It’s an unexpected moment for Microsoft. What was formerly called Project Natal, and is now called Kinect, has opened a new interaction surface to the Network. I’m trying to think of another example of Microsoft introducing and providing stewardship for an interaction model with this kind of uptake. Generally Mr. Softy has been a follower, an embracer and extender of pre-established modes.
You can tell that Kinect has connected because it’s immediately overflowed its use cases and taken up residence in a whole series of unanticipated projects. It’s an interaction surface that has corporate competitors starting up their copy machines and trying to find the best position as a fast follower. Somehow it’s hard to imagine Microsoft actually getting something out of their labs and on to the street for around $200.00. I suppose it could be the harbinger of a pipeline finally unclogged. At least that’s the marketing spin I’d put on it.
After an initial misstep, Microsoft seems to have embraced the so-called “hacking kinect” movement. What they seemed to think was new kind of game controller turns out to be a general purpose interaction modality with use cases all up and down the Network. It’ll be interesting to see how Microsoft handles the stewardship of this new device. Running a race from the lead position is an entirely different kind of game.