Monday, June 14, 2010

A Kinect by Any Other Name

One of my best friends just had a daughter. She went through her first few days of life without a name; just this generic mini-person with nothing to refer to her as. She now has a lovely name, but I can understand the difficulty in coming up with one that will serve her well for the rest of her life. One piece of advice I heard was that "she'll grow into her name."

This doesn't only apply to people.

Microsoft bizarrely unveiled the name of its new camera accessory: Kinect1. HEY I GET IT. It's "connect" but also kinda-not-really looks like "kinetic." That probably sounded really good to a committee of Microsoft suits, on paper, but it comes out sounding like a spelling-impaired teenager's AOL username circa 1995.

But let's not forget the name of the system the Kinect was designed to compete against: the Wii. We laughed when that was announced, oh how we laughed (ok, I still laugh whenever someone says "play with my Wii"), but it's become accepted. Naming it the Wii wasn't the huge mistake that some people predicted it would be.

Similarly, #itampon was a trending topic on Twitter the day Apple announced the iPad. Now, it's lusted after without a second thought.

It's funny how arbitrary names really are. We give them a lot of thought before they're created, but after that, even the dumbest names are grown into. Then again, I may be biased, as a guy who goes by "Phronk."

1 BTW, I'm watching the Microsoft media briefing on the Kinect right now, and it looks pretty amazing. Controlling everything (not just games) with just your body and voice is pretty futuristic shit. Soon Minority Report will look quaint.

Er... "Kinect tracks your skeleton as you move." Maybe it'll be creepy HAL futuristic, too.

Ok this tiger fondling simulation is creepy too.

Enough live-blogging.

Edit 3:24 pm: Oops I forgot that the whole reason I started posting this was to lead up to showing you this awesomely-named hot sauce my parents gifted to me yesterday:



Anonymous said...

I still laugh at Wii and especially iPad, because...really?

But there's nothing else to call them. At least as long as you're not LOOKING at the word Kinect, it could just sound like Connect, so it's slightly better than the other two.

Much as I hate to give Microsoft credit for anything...

Tatiana said...

Yeah my thoughts on the subject derailed once I watched the promo video.

Lame names aside, the one thing that pisses me off about both of these (wii and kinetic) is the incredibly cheesy graphics. In this day and age, the worse-than-mario looking boxy images is the best they can do?

Not only do you look like a tool playing with your wii, but you get very little wow factor and visual satisfaction that regular video games deliver nowadays. Minority report? Not even close.

But I guess it's early days, I bet they have the next ten versions lined up ready to go but as long as there's money to be made, they'll incrementally improve.

Picard102 said...

Don't think trying to make an avatar of yourself photo realistic is sensible nor a good idea. The variations and number of options to do so would be cumbersome to say the least. The cartoon avatars are a perfect way too represent a wide variety of people with the least hassle.

S said...

Coming from someone in the industry, that name is NOT an effective marketing idea.

Anonymous said...

I'm not big on poop but that's the greatest label I have ever seen on a product.

tornwordo said...

I need that hotsauce. Of course I would have named it Burning Ringpiece.

Phronk said...

Re: Wii / Kinect graphics.

I'm okay with the clean, simple graphics that some of the Kinect applications are going for. They're in high definition and get the job done without distractions. Trying to go fancier can backfire; look at Playstation Home. Does anyone actually use that for more than 5 minutes?

The Wii went too far with it though. Not even in HD? EVERY game being a chunky cartoony mess? I think that's partly responsible for the Wii falling behind after its early lead.

Johnson said...

There's a definite missed segue opportunity here seeing as you went from products growing into their funny names to a picture of a product called Assplosion...

Also, if there is a video game for Kinect called Assplosion, I will be the first in line for it.

Andrea said...

I'm glad you included a pic of your awesome new gift, however you should edit your post to say "this awesomely-named hot sauce my parents AND AWESOME SISTER gifted to me" seeing as I was clearly the one who thought to buy it for you.
Thhheeeeennnnkkkkksssss! *eyes closed and smug*

Phronk said...

Johnson: I know, lost opportunity. This is what happens when you throw together a blog post in 5 minutes while doing 5 other things at the same time.

Andrea: FIXED. Now you will be forever associated with Assplosion, as you desired.

P.S. This hot sauce is fucking hot.

Hey Lady! said...

First off why is the ass in a lake on the "Assplosion" label? Do they think it makes it look more like something people want to eat, then say an ass over a toilet? Seems likely.

Also, worst name ever that is now used as if it's normal, "Renesmee" from the Twilight Saga. Most annoying is how many damned times I have heard people say it. Also, the iPad.