Ever since its launch last year, it’s been a relatively smooth ride for Microsoft’s Kinect except for a few bumps on the road such as [very cool] hackings, which were ultimately condoned by the software giant… more or less. But as of a few days ago, the very first real snag hit when Impulse Technology claimed Microsoft had allegedly intruded on several of its patents.
“The Xbox Kinect game console infringed on seven of Impulse’s patents for technology that tracks users’ movements and lets them play video games without a controller,” reads the official statement, which furthermore says that Microsoft had been informed of these patents before the suit, which covered “a wide variety of games where the movement of a player is tracked in three dimensions… and certain exercise games where the motion of the player is tracked to effect movement of a virtual avatar, and the exertion of the user is monitored, including where the tracking of the player is done by use of a camera.”
In addition to Microsoft, eight other developers/publishers were included in the suit, including EA, Sega and Konami for creating or publishing games for Kinect. “Impulse alleges that like Microsoft, these companies are guilty of making, selling and importing into the U.S., games that infringe several of their patents.”
Although the momentum of Kinect sales — and software — has dropped since its introduction, this case, if successful, sure as heck won’t be of any help, denting Microsoft and damaging the company quite a bit. Although, we don’t expect to hear again from this for a while, so don’t hold your breath; keep flinging, flapping and waving those body parts of yours like there is no tomorrow.