Multiplayer has changed a lot in the last few years. Back when the N64 was king, four-player splitscreen was the best. When next generation consoles crept onto the scene, split-screen almost faded away in the shadow of online multiplayer.
Now, with movement as the main source of entertainment, people want to play with friends next to them – and today we learned that Microsoft’s Kinect may have difficulty supporting more than two people at once. An unfortunate development, especially considering the price tag of the device.
Back at E3, PrimeSense (the company who built Kinect) told the press that Kinect could only handle two players at once. When Microsoft was asked to confirm, we got the solid “No Comment” wall as a response. However, a recent leak by several UK retail stores has shed some light on current Kinect specifics, and it appears that the two active player limit may be true: apparentally the system can detect a fair share of people, but can only actively track the movements of a select two at a time.
Actually, in this commercial only 2 people got to play. False advertising?
This gives me an opportunity to point out something I thought was probably just a glitch at E3: standing next to Dance Central, I took a moment to watch three dancers bust a move to a Lady Gaga song. I noticed in a window on the screen that only two dancers were being tracked – the poor girl on the back left wasn’t actually playing! I figured it was a glitch in the game, and that at some point it would realize there was a third player.
However, it now seems like Kinect was simply already pushing out its best.
Aside from the unconfirmed two player limit (as good as the camera may be, I don’t want to have friends wait turns to play), other specifications reveal that you will need to have 175 MB of free space on your Xbox hard drive in order to install Kinect. In addition, an echo cancellation feature in Kinect is supposed to allow for easy voice chat, and the camera itself can push a 640×480 video resolution at 30 frames per second. Lastly, for those of us with the “Fat Xbox”, we have now know for certain, that yes, one of our precious USB ports will be taken-up for use with Kinect.
What do you think? Will be you disappointed if only two friends can use Kinect at once?