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CNN Speculates on Kinect's TV Future

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CNN's Dan Frommer, a “business insider” writing for their Tech section, thinks a ubiquitous relationship could exist between the Kinect and the television if Microsoft is willing to make some big choices going forward. The idea is to use the Kinect as a TV remote, an innovation that's already being done in a limited capacity on the 360 itself. Players can navigate Netflix, ESPN, and Zune, but what if they could control their entire home entertainment system with the Kinect?

Obstacles come with the various directions Microsoft can take the tech. At the moment, the Kinect is attached at the hip to the 360, a gaming device that Frommer says doesn't have the power to reach mass audiences. Whether Microsoft will unhinge the device from the 360 and risk losing the connection they've developed with consumers is questionable. If Kinect tech were suddenly enabled for new TVs, it could kill the notion of the 360 as a multimedia device.

But Frommer suggests Microsoft needs to make a decision about the tech before a company like Apple steps in and beats them to it. Rumors indicate that Apple has been working on their own line of TVs, and if they were suddenly packaged with a motion-controlled navigation interface, the Kinect could become obsolete.

If Frommer is right, and there is a race starting to bring gesture-based controls to the TV-watching experience, then Microsoft could be in a bit of a pickle. They certainly seem ahead of the game at the moment, but they've also been very slow to integrate Kinect tech into the 360 interface. Netflix support was only just recently added, and it was a disappointment to say the least.

Motion controls might not be ready for the mass market, but it's only a matter of time before someone else thinks otherwise. Microsoft may need to step up.

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Joe Donato Video games became an amazing, artful, interactive story-driven medium for me right around when I played Panzer Dragoon Saga on Sega Saturn. Ever since then, I've wanted to be a part of this industry. Somewhere along the line I, possibly foolishly, decided I'd rather write about them than actually make them. So here I am.
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