While skeptical of how well Microsoft’s Xbox 360 controller-free technology will work with disabled gamers, a leading advocacy group still sees it as a step in the right direction.
After witnessing the unveiling of Kinect at E3, AbleGamer’s Steve Spohn initially said that the technology would be “largely useless” to the disabled gamers reading his website, as the “entire point of Kinect is to get you and your friends off of the couch and more active while playing video games.”
After some reflection however, Spohn labeled Kinect’s voice command ability “more mentionable than the motion detection itself,” adding, “voice commands are a form of accessible technology enabling me to play more complex games and to use remote controls.”
A Microsoft spokesperson told AbleGamers that new technology, such as Kinect, would not “always immediately work for some people because of the inherent physical nature of the gameplay.” The company pledged to keep working on the technology however, stating that it hoped to “learn from the Accessibility community about the scenarios and features that will allow Kinect to appeal to more users.”
Spohn was happy with this response, as formulaic as it might have been, because “for the very first time we have tangible evidence that a company as large as Microsoft is taking notice of what we have all been doing in the game accessibility movement.”
The author on Kinect’s current limitations for certain disabled people:
We already know that Kinect does not work in most situations from a seated position, which is bad for those in wheelchairs or who can't stand for any length of time. The system also requires precise and smooth movements to control the controller-less hand, which is incredibly bad for those with Cerebral Palsy or Multiple Sclerosis.
Spohn advised disabled gamers to “Take an inventory on your own abilities and figure out if the Kinect can add anything to your quality of life. If it can, don't be afraid to try it out in November, but it doesn't look like it is right for you, don't be upset.”