Microsoft-owned RARE Studios (Previously responsible for awesome things like Goldeneye 64, Killer instinct, Donkey Kong Country & Banjo-Kazooie and now largely responsible for Avatar costumes) recently said that with Kinect being so inherently upgradeable through software, that essentially, Kinect 2 is already here. In the near future, they say, Kinect will allow you to have real, natural conversations with video game AI.
Rare’s Scott Henson explained how a future golf game for Kinect might work.
"You’ll literally say something like, ‘you know caddie, I think I need something that helps me with the wind conditions,’" he said to Eurogamer. "Then the caddie will respond with, ‘well, it could be either a six iron or a seven iron.’ And you say, ‘oh, I’d like the seven iron.’ It’ll be that natural of a conversation."
Yeah…I’m not so sure. current voice recognition in games requires a set of rather concise, exact phrases to trigger action. Those of us with Kinect units know it’s difficult enough just to get the device to play the disc in your drive without shouting or repeating yourself. Upcoming Bioware epic Mass Effect 3 will support using Kinect to deliver pre-scripted lines to AI, as well as using voice to command party members. Kinect Sports : Season 2 from Rare also uses voice commands, but it too uses specific phrases.
"In our game it will be, ‘change club seven iron,’" Henson admitted, "but absolutely, without question, the journey we’re on is what I just described. That is where we will go. And guess what will be there? Software. Software will be the key that unlocks why that’s possible. We already have the microphone there. Now we just need to continue to adapt and grow and build our software to make that better."
It’s a fascinating and intriguing vision of the future of Kinect – but it’s one I just don’t buy. Artificial Intelligence just isn’t advanced enough yet, and the cost of adding it to things like video games will be an immense barrier, even beyond the time and cost it’ll take for localisation. Kinect will allow you to have AI conversations? The HAL it will.