So, the future of the Xbox 360 is upon us. It'll have lots of TV and video content. It'll have UFC on-demand and FiOS set-top box functionality. (It won't have Party Mode for video viewing, though.) In short, Microsoft's looking to turn their dedicated game machine into yet another app repository. With a worldwide install base of 57 million consoles, lots of partners want their stuff on the 360. And, as would follow, Microsoft's setting up some requirements as to what needs to be built into software hoping to show up in the second Xbox.
The Kinect motion sensor stands at the center of one those requirements. (The other one is parental controls, which makes sense.) Other features app developers can implement like avatar or Facebook integration are optional but, when I saw a preview of the new dash update last week, Microsoft told me that anyone looking to have their content or experiences on the Xbox will need to make sure that users will be able to navigate with gestures or voice. A year ago, this wasn't a requirement, just a cool added feature. But, with the success of Kinect, Microsoft's trying to make ensure that its usage in every aspect of the console. But, Microsoft's helping developers making apps with tools to help index search terms for voice recognition and motion controls. What they want to happen is to have a standard for voice search across a multiple partner pipeline, one that will spread out across PCs, Windows Phones and other devices Microsoft will power moving forward. The fact that Kinect plays a big part of that just reflects how important the device has already become for Microsoft