Microsoft appears to be taking the step some of its rivals – the likes of Sony and Nintendo – failed to do, and that’s to acknowledge that something it made has been re-imagined beyond its original purpose. The above video pretty much says it all.
Remember, it might not have been this way. Aside from direct control of the Kinect hardware, the shield of aggressive intellectual property laws in countries like the United States covering reverse engineering, to say nothing of a bucket of patents, Microsoft could easily go after hackers, open source libraries, and creative misuse of their designs. Or, they could simply ignore it.
Instead, Microsoft reps showed up at the Art && Code 3D event held recently at Carnegie Mellon. I understand they want to see more creative use in game titles, too – which could in turn lead to DIYers publishing on the Xbox 360. And then, they release a video that demonstrates that they see value in applications from which they may not directly benefit. (Indeed, while the cameras in the picture are all Microsoft hardware, the not-for-profit OpenNI initiative has already led to non-Xbox hardware used for similar applications.)
I’m still trying to unravel exactly where Microsoft is in all of this, but the video seems, at least, the right message. And the kind of amazing thing here is that the scenarios presented – the same ones that look fairly silly when they’re limited only to R&D – are real. This isn’t marketing’s idea of what people might do, conceived in some imaginary science fiction world. This is what we’re seeing every day on YouTube. And that alone is worth mention.
If you do want to find deeper meaning, though, I suggest you turn to the lyrics of The Pixies’ “Where is My Mind.” You don’t hear those words in the more chillaxed-out a cappella version playing in the background, so here you go — it’s very “gestural” and “naturally interactive”: