With the Sony's Move launching in just under to two months and Microsoft's Kinect follow a hair more than a month later, the race for motion controlled superiority in this generation has begun. Neither the tried-and-true Wii controls nor the Move, which is more or less the same idea on the PS3, have generated nearly as much discussion as the Kinect. The price point of Microsoft's upcoming peripheral, combined with the fact that it is a very different take on motion control, has made it the center of much debate as to whether or not it will be successful. In the first of a two-part series, we bring you five reasons why the Kinect will be a success come November 4th.
1.Excellent support both at launch and in the future
The last peripheral to be released for the Xbox 360 with motion controls was the Xbox 360 Live vision camera. For those of you who don’t remember it or never bothered to buy it (read: most of the world), it was pretty much an Eyetoy for the Xbox 360. Needless to say, it was pretty forgettable, and the camera was quickly thrown into the useless peripherals pile, right alongside the Xbox 360 Text Messaging Kit, which was made for the abundance of gamers who play console MMOs. Part of the reason for the camera’s failure was the fact that there weren’t really any games to play with it. Sure, you had the standard suite of games which were about as deep as an above ground swimming pool. However, outside of those , the only real integration of the camera into games was to take your picture and put it in your character in games like Rainbow Six Vegas. The Kinect is different in this respect; it will launch with over fifteen games from some of the biggest publishers in the world. Granted, many of the launch titles are pretty simple uses of the technology in the Kinect. However, most of these titles have proved to be fun on motion-controlled systems (read: the Wii) before and will provide a significant amount of entertainment value. Also, the fact that so many developers have decided to give Microsoft’s newest peripheral a chance, with many promising deeper motion-controlled games in the future, bodes well for its success.
2.The Kinect and 360 make the Best Console/Controller Combination
Up until now there hasn't really been a fully realized motion-controlled experience on a true next-gen system. Sure, there is the Wii, which is fun, but the raw power is obviously not up to the level of the PS3 or Xbox 360. The Kinect capitalizes on this fact by making your body the controller on a console which has is not only more powerful than what Nintendo is selling, but also has far better third party support and a wider array of non-motion-controlled titles. The fact that Kinect is offering a similar, and arguably better, technology to gamers while supporting a more robust games library will give it an edge over the Wii, and the fact that it is has a better price than the Move on a slightly less powerful console will tilt the scales in favor of Microsoft come November.
3.The Kinect price is actually competitive for people buying a new console
Now, before you get all up at arms and call me an idiot over this one, let me at least hit you with some math. The Microsoft Kinect Bundle comes right out of the box with literally everything you need to have a motion-control experience: a device which tracks the movement of two players, a console, and a game which takes advantage of said motion controlled device (Kinect Adventures) for $299.99. Sure, with a comparable set up costing $259.98 ($199.99 for the console bundle, and $59.99 for the additional Wiimote + nunchuck combo) if you choose to go the Nintendo route, the Kinect is slightly more pricey soup-to-nuts. However, the price gap is not nearly as vast as it would appear at first blush and is certainly small enough that people will weight other factors more heavily. Although this criterion for price comparison may seem like arbitrary data-mining, it is probably the fairest way to compare the price of the Wii, Kinect, and Move. After all, who is going to buy a motion-controlled device which makes them look like a moron just to stand alone in their house and play it? That’s right, no one. Oh, and as for the Move, its price is well above both the Wii and Kinect ($399.99 just for one controller and a game), which likely take it out of the running for new console buyers.
4. Current Xbox 360 users could use something different
There are a lot of great things which can be said about the Xbox 360 and the games which are offered on it; however, one of those is not that it has an abundance of casual games. Sure, shooters, RPGs and action-platformers are great, but you can only play so many rounds of Spec. ops in Modern Warfare 2 before it gets old. As it stands now, once 360 gamers gets bored with MW2/Halo 3/Mass Effect, their only option is to off the console or throw in another hardcore game. The Kinect will open up a whole different world to Xbox 360 gamers, allowing them to take a break from killing zombies/terrorists/aliens and instead flail around in an attempt pilot a raft through rapids, or, if they want to take a page out of Dane Cook’s book, they can Just Dance (oh yes, I made that pun). These types of experiences are currently missing from the Xbox 360 game library but will be embraced as something new by Xbox owners when they become available.
5. Less wires=More Exposure, More Stupidity, and More fun
Even with the Wii, which is far and away the most successful motion-controlled device to date, there has always been the worry of controllers and wires. The Kinect will solve this by getting rid of all the wires, controllers, and buttons associated with gaming. The lack of wires will give the Kinect the edge this holiday season as it won’t seem like a recycled piece of technology to people who are investing in a console for the first time, making it the "hot new thing" if you will. Also, playing without wires is really just more fun than playing with them. Not only is the experience more immersive, but also you look ten times stupider (and thus have 10x more fun) when trying to throw your virtual football through a virtual tire.
So there you have it, five reasons that the Kinect will dominate this holiday season. Stay tuned for five reasons that Microsoft's upcoming peripheral will flop later this year.