Monday, October 25, 2010

With Kinect, Microsoft Aims for a Game Changer
NTY, 10/24/2010

Sorry for the lapse in postings—things have been a b it hectic but all good stuff!

This is a fascinating story on many fronts:
• How to try to catch up to competition and then leverage the innovation beyond the current addressable marketspace
• The beaucracy and battles between large established business and new innovations
• How to expansively define a Business design and addressable marketspace to drive growth

"....The company’s blend of game developers, interface whizzes and artificial-intelligence experts has built Kinect, a $150 add-on for the popular Xbox 360 console that hits stores next month.

In fact, Kinect arrives with a healthy dose of sci-fi trappings. Microsoft has one-upped Sony and Nintendo by eliminating game controllers and their often nightmarish bounty of buttons. Kinect peers out into a room, locks onto people and follows their motions. Players activate it with a wave of a hand, navigate menus with an arm swoosh and then run, jump, swing, duck, lunge, lean and dance to direct their on-screen avatars in each game....
....The mass-market introduction of Kinect — with its almost magical gesture and voice-recognition technology — stands as Microsoft’s most ambitious, risky and innovative move in years. Company executives hope that Kinect will carry the Xbox beyond gamers to entire families....
...Where Apple popularized touch-screen technology, Microsoft intends to bombard the consumer market with its gesture and voice offerings. Kinect technology is intended to start in the living room, then creep over time throughout the home, office and garage into devices made by Microsoft and others. People will be able to wave at their computer and tell it to start a videoconference with Grandma or ask for a specific song on the home stereo....
....Critics knock Kinect games as too easy and say the gesture technology still has annoying kinks. They also say Microsoft has had a nasty habit of gumming up its creative engines with bureaucracy.

“They often got lost in fights between all their divisions,” Mr. Johnson says. “Anytime something becomes high-profile, middle management slows it down.”

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