E3 is well underway in Los Angeles, and Microsoft has already made a major splash with its 'SmartGlass' technology, game demos, and its announcement that a Kinect-powered version of Internet Explorer will debut on the Xbox 360. This is a marked change from last year, when Kinect was the unquestioned centerpiece of Microsoft's display and the company's demos focused on how Kinect-powered games used your full body as a controller. Kinect is in the interesting position of having sold extremely well while failing to move the bar forward in any of the ways Microsoft projected in the run up to its launch. Scroll through the ratings on Kinect-required titles, and the percentages are abysmal. Kinect's biggest problem is rooted in ergonomics. Gamepads with buttons may be crude approximations of real life, but they're simple and intuitive. They're also flexible — a great many games have conditional scenarios that allow the same button to perform different functions depending on what's going on within the game. Pure Kinect games don't have a simple mechanism to incorporate these features, and there's no easy way around them. The motion-controller's most enduring features may ultimately be its capabilities outside the gaming sphere.
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