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June 2, 2011
 

Kinect, Move or Wii??

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The next generation consoles seem to be quite a way off being released – there’s no scheduled date for any new Xbox (despite the many fanboys hoping for an Xbox 720 this year), Sony will no doubt be doing some serious damage limitation after their PSN fiasco and Nintendo are releasing a newer Wii but only to match the power of the Xbox 360 and PS3.

The only real developments we’ve seen are the introductions of the Microsoft Kinect and the Sony Move – both are motion controllers for their respective consoles – but who is using them and why aren’t these devices selling like hot cakes?

Microsoft Kinect
Most gamers will know about the Kinect by now – its been out a while and has been hyped up not only by the media but had a decent build up due to some great looking trailers and TV ad campaigns. 10 days after its launch in the US, Microsoft reported selling over a whopping one million Kinect devices – not bad.

Using its multiple cameras to work out distance as well as full body movement, the Microsoft Kinect plugs into the Xbox 360 and can be used as a controller for the navigation of menus as well as playing certain Kinect-compatible games. The voice activation features of the Kinect also allow you to perform certain actions on the Xbox 360 menus such as play a DVD and shut down the console, etc.
Kinect game adventures PlayEject
But its the games that most people will be interested in – boasting full body movement pickup, the Kinect was to set the world alight. Unfortunately, 6 months on from its release we are yet to see anything ground breaking or amazing. Yes the launch title games were great to play with friends or as a demonstration of the capabilities of the Kinect but major game releases are still based around the standard controller with only a handful of major games having Kinect compatibility – Tiger Woods: The Masters 2012 being the biggest release to date.

For all the features and promises the Kinect has, there are downsides aside from the lack of games for the more hardcore gamer. Many people reported a lack of responsiveness to their movements if they moved too quickly and others found themselves in the embarrassing situation of realising the Kinect takes pictures every so often during your gaming session – which could be more down to users not being aware of the full features of the Kinect and not knowing how to switch this off or on.

The fear is that unless the big boys of the developer industry release some serious titles for the Kinect soon, the device might end up being a glorified Wii or expensive gimic. For party games and kids the Kinect is ideal – with Kinect Adventures and Kinectimals and Dance Central being the biggest sellers but with the biggest titles of the year: Gears of War 3, MW3 and Batman Arkham City; not one of these will have Kinect features (so far)! So far its only really Forza 4 that looks like being of any real substance but how that actually works is yet to be seen…



PlayStation Move

Sony are never known for being outdone by competitors. They may have been a bit late to the next-gen console race but the PS3 sales have grown and seen some brilliant PS3-exclusive titles such as Heavy Rain and Little Big Planet 2. So a motion-based controller was a natural progression given the success of the Wii and what was promised from the Kinect.

The Sony Move was born. And at the much lower price than the Kinect!

The Sony Move is essentially a handheld controller (much in the same fashion as the Nintendo Wii Motion Controller) who’s movements are picked up by the Sony Eye camera (sold with the Sony Move Starter Kit). The Move controller fits easily into the players hand and has the key buttons on the handset as well as a globe on the top end of the controller which lights up depending on which player you are. The Sony Move controller itself is relatively comfy to hold and feels well built and is curved with ergonomics in mind.

The advantage of having a handheld controller like the Move over the Kinect is that you typically require less space to play most games in. The Kinect does require a lot of space to play properly whereas the Move can be controller by standing pretty much anywhere (within reason) or even sat down. Also, as the Move is controller based, there are already other gizmos that can be used with it – the main one being the Move Gun Controller. Rather than using a standard 6-axis controller to run around a battlefield, you can pick up the Move Gun and roam around as if you were actually in the game. Its a great way to enhance the gameplay experience – we tested it on Killzone 3 and after a few embarrassing tries we got the hang of it: navigating your way around a map with the built in buttons and aiming and shooting with the gun is great fun.Sony Move Gun controller PlayEject

That opens up the whole market as far as we can see and wonder how long developers pick up on this and release things like the Move Wheel for playing Need for Speed or the Move Racket for Virtua Tennis 4, etc.

The major downside of the Move is that because its not a full body scanner, some movements can be lost – playing Virtua Tennis 4 for example, we realised that gentle flicks or subtle movements were sometimes registered as completely different shots meaning we had to adjust the way we played the game to how the game wanted us to play it. Also, if you want to play multiplayer Move games on the same console you will need to fork out for an additional Move Controller as you only get one with the starter pack.

The other big advantage the Sony Move has over the Kinect is that Sony are pushing the Move with their games. Taking a look at what is available on the PS3 you will see the little blue strip across the top of the case on so many of the latest releases to indicate games are Move Compatible. Even older games have been updated to have the Move compatibility – Heavy Rain being one that works so well. And thats a big advantage when you consider the lack of titles (good and bad) for the Kinect.



Kinect versus Sony Move
So which is the best? Well in terms of technical achievements, the Kinect wins hands down. It has so much to offer as a game accessory as well as general console functionality. So long as Microsoft can really lean on games developers to make some really decent Kinect titles in the next 12 months it will become a revolution.

However Sony Move is already building up a decent catalogue of games and is catering not only for the casual market but the more hardcore gamer as well by releasing the majority of its games as being Move compatible. But it doesn’t have the same level of technical ground breaking as the Kinect.

Tricky one to call but ultimately it comes down to how each gamer prefers to play as many are quite happy and prefer the standard controllers meaning all this Kinect/Move could be a massive waste of time…!

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