3rd August 2010 - Okay, now if you’re reading this, you’re obviously into video games. And if you’re into video games, then you no doubt will have heard of Xbox 360’s upcoming Kinect peripheral (previously known as Project Natal), and the Playstation 3’s soon to be released Move add-on. But there are a lot of rumours going around about the both of them, and countless arguments as to which is ’better’ all of which simply fuels the fire of the constant scrutiny of the current Console War. But fact is, with the Wii already having started the craze of Motion Controllers, both are simply aching in unfair comparisons.
So we here at All Age Gaming are now bringing to you, our dear readers, the cold hard facts of both of the upcoming console additions and just what to expect from both post-launch. Will this spell the end of the console war with one sure-fire winner? Or will things just heat up with both companies foray into motion control giving off an even edge that simply continues the sale and critical battles of old? Read on to find out what we think…
Okay so first up is Microsoft’s bold Kinect. I use the word bold as it is one of the only words to accurately describe the risk they are taking with such a unique addition to their already booming console market. Currently in the worldwide lead in console sales between the two consoles in question (Wii has far surpassed both of them), Microsoft took the 2009 E3 by storm with worldwide coverage of a new complete motion/voice/facial recognition system going the by the codename of Project Natal. Press was rattled, gamers were stunned and no one knew if this was going to be serious.
Well a year on, and countless detail leaks later (including the appropriate name change to Kinect), and the world got a full glimpse of just how far the system has come. With the recent display at E3 2010 and the Cirque du Soleil demonstration, gamers and journalist’s from all over the world got to see just what a mammoth of a technological leap this thing is. With full capabilities to control entire, full-length games with no controller and simple motions, full voice control of the Xbox dashboard and Zune Videos, DVD movies etc, and a ton of potential, Kinect was shown at full-force and wowed crowds all over. However, this massive publicity stunt didn’t go off without a hitch…
From what we have seen at the two massive demonstrations I mentioned before, Kinect may not be the toy we’ve all been waiting for. The games we were shown all may have looked nice, responded actively and with haste, had top-quality production and looked fun, but to whom? From Kinectimals, Kinect Adventures and Kinect Joyride, and any others we may know of; things all look a little too childish and casual. Way too casual actually. We haven’t seen any evidence that Kinect will cater for the more hardcore gamer (arguably the largest portion of Xbox gamers), and this late in production it’s more than a little worrying.
With the release of the new model 360, I bet some of you are wondering how having an old console will affect Kinect. Well if you still have an old console and have no plans on upgrading, then you’re still in luck, as Kinect is able to be played on old consoles but requires a completely separate power point and an adapter to actually plug it into your Xbox given its connection. With the new Xbox 360’s however, you can simply plug it right into the console without the need for its own power cord or adapter.
Speaking from my personal point of view, I don’t want to dish out the price tag of Kinect for games like Kinectimals. I mean seriously, I enjoy brutal action games, Shooters, RPG’s, and I purchase a lot of games. A lot! And I just can’t see myself standing in my living room pretending to play with a Tiger, I can’t see myself pretending to be travelling down a water stream on an imaginary Hover Board or something of the like, and I certainly cannot see myself even swinging an imaginary sword at fantasy skeletons and dragons if the need arises. What I’m trying to say is, Microsoft won’t impress the average gamer and the ones that actually buy a ton of games if this is all their giving us with this system. I may have actually enjoyed interacting with Milo (from Milo & Kate, revealed at E3 2009), but since that recently got revealed to be a tech demo for developers, that won’t be happening any time soon. Further on though, take a game like Tom Clancy’s EndWar into consideration. That was able to be half controlled completely with voice using the systems Headset’s, so given Kinect’s voice recognition and command capabilities, another game with the same hopes could potentially be massive, even if it wasn’t an RTS.
I have hopes that Microsoft thinks of us older gamers and provide us who believe in Kinect’s unlimited potential something to live for in this large investment!
Kinect is set to launch this November at a price of AU$198 (bundled with Kinect Adventures) here in Australia at EB Games at the time of publication.
+ A completely unique system and control scheme which is unlike anything from its competitors
+ Has nearly unlimited potential with its range of motion/voice/facial recognition capabilities
+ Voice control of Xbox 360 Dashboard utilities and videos is amazing and very welcome
+ Appeals to a range of gamers previously untouched by the Xbox 360 (this is good for sales)
- So far, Kinect fails to impress any kind of hardcore or dedicated gamer as it’s very ‘casual’
- You need another power point and separate adaptor to use Kinect with an ‘old’ version 360
- Somewhat expensive ‘controller’ compared to its competitors
Now we get to the Playstation Move. With the Playstation 3, Sony has gone in a similar direction as Microsoft to venture into the motion controlled side of things, but taken a completely different tact towards this open and untouched market. There is no doubt going to be comparisons to the Wii (read And then there’s a third… section below), but in this section we aren’t going to offer comparisons but rather focus on the good and bad of the Move itself.
Onto more pressing information, it’s worth a mention that the Playstation Move offers a ton of potential for all manners of games. But more prominently, from what we were shown at Sony’s E3 Conference, is that Move is going to be able to control shooters exceptionally well. We were demonstrated a pre-played demo of Killzone 3 (Playstation’s famous ‘Halo Killer’), and not only were we reassured that the game is 100% compatible with Move, but is also rendered in 3D. It’s with this type of game and others of the same ‘hardcore’ mold that the Move will make its success. Already announced to be compatible with Move are Killzone 3, S.O.C.O.M. 4, Resident Evil 5 and a few nice looking rail-shooters like Shoot and Time Crisis, just to name a few. Of course there are also many more great games that are more aimed toward casual and child audiences, but form what we’ve seen so far, Sony are aiming their publicity for the Move at the middle-market of gamer and those a bit older.
As I said I was going to stay away from constant comparisons in this section, it’s a little hard to mention anything necessarily bad about the Move here. But one thing which will turn heads away from this peripheral is just how you are going to have to go about things if you want to play with its magic little wands. First up you actually need to have a Playstation Eye, which doesn’t come too cheap if bought by itself. If you already have one, good on you, but never the less you will be able to purchase a Move pack featuring one. Now onto the Move itself. Most importantly you will need to purchase the ‘Wand’ part of it. This is a one-hand, wireless controller with an odd ball on top of it. This acts as the main control part of the Move, and will debut at AU$68 alone, or AU$98 bundled with the Playstation Eye at EB Games here in Australia. Next up you will need Move Navigation Control, which will set you back a further AU$48. On top of the Eye itself, all of this is a bit of a hassle to obtain and set up. And that’s just for one person, ala single player. So you’re looking at some AU$146 (with no game bundled in) for one person to play Move. In comparison you pay AU$198 for Kinect and it supports two players. So the Move is going to be pretty expensive (AU$262 for 2 x Move Motion Controllers, 2 x Move Navigation Controllers and 1 x Playstation Eye) if you want to enjoy some kind of Splitscreen multiplayer (which is actually only supported by two people simultaneously, same as the Kinect).
+ Caters to the needs of Hardcore gamers with good, top-quality retail titles. Eg, Killzone 3!
+ Due to the Eye’s involvement, Move has pin-point motion precision - great for any game
+ Cheaper than Kinect for the basic additions and system (AU$98) (For one player that is)
- Whole set-up of Move/Navigation for each of the two possible players, plus Eye is a bit overwhelming
- Nothing we haven’t seen before (See And then there’s a third… section below)
- Compared to its main competitor; motion only is a bit underwhelming
And then there’s a third…
Playstation Move and Xbox’s Kinect. Of course, we cannot forget about the thing that started all of this; The Wii. That’s right, among all the speculation and stabbing at each of these upcoming Motion based peripherals most of us have forgotten about the Wii. First things first, I want to put it out there that I am an avid gamer and dedicated to both my Xbox 360 and PS3 (and until recently my Wii), thus in this section I will be using unbiased observations of these systems and giving you my honest opinion. Right, let’s get on with it then!
This section will mainly be used to compare these newcomers to the Wii, as we all know what that is and really shouldn’t need any schooling on the subject. First, let’s look at Kinect. Wii is a motion controlled console - Kinect is a motion/voice/facial recognition system used in conjunction with the Xbox 360. These two things hardly have anything in common, only the basic ‘Motion’ structure, but Kinect uses no controller, but rather your entire body. It can read your entire skeleton, from 4cm to every joint and bases its movement and motion control from that skeleton as you yourself move. That’s right, it’s a completely different system altogether and really doesn’t need a comparison to the Wii. And however much I wish it, that’s more than I can say for the Playstation Move…
Anyone who has seen a picture, a video - anything about the Move will immediately compare it to the Wii and its controllers (unless of course they enter a state of denial about the subject?). Comparing them next to each other, the Move’s controllers are almost exact clones of those from the Wii, right down to placement of buttons, albeit the Move has a few more buttons for added options. But where do these controllers stand when compared to one another? Well the Move has no cords for one, which in my books is a major plus, meaning more freedom while playing and less tangled cords to try to sort through after packing things up after a night of gaming. Next up, is apart from the Wii MotionPlus add-on which you must buy separately to every controller, the Move has far greater precision when dealing with in-game movements and actions. This is its major advantage over the Wii and I think you will all agree with me on this one. This doesn’t change the fact though, that we as gamers have seen this technology years ago and a lot of us have and still do play it on a regular basis. Will we really dig out more hard-earned cash for more of the same thing we’ve seen for the past 4 years with just some simple advancements? I think that question divides many right down the middle on the yes/no sides and puts forth endless arguments.
Back to Kinect though, the Wii is - apart from all types of controlling - quite similar to this. I’m talking about the content. From what we’ve seen, and what I’ve mentioned in the Kinect section, it’s all seemingly based around casual games for young gamers. I mean seriously, did you see the Kinectimals demonstration! I can’t put this facet past me, and each time I think of it a tear is brought to my eye. The Move on the other hand is giving us Hardcore and older gamers something to look forward to; Killzone 3, Resident Evil 5 and S.O.C.O.M. 4 just to name a few! This is probably the biggest key to the Move being a success.
But all of these comparisons simply raise more questions. Most prominently, to those of you who have both of these consoles, and more so if you have a Wii also; which one do I want to buy? Well considering their price points and the economical time we live in, lots of gamers in this group will only be dishing out for one of these bad boys, if that. Is it worth it? Read our conclusion section below for the answers you want!
Nothing I can say here will shield me from some sort of flamboyant spiteful comments about particular gamers favoured consoles and what they think and why it’s so right and I’m so wrong. But taking that risk, and putting forth my previous comment that I am dedicated and unbiased gamer to both of these consoles, I have compiled a definitive conclusion to the pre-release arguments of Kinect vs. Move.
Looking at it from the technological side of things, there is without reasonable doubt no way the Kinect is not this generation’s most advanced and potentially phenomenal piece of hardware. It has the best motion sensing abilities available, voice recognition and command abilities (that’s voice recognition, not just the ability to control it with your voice - it can recognize a gamers voice and identify him or her with this alone) and even facial recognition. With a ton of developers and publishers working on titles, we can only hope this potential is realized and put into a game worthy of the dollars spent on this.
But Move on the other hand, has already shown us that it will tickle the fancies of hardcore gamers, where as the only people excited about the games demonstrated with Kinect are children and child-like adults. This childish or casual feel to Kinect is further backed up by the fact that Epic Games have passed on implementing Kinect usage in what is undoubtedly one of Microsoft’s most anticipated titles coming in 2011, Gears of War 3. But all of the best Move games are also able to played with a regular controller, which most of the gamers interested in this sort of thing will much rather play with. It’s a looping conundrum and one best left up to the individual gamer.
All up though, taking price, games, potential, creativity and innovation into the mix, the Kinect comes out on top of the pile of competitors in the motion-based warfare we are now witnessing. The Move is essentially ‘old’ technology for lack of better words, and the Kinect is simply a unique monster which will add many, many years to the Xbox 360’s lifespan - and good years those will be once developers realize the unlimited potential the Kinect has to change the way games are played forever. Things may be different after the release of both of them, but here and now; move over Move- Kinect reigns supreme.
Thanks for reading folks. We’re interested to hear your opinions and views about the motion controller war at hand and what you think of each of these great console additions. So let us know in the comments section below. Just keep it clean, we’re all in the game for good times.
Article By John Elliott