Susanna Martini was so excited to get an XBox360 Kinect for Christmas.
“Oh my gosh, oh my gosh it’s so cool…. it’s going to be neato,” she siad.
At last, a controller-free gaming system she can play with her husband and 3 year old daughter. The Microsoft device responds to how you move. You can run a race against a friend, or use your hand as the controller.
But Susanna’s excitement soon turned to disappointment. She has cerebral palsy, and uses a wheelchair to get around. But the Kinect doesn’t recognize her in the seated position.
“Kinect has no clue that I even exist,” she said. “It’s like I’m completely invisible to it.”
According to Microsoft, “the initial wave of Kinect games were designed to be very active to take advantage of the sensor’s ability to track full-body motion, and as a result, may be difficult or simply not possible to play in a seated position.”
Martini says she doesn’t mind that she can’t play soccer.
“That’s not a problem with me; that’s cool. But I want to be able to play one game,” she said.
That may happen in the future. A Microsoft spokesperson said “we’re working to improve Kinect’s skeletal tracking technology in ways that will help developers create games that incorporate seated play.”
Martini says if they can just make it accessible, it would allow her to play with her family and not feel left out.
Microsoft also says seated users can enjoy controller-free entertainment features like ESPN on XBox Live, Zune, and Video Kinect.