E310: PlayStation Move Pwns Microsoft Kinect

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Let’s get this out of the way – Sony will dominate the next generation motion control wars.

Calm down, fanboy. I’ve been a long-time supporter of Microsoft’s Xbox platform, so it pains me to say that. But I’ve seen a few things the public haven’t been privy to and spent extensive time with both platforms. While Sony did an incredible job trying to convert this self-proclaimed Xbox fanboy weeks ago, it wasn’t until I spent an adequate amount of time with Kinect that I saw the light.

Microsoft made it pretty clear during their press conference that they’re going after the casual gamer. In other words, they want Nintendo’s lunch money and they’re poised to do just that. But from a technological standpoint, Kinect has nothing on Move. If it does, Microsoft isn’t showing anything worth talking about.

So, am I just a crazy person and/or a Sony fanboy? No. I’m platform-agnostic. But here’s why Move has the upper hand.

Why Can’t I Sit Down?

If you’ve been paying attention to all the Kinect demos, you might have noticed that players are never sitting down. All the Kinect titles from Microsoft are meant to be played standing up and for good reason, but will any Kinect title support us couch taters? What about those that are handicapped? Are you telling me that someone in a wheelchair won’t be able to play with a Kinectimal?

According to Stephen Totilo over at Kotaku, Microsoft is still calibrating Kinect for those of us that like to sit down. But what are developers saying about this phenomenon? Again, I’ll point to Totilo’s piece where he asked a developer this exact question and his reply is somewhat troubling.

“Microsoft is briefing studios making games for Kinect said the company has specifically advised developers to not make games that would involve the player’s sitting down.”

Microsoft doesn’t want us to sit down? A bit ridiculous, don’t you think?

I’m a hardcore gamer. Is Kinect right for me?

No.

Playing a shooter isn’t even conceivable at this point. How would you reload your weapon, throw a grenade or switch to night vision? Sony’s SOCOM 4 works spectacularly with the Move controller. Every single Kinect title that’s in the works is a casual game. What about the Star Wars lightsaber game, you say? There were no working demos of that title, so we have no idea how to inflict a Force Push.

Even though I consider myself a “hardcore” gamer, I do like to partake in a casual game or two – table tennis being the main one. Yes, I’m Asian, so it’s in my blood to like that sport. Here’s something I noticed about Kinect’s ping-pong game, you can’t spin the ball. With Move, all you need to do is rotate your wrist like you would in real life to add some spin because the Move controller has an accelerometer built in.

Real driving simulators like Forza are relegated to weak-ass kiddie games. During a demo of said storied franchise, I asked whether or not I’d be able to control anything other than steering like braking or accelerating or shifting. No dice. The only thing you’re doing is steering. And who the hell wants to “walk around” a virtual car to check out the brake calipers? Wouldn’t it be easier to point and click like you can with a Move controller? Umm…yes.

Who has the better hardware?

Kinect is impressive; I’m not saying it isn’t. The ability to track over 15 key joints in your body certainly has its advantages over Move but Microsoft did nothing to show off what else the hardware is capable of. Watch the tech demo we took at PlayStation HQ and tell me the potential to do any of those things isn’t titillating.

Microsoft’s integration of voice commands into Kinect is mindblowingly awesome. But that’s about it.

Look at a game like Heavy Rain and tell me Move doesn’t make sense. Would it work with Kinect? No.

Like the iPad, both platforms will need plenty of time to mature and developers will need to adapt accordingly, but I’m afraid the best Kinect titles will come from Microsoft. I don’t see developers having the budgets to create AAA titles for Kinect when resources are better served for non-motion-control Xbox 360 and PS3 titles.

It’ll be an interesting Fall/Winter. In the meantime, I’ll be making room for both in my living room.

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