Microsoft’s upcoming motion controller, Kinect, will not be shipping with sign-language support as previously expected. A representative confirmed this and stated that, “Microsoft files lots of patent applications to protect our intellectual property, not all of which are brought to market right away.” This could be disappointing news to those who saw potential in Kinect as a tool for individuals with special needs.Sign-language support could have been a great selling point for the holiday. Just imagine: gamers who cannot communicate effectively with a microphone could instead use sign language during gameplay, potentially creating another niche market of gamers. The inclusion of sign language could also have been a great tool for teaching it to kids and adults alike. Not to mention, kids could have convinced their parents to splurge on this new expensive videogame controller, I mean “learning tool,” for their Xbox 360.
Microsoft still appears to be ironing out the bugs for its new motion controller, leaving little time to focus on a complementary feature such as sign-language support. As recently as last month, Game Rant confirmed that the Kinect sensors still cannot accurately detect the movements of an individual standing sideways. Additionally, loose clothing, such as a woman’s skirt, and men’s facial hair have also caused some hiccups. Therefore, it’s not terribly surprising that sign language has not made the feature list just yet.
Of course, sign-language recognition could always be added later in a future update, so, um, keep your fingers crossed.
Were any of you excited by the prospect that the Kinect included sign-language recognition? Would this have been a selling point for you or someone you know?
Microsoft’s Kinect ships on November 4, 2010.