The Future Of 123KINECT
First of all I just want to assure everyone that 123KINECT is still dedicated to Kinect 1 & 2, although obviously there are unlikely to be any new Kinect 1 games beyond the yearly Just Dance games and even they won’t go on forever, at least not for Xbox 360. Plus, like many of you, we’ve got our fingers crossed that Microsoft will eventually release a Kinect 3 and support it lot a lot better than the previous Kinects, especially Kinect 2 which unfortunately hasn’t been used to a fraction of its potential. And there are still Kinect 2 games in the works, although not as many as we would all like, which we will cover the same as always. So don’t worry if you’re not planning on buying any new hardware anytime soon as you will still be able to read about all the latest Kinect 2 games here.
Some of the upcoming Kinect games. We can’t wait to see what Virtual Air Guitar Company’s next game is!
Having said all that, we don’t currently know for sure whether Microsoft is working on Kinect 3, but what we do know is that they are taking Kinect technology in a slightly different direction by embedding it in Windows Mixed Reality (A.K.A Windows MR) devices. The first device was the Microsoft HoloLens, back when Windows MR was known as Windows Holographic, which you have probably noticed we haven’t covered much. I have made that decision as Microsoft still haven’t given any indication when it will be released for the general public. Well, technically you can now buy one even if you’re not a business or developer, but only from Microsoft’s website and it still costs $3,000! I’m guessing that not many of our readers own a HoloLens and most are interested in games rather than business, educational and development apps, which are most of the software available for it at the moment. So until Microsoft at least announces their plans for a proper public release there won’t be much coverage of HoloLens here, but feel free to talk about it in our forums and post any news about it there.
Microsoft HoloLens incorporates next-generation Kinect technology.
Devices that have been announced for proper public release however are Windows Mixed Reality branded VR HMDs (including bundles with motion controllers) from various companies, which incorporate some of the Kinect technology from the HoloLens to enable inside-out tracking without requiring external sensors placed around the room. These will be start to become available very soon as the first few are due out on October 17th. Unfortunately for those who only have Xbox One and/or are getting Xbox One X and/or have an old PC these will only support fairly new PCs and it’s best to have quite a powerful one if you want to play the best games with the best performance. Hopefully Microsoft will announce VR support for at least Xbox One X soon via either these or their own Xbox specific device as they’d be insane not to use Xbox One X’s power for high-end VR and also offer VR support to the 30+ million current Xbox One owners if possible. I’d advise readers to use email Facebook, Twitter etc to demand VR for Xbox as Microsoft owes us Kinect fans big time!
The Lenovo Explorer, Dell Visor, Acer, HP and ASUS Windows Mixed Reality VR HMDs and motion controllers.
While these VR devices are PC only we will cover (some) PC VR games that they support. But if and when Microsoft do announce Xbox support for these or an Xbox specific version we will shift our focus to Xbox VR games as our readers are more likely to have Xbox consoles. If you you don’t have a compatible PC, can’t afford one or want to wait for Xbox VR then the good news is that VR arcades are starting to open around the world using various VR devices and some of the VR games coming to Windows MR will be available to play in at least some of the places. I don’t know if any of the arcades will actually be using Windows Mixed Reality VR HMDs though, the current arcades seem to be using either HTC Vives, modified Oculus Rifts, Starbreeze’s StarVR HMDs or other custom VR solutions.
One thing you won’t have to worry about with these VR devices is software support. In fact VR has the opposite problem to Kinect since with Kinect we’ve been pretty desperate for games these last few years and sometimes having to wait months for a new one, whereas with VR there are already hundreds of games and apps released already! Albeit many still in Early Access, so not actually released as finished games even though you can still buy and play them. This makes it hard to find good older VR games, other than the most popular, and also hard to decide which new games to buy since currently many big websites seem more interested in SJW nonsense and playing good games badly, like the Cuphead debacle, than actually reporting properly on the future of videogames such as VR games, just like their lack of Kinect coverage and general attitude towards the devices. Plus I’ve found the coverage of games even on dedicated VR websites a bit spotty and have had to hunt around websites and YouTube trying to figure out the best VR games to buy for myself based on various articles and YouTubers playing the games.
Videogame “journalist” trying to play a VR game compared to a VR gamer.
(Please note: this particular game hasn’t been confirmed for Windows VR.)
This is where 123KINECT comes in as far as Windows MR supported VR games go as not only will we cover big companies’ VR games, which there aren’t very many of at the moment, but I’ll try to save you all the hassle I go through finding the good indie games among the hundreds of those available now and in the future by highlighting the best games I’ve played and ones that aren’t out yet but look very promising. Although currently there are actually only 29 games confirmed for Windows Mixed Reality VR since it has recently been revealed that Steam support won’t be ready for launch, so those HMDs will only support the VR games that will be available in the Windows Store until Steam is supported. I will be posting articles on all those 29 games over the next few weeks, with the possible exceptions of Halo as Microsoft haven’t announced any information about it yet, Defend The Bits as I haven’t been able to find any information on the VR version yet and what appears to be a snowboarding game but the name is in Japanese or Chinese and I haven’t found out what it is yet. Also, I don’t actually currently have a Windows MR headset but I do have an HTC Vive so it will be those versions of the games I will be playing at the moment, so bear in mind that the gameplay experience may differ using a Windows MR device, but it should be generally the same.
Currently confirmed apps for Windows Mixed Reality, including 29 games.
(Click on pic for larger & less compressed image.)
So join us on our journey into the future of videogames, whether it be new Kinect 2 games, Windows Mixed Reality or possibly even Kinect 3 someday! Are you excited about the future of 123KINECT and Kinect technology? Let us know in the comments below or create a discussion in one of our forums about the device you want to discuss.