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Playstation Move vs Microsoft Kinect: The Future of Motion Control

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Posted October 15, 2010 - By Dana Leahy





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Playstation Move vs Microsoft Kinect: The Future of Motion Control

Wave your hands frantically in the air if you’re excited for motion controls on HD consoles! In an effort to go toe-to-toe with Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft have decided to release their own version of immersive controls. For Sony, it’s the PlayStation Move: a decidedly Wii-esque controller and camera that tracks your movements one-to-one. Meanwhile on November 4th, Microsoft is set to unleash Kinect: a 3D camera that scans your body and follows your every move without the need for anything in your hands.

While we can’t say which one will reign supreme yet, we can use our virtual crystal ball (the Move works well as a substitute) to look into the future. Join us as we discuss some of the upcoming titles that make us excited for the possibilities that both systems have to offer. Bring your hands!

Playstation Move vs Microsoft Kinect: The Future of Motion Control

PlayStation Move

It may seem like the PlayStation Move, which effectively one-ups the Wii without bringing a tangible sense of next-gen innovation to the table, is uninspired. While that might be true, the Move is practical and technologically sound. That may not sound like a selling point, but in an industry swimming with tech that doesn’t always work like it’s supposed to, it’s actually saying a lot.

Move has been out in the wild since the middle of September, and we’ve had a chance to get our hands on it and test all of the launch titles. What we’ve seen so far from the Move has been a lot of sports games (Tiger Woods, Sports Champions), some casual titles (Tumble, Kung Fu Rider, Start the Party), and interesting integration (Heavy Rain).
While we were not bowled over by a lot of what we saw, the peripheral does have a lot of promise.

So what, exactly, is the Move capable of delivering? Hopefully, it’ll be a classic Sony gaming experience, one that will appeal to the hardcore crowd. Only time will tell, but here are some of the games we’re looking forward to playing along the way.

echochrome ii
Release Date: TBA Q4 2010

If you’ve ever wanted to play your way through an Escher sketch, echochrome ii is for you. This version of the 3D puzzle platformer has been built exclusively for use with the PlayStation Move and features brain-bending puzzles for you to solve. The focus of the game is shadow play and you use the Move controller as a flashlight. Solving the puzzles involves pointing the flashlight at the right angle in order to show your little man the correct path. It’s a fascinating concept and the game’s aesthetic will be instantly appealing to those who like a good, artsy test of problem solving skills.

Echochrome II Comic-Con 2010 Hands-On Preview

Heroes on the Move
Release Date: April 30, 2011

Heroes on the Move…get it?! Anyway, this title designed to work exclusively with Move brings together a who’s who of gaming adventure heroes including Ratchet, Clank, Jak, Daxter, Sly and Bentley. The gameplay uses different motion control friendly mechanics like smashing, hurling, and shooting as your battle your way through throngs of baddies. While it might skew a little young, the idea of Heroes on the Move appeals to the action game fan in all of us and after a particularly bad day, it might be fun to wail away on some evildoers.

E3 2010: Heroes on the Move »




SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs
Release Date: TBA Q1 2011

At this year’s E3, Sony showed off the hardcore future of the move with SOCOM 4. In it, you play a badass squad leader, leading the rest of the SEALs into battle in Southeast Asia. Sure, it’s your standard military shooter fare, but Move might add the immersive dimension we’ve all been waiting for. While you might not look hardcore using the wand with a glowing ball on the top, the motion controls are sure to up the ante on difficulty, which will either be a welcome challenge, or drive you straight back to your Sixaxis.

Hands On With SOCOM 4 and PlayStation Move »




Sorcery
Release Date: TBA Q2 2011

Finally, a game that lets you use the Move for something that makes perfect sense. Without trying to shove it in somewhere it doesn’t necessarily belong, Sorcery allows you to play as a wizard with a magic wand. This isn’t wimpy s@%t, though. You’ll use your wand to hurl magic missiles and do other awesome wizard stuff. Out of all the upcoming PlayStation Move titles, Sorcery excites us the most. It might seem a little on the head to use the Move as a wand, but why fight it? Being a wizard sounds good to us.

E3 2010 Sony Press Conference: Sorcery Demo »




Honorable Mentions: There are a lot of games coming out with the option to play with the Move, but we wanted to focus on those games that were built for the peripheral, or at least the emphasis was playing the game with the Move. That said, huge upcoming titles like Killzone 3, inFamous 2, LittleBigPlanet 2 and Tron: Evolution will have Move support. It’s still unclear, however, whether gamers will actually choose to try these titles with the Move or stick with the good ol’ Sixaxis to get their fix.

Playstation Move vs Microsoft Kinect: The Future of Motion Control

Kinect

A device capable of reading your body movements and translating them directly into the gameworld should conceivably feel like an industry-changing event, and yet only three weeks before launch, the most visible titles for the peripheral are Dance Central, Your Shape: Fitness Evolved and Kinectimals. The promise of physically participating in the visceral experience of a shooter or action title – something already displayed on the Move – seems months, if not years, away on the Kinect.

So who exactly is the target audience here? What’s the experience for casual gamers vs. hardcore? And why does the system still appeal to those of us who know to expect so little from it?

Almost immediately, the scant marketing for Kinect would have children and families believe that this is the perfect addition to the living room, pulling casual gamers into the console with a variety of basic sports titles. So, if your goal is to indulge in virtual dodge ball, tennis, football, soccer, bowling, dancing, and yoga, then certainly the Kinect has a number of titles ready to transform your living into the equivalent of your own back yard. Which is right there, by the way. You know, in the back of your house. Dancing too, is generally free; however, despite all of this, there’s no denying that there’s much fun to be had for casual gamers on the Kinect, and the system might very well pull families into the living room together in a way that simpler efforts have failed.

However, hardcore gamers are likely to have some trouble finding a decent entry point for Kinect. To date, there have been virtually no – zero, count ‘em, zip – titles announced that would likely appeal to the hardcore gamer. Dance Central is, perhaps, aiming to become the full-body equivalent of Rock Band and Fighters Uncaged is presenting a decent enough brawler simulation, but the promise of a Gears-like adventure lobbing grenades, running for cover, and shooting wildly at the oncoming hordes is really nowhere to be seen. At the moment, the dedicated gamer is likely to be more interested in the voice-commands, on-screen chatting, and hand-swipe menu navigation to manufacture their own Minority Report experience.

Yet, for all the absence of a fully featured, truly next-gen game, our interest is still piqued by the possibilities of the peripheral. Kinect may be a device with immediate and lasting appeal to the casual crowd, but with enough time, testing, and developer support, there’s no reason that hardcore gamers can’t become more fully immersed and physically involved with their games via the Kinect; however, for the moment, it’s difficult not to look at the system with a mixed cocktail of hesitation and hope.

With that in mind, here are a few of the titles heading for Kinect that are most likely worth your time during launch:

Kinect Adventures & Kinect Sports
Release Date: November 4, 2010

Perhaps the most casual of the titles releasing for the system, this assemblage of family style, Wii-type games is a safe, family friendly bet for moms and dads looking to join their kids in an active, fun and age-appropriate experience. Cartoonish characters and vivid environments set the stage of a handful of games that’ll likely attract new gamers and curious parents.

E3 2010 Microsoft Press Conference: Kinect Sports »




MotionSports: Play for Real
Release Date: November 4, 2010

For those looking for a slightly more grounded, less kidified athletic title, MotionSports offers a realistic variety of popular sports including football, boxing, skiing and soccer. We’ve seen this one in action and while the games have definitely been simplified for the Kinect – for example, you don’t play a full game of football so much as individual mini-games such as evading tackles and throwing passes – this’ll probably be the game that the adults reach for when the generic adventures skew a bit too young.

Playstation Move vs Microsoft Kinect: The Future of Motion Control

Fighters Uncaged
Release Date: November 4, 2010

If you’ve ever felt like joining a Fight Club but simply couldn’t find a violent, underground society in your area, Fighters Uncage let’s players punch and kick their way to victory against a virtual opponent or on-screen friend. The combat was fairly slow in the version we saw, and certain moves were made easier for the less agile among us. For instance, executing a roundhouse kick merely requires that you step back, placing one foot behind the other. So while the game doesn’t require you to become either a bad-ass or a ninja to succeed, it’s a fairly responsive, if simple, brawler for adults.

Fighters Uncaged "Combatants" Trailer »




Your Shape: Fitness Evolved
Release Date: November 4, 2010

Probably the best looking of the exercise titles, Your Shape should help all the paunchy Kinect fans of the world to drop a few pounds while working out their frustrations on digital, orange blocks. From what we’ve seen, the camera has proven incredibly capable of adjusting your work-out experience based upon your ongoing performance. Sure, you might not be slaying the Locust Horde, but consider it training for the future alien invasion.

E3 2010 Microsoft Press Conference: Your Shape »




Child of Eden
Release Date: TBA March 2011

Certainly the trippiest Kinect game we’ve seen to date, Child of Eden will also be available in regular console versions, as well. But if you like battling geometric shapes to raving techno music using only your fists, then this might just be a game for the hardest core among us.

Child of Eden All Access Preview »




Dance Central
Release Date: November 4, 2010

Finally, Dance Central is probably the one game people seem most excited about. Follow the moves on-screen and attempt to perform today's coolest dance moves on your journey to become the best dancer…in your home. WIth no awkward floor pad needed (like Dance Dance Revolution), Dance Central has no barrier to entry beyond owning Kinect, which makes it much more accessible and appealing to non-gamers. While men and women both are looking foward to busting a move, this is going to be the game that sells a 360 to your girlfriend, sister, and that chick you once talked to in line at the coffee shop. Mark it down in the book of prognostications: Dance Central is going to be a system seller whether you like it or not.

Dance Central for Kinect Hands-On Demo »




Honorable Mention: Post launch, however, there are a few titles currently in development that seem prepared to thrill the hardcore crowd. Rise of the Nightmare is being developed by Sega as a surreal horror experience for the Silent Hill crowd, although virtually nothing about the title has been revealed beyond the initial title treatment. Codename D is being developed by Suda 51 in which players must battle their way through an abandoned amusement park filled with bizarre, mutated creatures. Lastly, Project Draco is currently in the pipeline from the producer of Panzer Dragoon. The game sounds essentially like Panzer Dragoon 2 and allows gamers to nurture and train their dragon before taking it into battle against friends and enemies online. 

Additional Reporting by Chris Monfette

For more Future of... Content, check out: Shooters | Action/Adventure | Platformers | Fighters | RPGs | Strategy

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