Waving your arms, hoping for pizza: Microsoft’s Kinect strategy gets worse and worse
Sometimes when playing a video game you get hungry. This is natural. But what do you do? Do you take out your phone and spend a minute calling a pizza place and telling them what you want, like a stupid idiot? Why go through the hassle of using a process that's quick and easy when you could, instead, leave your game, navigate around the Xbox 360's dashboard, open the Pizza Hut app, wave your hands at your Kinect to create a pizza, order that pizza, and then go back to your game?
“The Pizza Hut for Xbox app makes the chain's entire menu accessible to users, who can then build their own customized pizzas and place orders via Kinect motion controls, voice commands or the controller,” Polygon wrote. “Users can link their Xbox and PizzaHut.com accounts and save their order settings to streamline future purchases, as well as view and take advantage of deals at local stores.”
I think the best part of the story is when Microsoft's Larry Hyrb pointed out that using voice and hand movements to create and order pizza was faster than using a controller. Of course it is, but do you know what's much faster than using a controller? Using your phone. Or computer. Using a game console's controller or motion controls to order a pizza is the most complicated way of doing a very simple task. It's throwing technology at a problem that doesn't exist.
Pizza, one would argue, has long been a solved problem in the entertainment space.
“That Pizza Hut news represents everything wrong with MSFT's X360 'app' strategy. Limited, ad-like experiences. My phone is better at this,” Polygon's Chris Grant said on Twitter. “Why would I leave my game or movie or HBO to order a BAD pizza when I can use my phone to order ANYTHING I WANT?”
Social media has been full of jokes at Microsoft's expense, including people wondering if this is the first time they've tried to figure out if a subscription service is required to order a pizza. No one wants Xbox Silver members to be left out of struggling to order food.
Microsoft may be ready to change the world with its upcoming system - we won't know until they announce something - but this is the sort of thing that makes one wonder about their overall strategy. What, exactly, does Microsoft want to be? An ad platform? A middle man between you and your cable provider? A voice-activated productivity platform that makes simple actions more time-consuming? Where will games fit into this strategy?
While Microsoft may still push the Kinect's ability to control certain games with your voice, I think everyone is aware of how painfully limited the technology is for playing actual games. The Kinect has been one long disappointment when it comes to actual interaction that improves games, and now it's been relegated to a fast food delivery system.
Sony hit the ground running with the PlayStation 4 by focusing on games and making their platform more attractive for smaller developers and those with a background in PC development, while Microsoft is talking to the press about a new, less effective way to order crappy chain pizza through their current console.