With new consoles right around the corner, gamers are going to be treated to a lot of firsts in the coming weeks and months. No, these will not be the type of high-profile announcements like a release date, a price, or even something as crazy as a complete DRM policy reversal, but they will still ultimately inform the at-home experience gamers will have with the console.
Case in point: a recent picture that has been circulating the Net that shows off the Xbox One‘s new virtual keyboard. It was only briefly seen during a demo for Project Spark, Microsoft’s new game-creation tool, but it’s well worth analyzing.
The keyboard itself bares a strong resemblance to the current Xbox 360 virtual keyboard, albeit with a blue-gray color scheme. There are the standard “Caps” and navigation options as well, so gamers should have no trouble typing away on this new keyboard.
Also of note is the new “Done” option on the keyboard, which coincides with the Xbox One controller‘s new Menu button. Rather than the traditional start button, this menu button will bring up context-specific menus, like a virtual keyboard, depending on the app or game.
While the keyboard looks functional, our only question is whether or not this new virtual keyboard will have any Kinect integration, either through voice or motion control. We’d suspect that since Microsoft is including Kinect in every Xbox One bundle, and they have no plans to sell the Xbox One separately from Kinect, that the virtual keyboard would have some type of Kinect-specific features.
But as it stands now all we have is a picture of a fairly standard virtual keyboard — no new features or improvements. Personally, I think the virtual keyboard on both Sony and Microsoft’s platforms are in need of reinvention, something that’s more intuitive than predictive text.
If Kinect can transform speech to text in a similar (hopefully better) fashion to Siri on the iPhone, then that might make sending longer messages much easier. We’ll have to wait and see when the Xbox One hits stores in North America in November of this year.
What do you think of the virtual keyboard for Xbox One? How you like to see Kinect improve text input?
The Xbox One is slated for a November 2013 release for $499.