to see a video of a senior dev team member stepping from a landing craft in full Mast Chief get up using mannerisms and gestures to unload clips at Covenent forces.

Instead we were treated to a rather dodgy looking Star Wars video where the player looked more reactive to the game than the other way round. Could this be the first incidence of video game miming?

If Star Wars works how George Lucas would like it'll be pretty cool to swing a Lightsaber at Lord Vader, but with this mouthwatering prospect comes the news from an insider source that there is only 'one core game at E3 for Kinect'. Our source could be wrong, but alarm bells should now be ringing.

Yes Kinectimals has been confirmed (Microsoft's take on EyePet), along with half a dozen 'demo-esque titles' that echoes the Wii Sports launch disc that was bundled with the Wii on shipping.

We've also heard murmurings of Fable III and Ghost Recon: Future Soldier taking advantage of the new Microsoft technology when they are released, but with only lightweight titles announced so far the question being asked is: "Will Kinect really be the motion sensor toy for harcore gamers Xbox lead us to believe it would be at E3 2009?"

We'd like to say yes but everything we've seen from the opening presentation at this year's expo points to Kinect's opening year being very much one for the more casual gamer.

Microsoft will have to remedy this very quickly if it wants to lure fans of titles like Gears of War toward the new controller.

This job has already been made difficult as a survey this month revealed that just 8% of current Xbox owners intend to purchase the £30 Kinect.

When the two HD consoles announced they would be joining Nintendo in the realms of motion sensor games a collective sigh could be heard from players of more epic adventures who feared this move would erode the enjoyment they got from gaming.

This fear appears to have been realised to some degree today.

We're sure developers will carry on making titles for the hardcore audience completely separate of Kinect, but with just one, as of yet unnamed 'serious' game lined up, the positioning of the toy formerly named Natal, is looking in doubt.

Fans will be hoping they have not been given the full Kinect picture at E3 and be crossing their fingers for an instalment of Halo or Gears bundled with the new device if just to build increase the profile of their much loved console and Microsoft's first venture into gesture-based gaming. Heck, we bet Xbox is hoping for the same thing.

Speculation aside, what we know about Kinect is that it's looking very much like the first family friendly HD Wii (to employ an overused term) to be announced this summer.

Whether it can better the PlayStation Move relies purely on the games Sony announce to support their glowing-balled motion controller.

We all know the technology exists but the spoils of this new controller war will go to the platform that ether let's you pick up a Lancer Assault Rifle or puts you in the woolly skin of Sackboy.

We look forward to seeing Sony's press conference.

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