Rare: Kinect isn't "the devil's device", but it can tell when you're bluffing at poker

"I think it's the biggest differentiator we've got," says Kinect Sports Rivals developer

Xbox One's overhauled, souped-up Kinect sensor is actually sensitive enough to work out when you're bluffing at poker, Rare's Simon Woodroffe has told OXM - the studio has knocked together a demo in which the device monitors player expressions for telltale signs of unease.

Speaking to us as part of a Kinect Sports Rivals hands-on (insert obligatory "or should that be 'hands-off'?" gag), Woodroffe also discussed how Microsoft's approach to Kinect support has shifted since the first generation Kinect launched in 2010.


"So when we first worked with Kinect, obviously there was a focus on using everything with Kinect," he said. "Now that it's in every box, [it's more like] 'use it where it makes sense, don't use it where it doesn't'.

"It would be nice if some people would see some of the things we're doing with it, and think: 'how can we augment our core titles with this?'" Because I think it's the biggest differentiator we've got from [Sony]. It's something we have that they don't have, and it can be used in ways that actually enhance the game you're making. So why not use it? It's going to be there, it's not the devil's device."

Woodroffe went onto illustrate the new sensor's accuracy - it uses a combination of new "time-of-light" tech, infra-red and superior recognition algorithms to pick up on details like wrinkles in clothing, or the pulsing of blood in your face. "We've been mucking around with a poker game where it's sensitive enough to see that you're trying to bluff. It can pick up little glints in people's eyes and things like that." (NB. I suspect this last example isn't supposed to be taken literally.)

"That'll be the best online poker game ever, because now you've got the fun back of looking into people's eyes - especially when using an anonymous face," Woodroffe added. "Because of course you can play poker online with a video camera right now, but who wants to go on video with a bunch of strangers and play poker? Now I can play poker in my pants, and it'll represent my expressions."

Sounds intriguingly... terrifying. For more on Kinect Sports Rivals, which hits Xbox One in early 2014, check out Aoife's first impressions from Gamescom. The article includes a shot of what Aoife might look like, were she made entirely of plastic and happiness.