By: Brandon Wolfson
Ever since the Nintendo Wii was first announced it created a buzz surrounding its motion controller. Four years after the Wii’s release, it is the dominate home console that has the appeal that captured the casual audience (Parents, Grandparents and Children). Looking to get a piece of Nintendo’s pie, Sony and Microsoft have attempted to dive into the motion control market, but is it too late? has motion control lost its novelty and just a gimmick? Who is doing it right and who is doing it wrong? That is why I am writing this article today. Kinect vs Move.
Previously known as Project Natal, Kinect is a device that does not require the use of a physical object to use. The controller is your body. When this was shown last year through video montages of people playing it seemed that it would have perfect ratio with your movements. This is a great device for people that are handicapped. A few game demos were shown off to demonstrate the variety with what Kinect can do. The genres of games shown off were a Pet Simulator, Sports and exercise games, Dance games, Family style mini games, Racing and a Star Wars game. I was personally most impressed with the menu interface (think IPad but not actually touching anything) and the ability to video chat over Xbox LIVE. It has voice command for example say “Xbox off” and your Xbox will turn off which I must say is pretty damn cool.
Like Kinect, the Move was debuted last year at E3. It features two separate controllers that are very similar to Nintendo’s Wii except for the face that the controllers are wireless and contain more buttons than the standard Wii remote. The controller seems to match the exact movements as your on screen counterpart. Move can also be used with Sony’s own PS Eye device which will give the player the illusion of actually holding an in game item (Gun/Sword) in their own hands while looking at yourself on the screen playing the game which helps immerse the player in the universe of the game world. The potential is there to really create some very interesting games.
The Battle Begins
After watching both conferences at E3 I feel like I need to get some things off of my chest regarding the new motion control devices. When Nintendo first came to the market with the Wii we have seen many publishers try to get a piece of Nintendo’s success by releasing low grade shovelware titles that have tacked on motion control just to have “motion control” which does not do anything but create a cheap gimmick. Some games on the Wii do motion control right, for example Zelda, Metroid Prime, Sin & Punishment, No More Heroes etc where the controls don’t feel like a tacked on gimmick but as an actual alternative way to play the game. Than we have all of these dime a dozen cheap Wii Sport/Wii Fit knock -off games that that will not sell at all unless it is an official Nintendo product. What I am trying to say is that Nintendo has been in the gaming industry for over two decades and have that worldwide “mass appeal” that attracts customers to their product.
Nintendo having the casual appeal will really hurt Microsoft and Sony. Many people that have bought a Wii for the casual titles will not look to purchase Kinect for the rumored price $149. And it will make 360 owners turn the other way and buy a Wii for the added $50 and have a console that will play some “core” titles such as Mario and Zelda. As I was watching Microsoft’s E3 conference I found myself cringing because they were trying so hard for the “casual” pie that they created all of these cheap Wii Sports game imitations. If Microsoft wants people to buy Kinect than they should target their own customers first and create compelling software what will make their existing user base want to buy one. That user base is around 40 Million. I can assure you those 40 Million users bought the console to play, guess what? “core titles” and I am sure that the ones that already have a Wii will not bother with Kinect to play “family” games when they already have a Wii.
Sony’s approach with the Move seemed like a very bad idea at first. It got bad press screaming “Wii Knockoff” and cheap imitation. After watching Sony demo the Move I thought that they had the right idea. Yes they did show some “Wii Sport” like games to demo but also assured the crowd that existing games such as Resident Evil 5 will get patched to play with the new controller in hand. Other titles such as Killzone 3, Socom 4 and Heroes on the Move will also be used with the Move. Sony even debuted a new game called Sorcerer which appeared to be some sort of adventure game in the vein of Zelda but the main character wielded a wand to shoot projectiles at enemies. The most impressive part of the Move was the fact that it had 1:1 movement ratio. The response time between the motions were pretty much spot and with a price point of $80 (you have to buy the controller in two parts $49.99 and $29.99) I see no reason not to try this out.
Sony’s Move. I am not taking anything away from Kinect but as a pure gaming device I just don’t see this taking off especially at the rumored $149 price tag, which for $50 more you can buy a new Wii. While I did find the exercise games and the two player “Jump in and Out feature” was very impressive, but if I want to work out than I will go to the gym. Kinect did everything right BUT show how good of a serious game machine can be. The Star Wars game that they have shown seemed on rails and failed to impress as did most of the generic titles that have been shown for Kinect. Kinect is pretty much an advanced version of Sony’s Playstation Eye.
Move has shown that there is a lot of potential for it to become a serious gaming device. While some of the games that have been shown were gimmicky Wii Sports clones it did a good job of showing just what can be done with the device and the sports titles are the best and simple way to show that off. Sorcerer was a new first generation Move title that has shown how well implemented the controls can be used for some serious games. I expect to see adventure, shooters and RPG games being made specifically for Move in the future. When I am gaming I prefer to hold a controller in my hands.