Monday, October 25, 2010

Editorial: PlayStation Move vs. Kinect

This holiday season, two new methods of motion control will be available. Both PlayStation Move and Kinect for Xbox 360 have something very unique going for each of them. Kinect hits store shelves in about one week while PlayStation Move has already shipped over one million units. Each of them have different marketing strategies and different goals. The question is this: which one is better for you and which one will sell better this holiday season. I will put my insight into both of these new systems of motion control and give you enough information to choose. Unlike Microsoft's strategy of having celebrities inform and answer questions, I actually know what I am talking about and will give you the information you need.

The Implimentation: How do each of these motion control method work? They certainly are ahead of their class and way more advanced than the Wii's motion control method.

PlayStation Move: Move uses a motion controller and the PlayStation Eye camera to deliver the ultimate motion gaming experience. It's Move controller has many advanced sensors such as accelerometers and gyroscopes and other things that precisely track your motion. The controller shaped like a wand also has a glowing orb at the top. This orb is tracked by the PlayStation Eye camera so it can tell where the Move controller is in three dimensional space.

Kinect: Kinect for Xbox 360 is very different because there is no controller whatsoever. Kinect is a sensor that has a camera on it which can take pictures and allow video chat. There are two other "cameras" on each side of the camera on Kinect. Believe it or not, there are technically not cameras. They are sensors that can track your movement in three dimensional space and these sensors can also track the body's movements and replicate them on screen. Kinect also has a microphone array at the bottom of the sensor which can hear you and understand you. You will be able to launch an application such as ESPN or Netflix or play and pause a movie just using your voice. This is not only controller free gaming, its controller free entertainment.

Available Software: You can't sell razors without the razor blades. The software lineup is almost just as important as the hardware being sold. Here is a look at the launch lineup of each motion control method and some titles coming out in the future.

PlayStation Move: There are plenty of games on PlayStation Move. If you do not own a PlayStation Eye camera, you will most likely pick up the Move Starter Kit which includes the game Sports Champions, a sports compilation which serves as the flagship title. I've played Sports Champions and it is a lot of fun. There also is a party game called Start The Party, an augmented reality pet simulator called Eyepet, and plenty of other titles. One interesting thing is that a few of the Move's launch titles are actually games that have already released including Heavy Rain, Tiger Woods PGA Tour '11, Resident Evil 5 and Toy Story 3. Those who already own these games are able to download patches to update their existing titles that are Move compatible. Future games that will be compatible for PlayStation Move include LittleBigPlanet 2, Killzone 3, SOCOM 4, and many more. There is easily something for every type of gamer with PlayStation Move.

Kinect: Kinect will launch with 17 games. The flagship titles looks to be Kinect Adventures which comes with every Kinect sensor sold. This game will contain about 20 different minigames that will showcase many different ways the Kinect sensor can be used. Other titles include a sports compilation from the acclaimed developer Rare called Kinect Sports, a dancing game known as Dance Central from Rock Band developers Harmonix, a pet simulator Kinectimals, and some racing games such as Kinect Joy Ride and Sonic Free Riders. As for future games, plenty of Kinect titles will come out of the Japanese market such as Steel Battalion. As for more games coming from US developers, there is a Star Wars game on the horizon from Lucasarts coming in 2011 and another pet simulator from THQ called Fantastic Pets coming this Spring. There has not been much specifically for hardcore gamers but hardcore gamers can definitely find some things they like from the Kinect launch lineup. Eventually, true hardcore experiences will arrive.

Marketing Strategy: Yes I am going into what strategies Microsoft and Sony are using to sell their products. Although it may not be important to you, it could be to predict whether there will be enough units on store shelves to go around

PlayStation Move: It seems as though Sony has not at all changed their marketing strategy from what it already was. PlayStation 3 only does everything and Sony is sticking to saying that. My belief is that Sony does not want to upset its hardcore fans by showing families play. The Move commercials feature PlayStation spokesperson Kevin Butler spending thirty days with the McGuire family to prove that everyone in the house loves PlayStation Move. In the commercials they do show the family playing together. They also show their more hardcore titles in action. Overall, I do not believe these advertisements are convincing those who would love to play casual games to switch over to PlayStation 3. I think Sony needs to get Move more mainstream attention which is exactly what its opponent is doing.

Kinect: Microsoft is taking the complete opposite approach as Kinect. Their main focus is on everyone. The ads are definitely geared towards the casual/mainstream market but through the Inside Xbox videos on Xbox Live, they have shown hardcore gamers just how advanced and revolutionary Kinect is. This is also being explained on mainstream news channels like CNN and Kinect is also being showcased on many popular television shows including Dancing with the Stars, Glee, The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Oprah. In fact, Oprah gave her whole audience Xbox 360 Kinect bundles. Microsoft is also touring with Kinect across the country. Microsoft knows well that Kinect can literally sell itself if people try it out or people see others having fun with it. Even I can account for that. I was pretty amazed how well it works when I tried it out for the first time. There are also huge rumors of shortages which is gonna rush people to the stores to get it as soon as possible. I actually do believe that there will most likely will be a shortage of Kinect sensors. With half a billion dollars of advertising being done, Microsoft is doing big things to advertise Kinect and it is clear it will be the most wanted item of the holiday season.

Pricing: Pricing is important. Are the prices of Kinect and PlayStation Move worth what they are asking?

PlayStation Move: For those who own a PlayStation 3 but do not already own the PlayStation Eye camera, The PlayStaton Move starter pack is what you will be after. For $99, you will receive one PlayStation Move controller, one PlayStation Eye camera, a copy of Sports Champions, and a PlayStation Move demo disc. For those who may have bought games like The Eye of Judgment in the past and already own a PlayStation Eye camera can purchase a standalone Move controller for $49.99. The Move Navigation Controller which has the same purpose as the Wii's Nunchuck controller costs $29.99. Those who do not want to pay for the Navigation controller can also use the left side of their SixAxis or DualShock 3 controller although that may feel uncomfortable. What if you are new to PlayStation and still have yet to get the PlayStation 3 console? The PlayStation Move starter kit will be bundled with PlayStation 3 consoles for $399.99.

Kinect: Just like PlayStation Move, Kinect will work with every Xbox 360 out there. Those who already own an Xbox 360 can pick up a Kinect sensor for $149.99. Every Kinect sensor will also come with a complimentary copy of Kinect Adventures. With Kinect, there are no extra accessories necessary to allow multiplayer so all you will ever need is the Kinect sensor unless you want to buy a mount to place it on top of your TV. Those are sold through third party accessory manufacturers. If you do not own an Xbox 360 which I'm sure many people looking to buy Kinect will not have, Microsoft will bundle both the Kinect sensor and Kinect Adventures with Xbox 360 consoles. The cheaper model which comes with a 4GB internal hard drive costs $299 while the more expensive model coming with 250GB of internal memory will cost $399. So look at it this way, Buying an Xbox 360 with Kinect is cheaper than buying a PlayStation 3 with PlayStation Move.

Final Verdict: To be honest, I don't think I can pick and choose. No matter what you choose, you can't go wrong. Both Kinect and PlayStation Move provide an incredible motion gaming experience. I know that many hardcore gamers are waiting on Kinect to provide the hardcore gaming experience they are looking for while PlayStation Move already has titles that please the hardcore gamer. I think it all depends on what you are looking for your game console to do, what games you want, and how much money you are willing to shell out. This is almost the same as deciding which cell phone to buy. There is no phone that is clearly the greatest, the best one is the one that suits your needs. If you don't own a gaming console, don't care about bringing your console online, and just want the cheapest possible option, then you should choose the $299 Kinect/Xbox 360 bundle. If you own both systems and again want the cheapest possible option for single player, then the PlayStation Move starter kit would be the best option. Again, it is about what your situation is. Ask yourself what games do you want, what features do you want in your console, and more. Both are great options, the facts I have written above can be used as a guideline for you to make your final choice. In terms of which one will sell better, due to the epically huge ad campaign, I believe Kinect will easily sell more units than PlayStation Move so long as they have the supply to do so.
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