Kinect was a game changer for the Xbox, transforming the way we interacted with games. Players no longer needed the traditional controller, or a motion sensor to accidentally swing at their TV’s to play games. Thanks to Kinect, all they needed was themselves, and now Microsoft is looking to push Kinect’s possibilities to the limit.
According to a recent job listing for a senior software engineering position, Microsoft has put together a new team within the Xbox division for the sole purpose of improving the motion sensing technology.
“A new team has formed in Microsoft’s Xbox division with a specific purpose: to push the envelope of today’s and tomorrow’s technology as we explore new ideas from the ground floor. It begins with veterans from Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE, and Kinect. But we’re growing as quickly as our imaginations can be translated into code.” – Microsoft Job Listing
As to what exactly the job entails, the listing mentions machine vision, data mining, artificial intelligence, voice recognition and embedded systems. So that gives us a hint of some of the areas of focus for this new team. Hopefully the team will continue to work on Microsoft’s ‘Illumiroom’ technology which you can watch a demo of in the embedded video below.
“…if you’re passionate about the potential for Kinect to continue to revolutionize entertainment and are a seasoned software engineer with the skills to prototype and build the future of premium Kinect-powered experiences, we have a growing team of talented people who want to take entertainment into the future.”
The listing however does go on to stress that there will be a few risks involved, one of which is that many of the task will be very top-secret in nature, so those working within the team may not even know about what new projects are about until after they’ve accepted an offer, and likely signed a bunch of paperwork and NDAs. It also warns that project failures will happening frequently, but that’s OK as the team learns from those failures before they reach consumers.
Job responsibilities will include rapid prototyping with in collaboration with producers, game designers and artists, developing implementation plans and software, being able to collaboration with other team members in multiple disciplines to clarify and delivery tools, technology and feature work and also being good at multitasking between projects and teams fluidly.
Applicants will be required to have a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) in Computer Science, 5 years of professional software development experience in C/C++ or more, knowledge of programming fundamentals such as debugging, memory management and threading, understanding video game architecture, UI programming and client web services/networking, excellent communication skills, experience with game engines like Unreal, CryEngine, or Unity, and of course a passions about gaming and online entertainment. Otherwise…
Further reading: Kinect, Microsoft, Xbox
“If you want a comfortable, standard-role job at Microsoft with no ambiguity or risk, please don’t apply.”