Microsoft: Kinect will detect seated players when “experience is developed with sitting in mind”

Thursday, 8th July 2010 05:49 GMT By Nathan Grayson


You’re in the best shape of your life. For the past few months, you’ve been exercising regularly, replacing the base of your food pyramid – which just said “cake” on it – with actual food, and turning your body into something that’s not basically all the downsides of smoking without any of the fun.

Why? Because a new videogame’s coming out, and with Kinect at the wheel, your marathon gaming session’s more or less become an actual marathon.

Fortunately, according to Microsoft, this harrowing vision of the future won’t come true.

“Kinect can be used while sitting when an experience is developed with sitting in mind,” a Microsoft rep told Joystiq, mirroring E3 comments made by Aaron Greenberg over an IGN report stating the same thing.

Microsoft had earlier said that it’ll be “natural for Kinect games to be designed to get you off the couch: dancing, running, dodging, bending and kicking.”

Shortly after, speculation erupted and rumors spread that if you weren’t standing, Kinect would be as blind as a Jurassic Park T-Rex in a room full of statues.

According to Microsoft, software like the ESPN, Zune, and video apps serve as examples of “experiences where we expect people to be sitting.”

So for those who can’t stand standing, don’t worry too much. No matter what you do with Kinect, you’ll pretty much always look silly. But at least it won’t hurt.



  1. Mattigan

    I can’t believe that people seriously thought that the fact that people play games sitting down would have been overlooked, of course it will detect a seated player, it will probably also ask you to stand up for the running/jumping games too. Although this may not be popular with people used to tricking their console into thinking they are playing by the rules. I’m looking at you mr Wii and your ‘flick of the wrist = good enough 90% of command imputs’

    #1 5 years ago
  2. Patrick Garratt

    *sits on hands*

    #2 5 years ago
  3. Esper

    @1 But none of the software mentioned were games. And for any of those they have yet to demo it sitting down. And if it were true that games can be programmed with sitting in mind, how come Forza Kinect wasn’t given as an example? I mean its a perfect fit since “its an experiences where we expect people to be sitting.” And its a first-party game innit? So, they’ll know more about their tech than third-party devs. There is confusion because they keep insisting that it does but not actually show it.

    #3 5 years ago
  4. Robo_1

    Not exactly versatile though is it? I would have assumed that the base Kinect software would have been able to do full skeletal tracking and automatically detect what position the player is in.

    #4 5 years ago
  5. JPickford

    I think this ‘skeletal tracking’ phrase is misleading. It can’t see your bones or track them. It has a depth buffer and from that some very clever software can make reasonable guess where a person or two is standing within the space. From that it creates a skeleton which is useful for the game developer.

    Clearly this task is much easier if it knows there’s just a person there and not bits of furniture. It must be extremely difficult to separate a sitting person from the chair\sofa. I heard one developer mention that Kintetic keeps recognising their office chairs as people.

    They haven’t so much overlooked sitting, they’ve just not managed to make it work reliably.

    #5 5 years ago
  6. Dannybuoy

    What about handstands?

    #6 5 years ago
  7. NiceFellow

    The fact remains that the technology they’re using will simply be less effective if you’re sitting.

    It is about decoding information from input from IR and a Visual Image and that is simply far harder for a seated, awkwardly positioned body directly against a background vs a body standing and clearly differentiated against the background.

    To put it another way, we’re almost certainly going to see more standing vs seated titles for Kinect, at least early on, simply because they will be easier to develop and get working well.

    #7 5 years ago
  8. DrDamn

    They really need to get some game examples out there. The list they provide … navigating the dash, ESPN, Zune, and video apps … none of those are games. The key difference being that if recognition is a bit iffy with any of those you just do it again and carry on. In a game that could screw you over.

    You also have devs contradicting this too. Why is kinect not being used for RUSE?

    “Unfortunately for Xbox 360 owners, there are no plans to support Kinect. Girard said the stumbling point was having to play standing up while using Microsoft’s rival motion-sensing tech.”

    #8 5 years ago
  9. Roarster

    It’s going to be very hard to accurately detect a sitting player and practicality impossible to detect someone lying down on a big sofa using only a depth map and camera.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if things like long skirts and baggy clothes will confuse it as well seeing as they’ll look different from the standard torso, two arms, two legs body shape it’ll be looking for.

    It all seems like quite clever technology but I don’t think it’s going to match up to Microsoft’s claims once it leaves the controlled environment of a research lab.

    #9 5 years ago
  10. Blerk

    I really don’t understand why this is an issue for them. If you’re playing a game sitting down then surely it’s more likely that you’re only going to be using your upper body, so Kinect would only need to be able to track your upper body. Given that it can easily track your whole body when standing, why would it ever not be able to track half of you while you were sitting?

    Anyway, they’re also dodging an even more important question: will it be able to detect if you’ve got your knob out?

    #10 5 years ago
  11. DrDamn

    It may make it a bit trickier – because there is more stuff around messing with the depth info – but yeah you’d expect the system to be able to just track the upper body or even just an arm or two and head in a reasonable way.

    #11 5 years ago
  12. freedoms_stain

    Doesn’t Kinect have Infra red too?

    That might help with the baggy clothes thing, but I have no idea.

    I think this is a shit idea.

    #12 5 years ago
  13. Progguitarist

    “Experience” seems to be Microsofts keyword where Kinect is concerned. It’s not a game anymore folks, it’s an “experience”.

    #13 5 years ago
  14. Kaufer

    They can always release “Microsoft Propriety Chairs” that is fully Kinect compatible if they are having trouble with RL couch. :)

    #14 5 years ago
  15. NiceFellow

    It does, and that helps, but it doesn’t make resolving a sitting figure directly against a background (the back of your couch, chair, etc) vs a standing figure without anything directly behind it the same.

    The approach Kinect uses will simply always work better if you’re standing and not next to anything. That’s the nature of the beast.

    I’ve no doubt it will be able to support you sitting, but it won’t do it as well as when you’re standing and the chance for movements not being recognised and error will increase, which isn’t so good for games particularly where it could be the difference between victory and defeat.

    Personally I think MS jumped on this as something they felt was more Wii than the Wii – and it is cool – but I think that while the Wii (and Move) use tech that is pretty sure to work well Kinect is more of a risk because it’s early days for that kind of thing, and due to cost MS have already had to reduce specs and if the latest Digital Foundry analysis is anything to go by they’ve also decreased the resolving power of the camera, too.

    I think Kinect will sell well initially but tail off because I just don’t think it will be able to offer a breadth of experiences and, a few exceptions aside like fittness or the dance game, it will technically be inferior to the control fidelity you will get from Wii/Move approach.

    As a result, I don’t expect it to get the word of mouth that propelled the Wii post launch.

    #15 5 years ago
  16. LOLshock94

    i rather go to the gym MS but thnx

    #16 5 years ago
  17. OlderGamer

    What a joke this is looking like.

    Move is going to kill this thing. I already have a PS3 cam, from Eye of Judgement, if I grab a wand will Move work for me? I also have a USB xb360 cam, think that would work as the cam for Move? Just wondering. Maybe I can loan it to the one real life friend that I know that owns a PS3 besides me.

    Neither Move nor Kinects thrill me, but if I can get move for 30-40usd, I’d be interested in some bowling/tennis/golf type stuff.

    #17 5 years ago
  18. Robo_1

    Yup, if you’ve got the PSEye from Eye of Judgement, then all you need is a Move controller to get the Move functionality.

    #18 5 years ago
  19. reask

    Why in the name of jaysus would I want to game standing up?
    The fact I like gaming should tell you I am a lazy sod anyway.
    Epic fail MS.

    #19 5 years ago
  20. Blerk

    I dunno, it seems to work out okay for Nintendo.

    Personally I’m too lazy to even use a Wiimote sitting down. Nothing like a nice pad. :-)

    #20 5 years ago
  21. reask

    2 feet from the telly with the feet firmly on the computer desk and ash tray within flicking distance.
    Now that’s gaming. ;)

    #21 5 years ago
  22. Blerk

    You’ll ruin your eyes, you know! :-D

    #22 5 years ago
  23. reask

    Too late. OO

    #23 5 years ago
  24. Ge0force

    I give it two weeks before people start using a controller again for apps and dashboard control.

    #24 5 years ago
  25. OlderGamer

    @24 Won’t take that long. What a pain in the butt this is going to be.


    Then that does it, if when a good sports type pack is out I’m gonna grab the wand thingie for PS3. I don’t figure it will extend much past that, but ya never know.

    #25 5 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.