Burton on Kinect: “You don’t need buttons”

The biggest criticism Microsoft’s Kinect has received has been regarding the lack of a controller of any sort, and therefore no buttons. This is obviously something that has always been an integral aspect in gaming. Interestingly, Rare’s Nick Burton revealed in an interview that he finds it a little frustrating when people say you need buttons – he says ‘no, you don’t’.

Burton explained that in the Kinect design process, the buttons worked “okay” but there were “two many prototypes, and we were doing tonnes of prototypes – insane things.” Rare came up with a “little goal kick game that was to test accuracy of avatars” which Burton says worked well because they could place a virtual ball in front of the player, and that’s when the team realised they “had something there.”

What they realised was that kicking doesn’t involve a button, and therefore there doesn’t have to be a button press. Rare took that idea and went for a table tennis prototype which was “wireframe people, table tennis table and a ball, but you could walk back from it and side to side, but it also proved the hand-eye co-ordination worked,” said Burton. He continued to say it “almost felt like you could feel the ping pong ball hitting the paddle.”

Burton says that was the shared moment “where we realised we don’t need buttons,” and at that point it really evolved for them because they discovered “there are lot of ways to interact, it’s just a case of finding the right way to do it for your product. I like the hover select we’ve got in Kinect Sports.”

I don’t know Mr.Burton, I do like my buttons, and yes I have tried Kinect.

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