Sony: Kinect-style control is "cumbersome"

EyeToy's dad critical of Move competitor.

Sony's Dr Richard Marks has reiterated his belief that using controller-free input to manipulate complex interfaces is a novelty that doesn't last.

"I totally agree that there is this magical feeling with using your hands to select something," Marks, who was one of the senior architects on PlayStation Move, told the New York Times in a feature about Microsoft's Kinect.

"But that feeling wears off pretty quickly, and it becomes a pretty cumbersome way to do things."

Marks was part of a team that looked at Kinect-style 3D camera technology in the PlayStation 2 era, dismissing it in favour of EyeToy and eventually Move.

"There are some experiences that it can do that are really neat but there just weren't enough experiences that made it make enough sense as a platform-level controller," he told Digital Foundry back in June.

"Coming back is that sometimes we need buttons to have certain kinds of experiences. Other times we need more precision than we can get out of those cameras. We need to know exactly what you're doing with your hands, especially in the more hardcore experiences."

Asked whether he meant that the technology actually limited the kind of games that could be created with it, Marks said that if it was "just the 3D camera", then "yeah I guess".

"That's what we ran into with EyeToy. When you have only the camera, it's a magical feeling but sometimes you just wish you could select something. I don't want to wave to click a button."

Microsoft's Kinect technology for Xbox 360 launches in Europe on 10th November, and Marks isn't the only person who feels that it has a lot to prove. Alex Kipman, Kinect's incubation director, told the New York Times, "If we are serious about shifting the entire computing industry to this world where the devices understand you, then the technology needs to be robust.

"Otherwise, it's just a gimmick."

We'll find out next week when the reviews start rolling out.

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