Kinectimals and the Sign In Process

I love the idea and technology of the Kinect .. it sounds like the perfect toy for playing some more physical types of games with my son.  Kinectimals is cute and he likes to play it.

But what spoils the whole thing is the awkward sign-in process in a lot of games.

Microsoft apparently has some policies that Xbox game developers have to follow, like asking users which device they want to store data on whenever they go to save something, even if there’s only one storage device in the system.  It’s normally just a bit annoying, but when you’re trying to direct a 4-year-old through just getting to where he can play with the cats, it’s enough of a speed bump that he usually gets bored and goes off to do something else before getting to where the fun is.

And if there’s someone else (like, say, me) already signed in, the process is even worse.  You have to sign that person out, which involves a bunch of awkward steps, before the new person can sign in.

With a normal Xbox game, I could just sign him in and then hand him the controller.  But Kinect recognizes you.  He has to do the signing in himself.  The recognition process involves standing still and looking at the camera for a few seconds, and that’s just not going to happen.

I’m going to go try it now.  The Xbox is off and Kinectimals is on my desk.  Let’s see how many interactions it takes to get to play with my cat. 

<Turn on XBox by pressing button> <About 2 minutes worth of logos, messages, loading> <Hover hand over Start icon><Kinectimals tries to identify me and fails, asks me if I want to sign in – I choose Yes> <Sign in window pops up, I choose myself> <Select a Device window pops up with one device I can choose>  <Prompted if I want to log in as me, or change identity.  Choose me>  <Start new game or continue saved game?  Continue> Game starts.

When you start a game, it’s reasonable to expect that you’re going to want to continue where the last player playing left off.  That’s not always true, but it’s close enough.  Here’s how I’d like to see this game start.

<Turn on XBox by pressing button> <About 2 minutes worth of logos, messages, loading> Game starts.

And if I wanted to log in as someone else?  Then I could do the gesture that brings up the menu and pick that.

Unfortunately, the end result of the current design is there’s this game that he likes to play but never gets to.