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With the Kinect, Microsoft is hoping gamers are looking for something new and has thrown the idea that you need a controller to play games right out the "window". Now with both the Kinect and the Move out there, it's time to decide which accessory, if any, is worth a spot by your TV.
The Move certainly won't win any points for originality as it's fairly similar to the Wiimote, even down to the Nun-chuck style attachment. While that may be true that's not necessarily a bad thing as Nintendo's concept is not only familiar but it's a proven success. Some finicky setup issues and the fairly dated hardware in the Playstation Eye may hinder the Move from ever really picking up steam though
On the other side of the fence is the Kinect which does away with the controller entirely and relies on a brand new motion tracking camera that puts players in the game like never before. While the idea is certainly great on paper the whole idea of controller free gaming has it's own set of hurdles and the lack of precision controls may hinder core game developers from creating must have titles.
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The Move handles much like you'd expect and if you've ever held a Wiimote you'll feel instantly at home. The only issue I've had is the slight delay that occurs if you move the controller too fast. The good news is that this delay seemed to vary widely depending on the game I was playing. I'm hoping with a little more time and tinkering developers can reduce the amount of latency enough that it won't hinder more action oriented titles and the Move allows for some very precise targeting so hardcore gamers may yet be in for a treat.
The Kinect on the other hand seems to be fairly consistent regardless of the title being played and it does an impressive job of tracking your whole body. Navigating menus is intuitive and the voice recognition works flawlessly so if you were worried about sloppy or unresponsive controls put that fear to rest. Unfortunately the Kinect suffers from a similar very slight delay in actions. It's not a problem in most of the titles so far but ultimately I think it will hinder any attempt at bringing the Kinect to more mainstream titles. Also while the lack of a controller is a lot of fun in the fairly simple games available it's going to take some real creativity from developers to deliver a game with precise enough controls to rival using the standard controller.
Winner: The Move
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Just like the Wii both the Kinect and the Move both suffer from an overpopulation of party game collections. Both sets of hardware have plenty of potential but for the time being get ready for some Wii Sports nostalgia.
The Move seems to have an edge as far as upcoming games are concerned though with a slew of first person shooters on the horizon. That should be something to entice gamers bored by the light fare currently offered. At the same time the current lineup for the Move isn't exciting and none of the games are really system sellers. The augmented reality games for the Move offer something new and it's really the only thing differentiating the Move from the Wii currently.
The Kinect has an equivalent lineup and it's almost entirely made up of party games, dance games and exercise titles. Once again none of the games are really going to draw much of a crowd and it's up to the hardware to sell itself. Fortunately it doesn't disappoint and the cool factor of the Kinect blows the Move out of the water, it's hard to not be impressed the first time you navigate menus with a wave of your hand or a quick voice command. It's the kind of sci-fi feeling that the nerd in all of us is going to go crazy for. What is troubling though are the lack of any real exciting games coming down the road if the Kinect can't find a killer app soon I'm worried that it might become a short lived novelty.
Winner: The Move
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Now the real problem with these kinds of console additions in my opinion is that they almost never justify the price, and to be honest currently neither addition is really worth it if you're a gamer on a budget.
The Move may seem reasonable at first glance with a controller priced around the equivalent of a regular dual shock controller. The problem is that you don't just need a controller, you need the camera, a controller and the navigation add-on and some games even utilize two individual move controllers. Just the basic setup will run you about $130 and if you're hoping to play any kind of local multiplayer, which is ideal for the current crop of games, you're starting to get close to the price of a new Playstation 3.
The Kinect isn't cheap either but at least once you've thrown down your money you don't need to worry about buying anything else. The local multiplayer works well and if you're looking for a new 360 you can get it even cheaper in a bundle. It's still a hefty investment to play a handful party and dance games though.
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Ease of Setup
Sitting around calibrating hardware is just not fun and in this regard the Kinect is the clear winner. The system needs an initial setup that will allow it to recognize your face and voice and from there you're good to go. If a few friends stop by you don't have to go through any additional steps, they just walk in front of the camera and they're ready to play. Lighting doesn't seem to be an issue either and it works fine under most reasonable lighting conditions. If you're in a small apartment or dorm though you'll likely have to rearrange furniture to give the Kinect the space it needs.
The Playstation Move calibration is just much more frustrating in this regard. The controllers need to be calibrated often and while it's quick enough to not be a real hassle it is slightly irritating. The real problem is that the camera is just not good at dealing with lights. Depending on the time of day you can get problems with controller calibration and for some reason one of the lamps in my living room seems to just ruin the Move no matter where I put it.
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When it comes right down to it the real issue is, are either of these motion controllers fun? Well thankfully the answer is yes in both cases. The Move is just as entertaining as the Wii is and while it doesn't have the new feel that the Kinect does it certainly has the potential to really shine when some of the bigger name titles arrive.
I have to say the Kinect edges out the Move as far as fun goes. It may just be that it's the new hotness on the block but the hardware is really impressive. The Kinect is also a much more active experience as most games require your whole body to play. It's a great way to get a light workout in and while that may not appeal to some gamers I have to say I love that about the Kinect. The big problem though is that there are no big name games coming down the pipeline and developers have expressed worry that any big budget foray into the Kinect would be a disaster.
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Looking to the Future
I have to give it to the Move in this category, not only are there some impressive looking games up ahead but the control scheme has already proven versatile with the Wii. There's really no limit to what type of game could be created with the Move in mind and it can do just about everything a traditional controller can.
As much as I hate to say it MIcrosoft's Kinect is much more limited in this regard. Unfortunately I just don't see the Kinect ever having a truly killer app. The lack of a controller is part of what makes it so much fun, but at the same time how are you going to navigate a 3d game world or target opponents in a first person shooter with out being forced into an awkward control scheme? I certainly hope I'm proven wrong but I'm afraid that Kinect may be destined to a life of simple party games.
I do hold out hope though that the Kinect will be successful enough that Microsoft will just integrate it into the next iteration of Xbox. That would solve the problem of segmenting the gamer population with an add-on, which is one of the biggest problems facing both the Move and the Kinect and provide a unique selilng point for the next generation of consoles.
Winner: The Move
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When it comes right down to it though the Move just didn't wow me. Maybe I spent to much time with the Wii to be impressed by such a similar product or maybe the big name games just haven't hit yet but at the end of the day I just don't see myself picking up the Move controller that often. That may all change down the road though as I think the Move has the the potential to offer some really fun games and the one to one tracking works very well.
The Kinect is just awesome and it's fun to be able to navigate the dashboard with a wave of my hand. I'm sure the novelty will wear off in time but at the moment I'm loving the Kinect. If you're looking for something to entertain friends or family I'd have to recommend the Kinect. It's cheaper, easier to use and as far as party style games made for local multiplayer it's just more fun than the Move.
If you're looking for a deeper experience though I have to say the Move is you're best bet. It can be a pain to set up but the controller is precise and easy to use and on top of that plenty of real meaty games have already been announced. You just may want to hold off until those games hit the shelves though because at the moment the Move doesn't have much that you haven't seen before.