Is this an officially licensed, wireless Microsoft racing wheel revealed at E3 2011? Seems so. But lets look beyond the obvious. What piece of Xbox hardware could best benefit from this wireless design? Kinect perhaps? I believe so, and here is why. (And doesn't it look like two joined Project K handles?)
Microsoft has a conundrum it can't easily resolve with Kinect sales numbers. On one hand, MS has the hottest motion control sensor in the gaming market that makes YOU the controller. On the other hand, YOU are a Xbox gamer; and there is a high percentage YOU belong to a little faction called "Core Gamers".
The problem is core gamers aren't buying into Microsoft's controller-less motion system. The Kinect sensor is doing extremely well due to casual gamer adoption, not core gamer adoption. Don't agree with me? Just listen to the recent E3 presser and count the number of times you hear "core" during the Kinect section. Microsoft needs core gamers to churn the Kinect experience.
This steering wheel peripheral reveal does two things for Microsoft. 1) Fills a hole of the racing wheel dropped from current production. 2) Most importantly - Fills a hole for racing fans and Kinect. The wireless feature ensures that.
How does this wheel's existence allow Microsoft to sidestep the immediate question of "is this a Forza 4/JoyRide Kinect controller"? Easy. The company can truthfully answer "No. Its our new racing wheel that replaces the recently dropped from production version." You can expect a similar statement to keep Kinect's tagline "YOU are the controller" in place. Since the peripheral wasn't mentioned in the recent E3 presser at all; MS has quietly offered a controller to a lauded controller-less sensor. I hope you can see that.
It is becoming painfully obvious Microsoft will have to introduce a hardware-based control standard for Kinect. To do that, the Kinect tagline "You are the controller", will have to be forgotten. And rather than debase that $500 millon marketing investment; expect Microsoft to forget the tagline in the next version of Kinect, that will be built into the next Xbox, which will demand a hardware controller. The new tagline will read "You are STILL the controller!".