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RIP Ralph Baer (1922-2014) I really, really hate writing obits. I really do. But I take it as a personal honor to be able to say good things about the men and women I respect, whether in this industry or just in my life, and Ralph Baer is the reason all of this exists in the first...

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Are You Ready to Be the Controller?

Posted on Thursday, October 28 @ 10:54:03 Eastern by
The era of controller-less gaming is about to begin, that is if Microsoft's Kinect "sensor" for the Xbox 360 takes off as planned. And it will.

Microsoft is pulling out all the stops on this one folks. On top of a 500-million dollar marketing campaign and a promo spot during Justin Bieber's tour, Kinect is also privy to what some call the "Oprah effect".

Since we're pretty sure that the Game Revolution audience aren't regular viewers of Oprah, you might have missed a recent episode where Oprah gave everyone in the audience a Kinect to take home. This sent sales for Kinect through-the-roof. Oprah has had similar "effect" in the past, sending the careers of Rachel Ray and Dr. Phil into the spotlight, even boosting President Obama's chances at the White House.

There is no doubt that the "Oprah effect" is powerful, but is it enough to help Microsoft get the upper hand in the console wars? With Nintendo Wii sales diminishing steadily, the casual audience is looking for the "next big thing". Couple that with the holiday rush, and Kinect instantly becomes a shoe-in for that must-have item this year.

Being what I'd like to consider a "hardcore" gamer, I have to wonder how this is going to affect the industry. The Kinect design is eye-catching. The interface is unique. It certainly opens the doors for new experiences in the future, but nothing I've seen at this point appeals to the hardcore gamer. The gamer in me wonders if I will ever feel comfortable without buttons or something tangible in my hands. The lazy in me definitely isn't interested in actually running and jumping just to play a videogame. But the casual crowd that welcomed the Wii's motion control with open arms (and wallets) will eat it up. With casual interest comes the inevitable shovelware. I'm not at all trying to discredit Kinect, it just isn't appealing to me... yet.

Will Kinect bring even more shovelware to the industry or offer a new way to play our favorite games? Only time will tell. There is one thing that we believe to be true: Kinect will own this holiday season.

Kinect releases November 4 in the US. You can view the full launch line-up by clicking here.

So... Are you ready to be the controller?
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