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, it’s 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. It’s the best system for playing in cramped quarters, such as a dorm room or kid’s bedroom.
The Move is more complicated because it also requires a camera to be installed near the TV, which won’t actually be used for most PS3 games. It requires a few feet of distance to use, but games only register the controller’s motion, not yours. The Kinect, once installed, is controller- and hassle-free, but it’s 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 Kinect’s 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 don’t 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.
It’s too early to tell on the Move and Kinect, but so far their games have been a little lackluster and unoriginal, although they’re far better produced and feature stronger graphics. A few winners have emerged for both platforms, but they’re 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 it’s plugged in, it never needs to be unplugged, even while playing non-Kinect Xbox 360 games. As to whether you’ll use it, that’s another matter entirely, and the camera’s not tiny, but it’s definitely the most compact peripheral–plus it can be used to control (some) movies and ESPN.
The Wii’s age and its abundance of plastic peripherals leave it designated as a gaming fad sooner than later. The Move’s not needed for most PlayStation games, and it, too, could end up being relegated to Dustyland if better Move games don’t show up. Plus, its two-part controller is bulkier than the Wii’s.
Setup and space requirements