Since Microsoft revealed Kinect at E3, it seems the more that we dig the more we discover that the devil is in the details. The latest revelation that just now is coming to light is that technical specifications for Kinect tell the tale that although the device is capable of tracking six people at a time, apparently only two active players are tracked. Recent technical specifications that are making the rounds seem to confirm this as gospel.
The news might come as a bit of a shock to some, but after thinking back about the demos that we saw, there were never more than two players playing together at a time and in fact most of the demos only featured one player.
No one exactly knows how an “Active Player” is defined, but perhaps the wording that Kinect has the ability to map players to live avatars using the device’s twenty-point skeleton tracking system might offer a clue. One other interesting note in the technical specifications for Kinect says that the device only support two resolutions (which are 320x240 at 16-bit color and 640x480 at 32-bit color) and surprisingly, both seem to only be supported at 30 frames per second. A 30fps frame rate would seem to support the possibility of lag, as obviously a high frame rate could yield better performance.
While the news might not come as a shock to some, as we can’t really yet think of an application for Kinect that would need more than two players, it still is a restriction nonetheless. Maybe it is not a jaw dropping as the fact that the $149 price for Kinect is still the standard line from retailers. Still, a two-player limitation might be something that could end up being a major limitation for Kinect; but right now we just don’t know.