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Indies not sold on Kinect

Trials HD, Darwinia+ crews speak out.

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

Following news that Microsoft will soon be releasing Kinect development tools to independent studios, Eurogamer has asked a number of indies whether they are interested in developing for Kinect.

Earlier this week, Microsoft Game Studios' corporate vice president, Phil Spencer, told IGN that it was "close" to being able to offer smaller studios access to Kinect tools.

Feedback was mixed when Eurogamer asked a number of independent developers whether they had plans to develop titles for the system.

First up, Ronimo Games, the Dutch team responsible for 2009's excellent WiiWare RTS, Swords & Soldiers, which it's bringing to PlayStation Network later this year.

"Kinect is extremely cool technology, with lots of potential to bring about new game experiences and get new audiences to start gaming," co-founder Fabian Akker told Eurogamer. "But at Ronimo we're about halfway into developing a new and really cool button-based game. So we won't be doing anything with Kinect in the short term.

"For the long term, I'm not sure. I think it requires a lot of work for a small studio like us to make motion games feel really solid and responsive. But if we think of something awesome, I'm sure we'll build it."

Mark Morris, CEO of Darwinia+ studio Introversion was similarly hesitant. "Kinect does look interesting. However, given Darwinia+'s poor performance I don't think we'll be working with Microsoft for a while. The bar is too high when you look at the risk of not selling well. On the PC, the dev costs are much lower and there are lots of levers that can be pulled to help boost sales - price promotions,web traffic drives etc."

RedLynx, of Trials HD fame, was only slightly more enthusiastic. "We're always looking at new platforms and new technology, so as a starting point, we are also interested in Kinect," CEO Tero Virtala told us.

"However, as with every platform and technology, they all have their strengths and limitations and their own target audience. The right game has to be a perfect fit for all that. So probably, as an example, a game like Trials HD, with very precise controls and timing, with related gradual player skill development, might not be the best fit.

"But coming up with something new and creative in the RedLynx way?" he continued. "Something that fits the Kinect platform and is really fun? Yes, we could definitely consider doing something like that."

There has been much debate over what sort of games best suit Kinect. THQ yesterday insisted quick, cheap mass-market titles were the way forward, whereas Microsoft announced a slew of core-orientated games at last week's Tokyo Games Show.

Kinect launches on Xbox 360 on 10th November for around £129.99.

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