Clearly Nintendo did something right: Years after incorporating motion controls into the Wii, the competition is finally following suit. With the Microsoft Xbox 360 Kinect, Sony Playstation Move and even the Nintendo Wii Remote Plus controller all landing during the same holiday season, its only natural to compare and contrast these three similar-yet-different systems.
Does evolution equal fun? Motion control might be the future, but the present three options all have their ups and downs.
Who is it for?
The Move is for hard-core gamers, according to Sony, and the button-covered design may come off as a bit intimidating for the Wii crowd. The Kinect is controller-free, and the motion-heavy gaming is perfect for fitness nuts, families, and casual players with luxurious living rooms. The Wii is still for nearly anyone, but mainly kids, casual gamers, and those without HDTVs.
The Wii is the most forgiving of the motion systems in terms of space, and the easiest to set up; all you need to do is attach a sensor bar, and even the Wii Fit board is self-contained. Its the best system for playing in cramped quarters, such as a dorm room or kids bedroom.
The Move is more complicated because it also requires a camera to be installed near the TV, which wont actually be used for most PS3 games. It requires a few feet of distance to use, but games only register the controllers motion, not yours. The Kinect, once installed, is controller- and hassle-free, but its also the most high-maintenance of them all to set up properly. Lighting and ambient noise need to be perfect, and your whole living room belongs to the Kinects playspace, since your whole body is utilized in many Kinect launch games.
Which is best for games?
The Wii has a clear advantage with the greatest software lineup, but many of the best Wii games dont really use motion all that much, and extra peripherals such as the Wii Fit board and the little-used but now integrated MotionPlus technology add up and begin to feel a little gimmicky.
Its too early to tell on the Move and Kinect, but so far their games have been a little lackluster and unoriginal, although theyre far better produced and feature stronger graphics. A few winners have emerged for both platforms, but theyre few and far between.
The dust bunny factor
The clear advantage here goes to the controller-free Kinect, which has nothing capable of gathering dust except for the camera itself. Once its plugged in, it never needs to be unplugged, even while playing non-Kinect Xbox 360 games. As to whether youll use it, thats another matter entirely, and the cameras not tiny, but its definitely the most compact peripheralplus it can be used to control (some) movies and ESPN.
The Wiis age and its abundance of plastic peripherals leave it designated as a gaming fad sooner than later. The Moves not needed for most PlayStation games, and it, too, could end up being relegated to Dustyland if better Move games dont show up. Plus, its two-part controller is bulkier than the Wiis.
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