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Microsoft drives next generation Kinect
Thu, 26th Jul 2012
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Motion sensors might not be the most original idea in the gaming market, but job postings for various Microsoft-related positions insist the best is yet to come.

Dozens of Xbox platform development roles have been advertised online in the past month, including the vaguely-labelled field of Natural User Interface technology.

NUI is the term used for motion-sensing devices like the Xbox Kinect and Playstation Move, but it is the Xbox brand that is being pushed the hardest on the Microsoft careers website.

"The Xbox Platform Team is gearing up towards the next generation of Natural User Interface technologies. We are the convergence zone of MSR, Incubation, Game Developers and the Xbox Platform, providing the building blocks for exciting new NUI experiences,” according to a post from Interactive Entertainment Business.

In other words, acronym, jargon, technical term, acronym, we are working on super advanced motion-sensor technology. At least that’s what I got out of it.

The same company also advertised for a software development engineer to work on new technology.

"If you enjoy being close to the metal, working on cutting edge hardware, being involved with the incredible innovation of Kinect, and being part of a team of highly efficient engineers then this role is for you. The world has watching us ship some incredible products…the best is yet to come!”

Another job advertisement from Microsoft’s research labs in Haifa, Israel seeks a senior electronic engineer."If you are passionate for electronic design of 3D imaging cameras which will serve millions throughout the world, we are offering a unique and great opportunity for talented people, to help us build and ensure our products meet the highest standards.”

Calls for new people in the motion-sensor field come after a strong Kinect push from Microsoft at E3, and new Kinect games are being released with increased regularity.

These latest developments seem to line up with the rumoured additions to the next-generation Xbox, which include augmented reality glasses and an expanded and re-imagined Kinect.

Today three new titles were announced for the Kinect – Sesame Street TV, obviously aimed at children; Nat Geo TV, obviously aimed at slightly older children; and Nike+ Kinect Training, a sort of Wii-Fit for the Xbox. Although these titles are no doubt innovative and enjoyable, one can’t help but feel that Microsoft is skewing them just a little bit at the youngest demographic available, and I’m not sure that move will pay off for them.

What do you think – can technology like Kinect be a big part of Microsoft’s finances, or is it still just a gimmick? Let us know below.