PlayStation Move & Xbox Kinect – Don’t buy the hype

Phew! Dropped a deuce this time!

Hello all, my name is Boss Bronze; I am known as and by many things. The one thing I am truly proud of however is that I’m the one, true, Omnigamer (or Gaming Guru in some circles); that means in the world of video games the buck stops with me. I’ve grown up with video games (and other technologies) since the Atari 2600 (and the IBM PC Jr); I’ve played, rated, traded, advised, researched, and put into business cards (in middle school no less) gaming before ‘the game’ had a name. I say this not to stroke my own ego (insert your joke here) but to say I’ve seen a lot of shovelware peripherals come and go through a systems’ lifetime. I thought for sure I’ve seen the current consoles poor showings as well, but when I heard about both Sony and Microsoft going into motion controls for their product I knew I was wrong. Now the Playstation ‘Move’ and the Xbox ‘Kinect’ are out and about for the Christmas season this year – people I implore you do not buy this (or rather these). Now, now, I know what you all are either thinking or saying right now:

“Why not buy them? I love <obligatory console>.”

Or

“The Wii is for kids and their games look horrible unlike <obligatory console>.”

Or even

“You’re a Nintendo fan boy who doesn’t like <obligatory console> stealing the Wii’s thunder!”

Well even if those statements are true (the 3rd one especially) it doesn’t negate the fact the <obligatory consoles> were never intended (or built) for motion controls and all they really are is Sony and Microsoft’s attempt to milk the same cash cow Nintendo dairy farmed for the past four years. At this point in time I can not see any way the <obligatory consoles> can improve what the Wii has already done (outside the visual). Just look at the Move for a second; the control interface is… Similar to the Wii. Eerily similar. So similar in fact that one could dare say it’s an unimaginative direct rip off – and they would be right. Sure they (and you know who you are) would tell you a whole technical book of $50 words on how the technology works with their eye camera, gyroscopes, accelerometers, and the ridiculous mutli-colored sphere on the main remote. They also would say that the games are at a higher caliber and for a more mature audience, but at the end of the day –

This

 

 

 

Is this  with games so mirrored aftered the Wii, you can almost smell the Xerox off their launch titles. For example…

 

 

 

 

This

 

 

 

 

Is this, with a face-lift

 

 

 

 

 

This

 

 

 

 

Is this, without the fun or whimsy

 

 

 

 

 

This

 

 

 

 

Is this, if it was called ‘Eyepet’ and featured a mutant furry instead of a real animal.

 

 

 

And so on, and so forth…

The only real innovate thing about the Move is that their controllers are powered by an integrated lithium-ion battery pack, recharged via mini USB cable (the same is true for their normal controllers as well). However the problem with anything integrated is that if that part is shot, the product is done (see iPod). Wii and Xbox controllers don’t have that problem when it comes to power supply, if they go I’m only down $3-12, for Move I would have to shell out $35-80.

_

The Move tried to play it safe and ultimately became a clone, but what of the Kinect? Well to its credit it is unique; using its device to “scan” in players of different size and shapes is interesting. Also the ‘instance drop in-drop out’ of a 2nd player makes casual gaming dynamic for the Kinect… However:

As you can see – the very first thing wrong with the Kinect is direct injuries to yourself and others by playing co-op/vs games. Sure, yes, there are examples of property damage due to people not having a good grip on a Wiimote (or not using the strap); but I’ve never heard of one flying off and hitting little jimmy in the pie hole. Which brings me to my next gripe, Kinect is a space hog. Seriously, my gaming area is small, I don’t live in a loft people; now my Wii plays fine in the Tetris-like enclosure I call the Armada nerve center but with the Kinect no such luck. If I lost my mind and bought this thing I wouldn’t be able to make a move without banging into the following:

  • Chair(s)
  • Desk(s)
  • Drawers
  • Other consoles
  • TV
  • Cabinets
  • Baskets
  • Desk lamp
  • Door
  • Etc.

It won’t happen all at once granted, but sooner or later something would have gotten hurt, broken, or both… Adding a second player in that room would be an instance fail, so yes big room fine, small room not so much.

_

Here’s another issue: according to consumer reports and gamespot.com the Kinect camera does have some difficultly reading players in low-light situations. To be fair the Wii controls aren’t always perfect, some functions don’t respond well in certain games. Cameras & motion controls don’t always mix very well as well. That being said since the Kinect has no controllers to support the system the camera should be near flawless – no matter the lighting in the environment. I’ll say something else too, when playing a game on whatever system I like the lights on low or completely off. Not only does right lighting fit the mood of the game, it also cuts down on TV glare, which all gamers know (or should know) makes the games easier to see on the screen. I don’t need some uppity $150 piece of tech not working just because it’s having a hard time seeing me in the dark!

Ok so we covered injuries to yourself and others and (what a surprise) a Microsoft product not working as it should. What’s left you ask, how about the powers that be using the Kinect as a tool for advertisers. The good people at tgdaily.com wrote an article on how this is being done, here’s an excerpt:

“Did you know thanks to the Kinect motion camera, Microsoft can now see how you play your Xbox 360 games? And it wants to send this information to marketers.

Not only can players see content that advertisers display, but advertisers can see who is seeing their advertisements. As Microsoft puts it, advertisers would be able to see physical characteristics of who is behind the Kinect camera, how many people there are, and how much they’re moving around.”

Basically you, your image, and how you play can be used by ad men and women to propel the next line of junk to your eyeballs that you simply ‘must’ buy. Are you an overweight fellow who prefers ‘Kinect Adventures’ sitting down, expect a couple of coupon books for pizza hut heading your way. What about a fitness guru who can do the steps of ‘Your Shape Fitness Evolved’ blindfolded, well one could never have enough Bowflexes right? Enjoy Sonic Free Riders; you might also love some New Jersey swap land. See where I going here?  Microsoft does, and they whole heartily support this if any advertising agencies want in.

I’ll say this once; I play video games to have fun, not to buy crap (or crappy DLC games). If I want to see commercials I’ll turn on a TV and see what’s on, or go to the movies, or go online, or use my cell phone…

_

All of this, all of it can be (for a lack of a better term) ignored – they’re annoying but doesn’t cripple the Kinect.

What does is nothing.

The very gall of the genius who came up with the idea of having the player use nothing but themselves to make progress in a game is asinine. Not to mention a very old idea, I remember using an old web camera nine years ago to play a simple game of basketball (the game was part of the camera’s software). Sure it was fun using my hands and head to knock the balls in the baskets, but I got bored very quickly with that simple, simple game. The Kinect is no different from that old web camera years ago, and its games are just as simple. I played Kinect Adventures, Kinect Sports, and demo boxing game; I swear to you my audience if I didn’t get high scores just by flailing around, then it was giving me static on the simplest things like placing the ball down, putting up your guard in fights, timing errors, not standing the right area, etc.

Without any kind of controller as an indicator on where, what and how; all you’ll be doing is looking stupid – and getting tired of (and from) it.

Where does Microsoft plan to go from here with their ‘no controller’ approach? Their best, most popular games are heavy based on their current form of controls. There is no way the Kinect style of play can handle those meaty titles unless you turn the next Halo game into a rail shooter or the next Fable into a choose your own adventure e-book.

*sigh*

This all may sound like the ravings of a mad, Omnigamer, but I speak the truth on a matter more mine than anyone’s. The reasons I gave are why both the Move and the Kinect are not only bad ideas to buy for the Christmas season, but will simply fail in the months to come. Xbox 360 dominates by their games, while the PS3 their hardware, if they try to fight to Nintendo at their own game not only will they lose, but lose big – after all Nintendo biggest powerhouse ain’t coming from the Wii next year…

The Nintendo 3DS is only a few short months away

 

 

Well I’ve said my piece and I thank you all for indulging me, this is Boss Bronze saying good night and pleasant grinding on Cata, I wish I was there.

This just in (or not) – The Playstation Move and the new, old school DK master

People we knew it was going to happen. It began at 2009’s E3, where both Microsoft and Sony both reveled their Wii-killers software for their respective systems. Quite frankly they were as impressive as yesterday’s hardware (a goofy pointer and a web camera, really?) could be. Well a couple days ago at a Conference Sony provided not only a name their cute little copycat tool (The Playstation Move), but some details on how it works (with the Playstation 3 Camera, if you have one that is, and various internal gyroscopes into the wand itself). I got to tell you people this isn’t a wise move on Sony part at all, least Microsoft trying to be original in the motion control market. This move (pun totally intended) will not make the PS3 more available to everyone; nor will it make the PS3 a ‘next step for Wii users who are looking to move on to a high-def experience’. All this will do is two things:

1. Create a massive wave of shovel ware games that currently effect the Wii.
2. Be a generally ignored peripheral because of no support (a la Eye of Judgment)

Plus it is a text book rip-off of the Wii remote, which I think is the most annoying about the move. It’s like watching the Price is Right where one contestant puts a bid and then another contestant puts the same bid only one number higher. Sorry Sony, I’m glad you’re doing better with your games now and show more confidence in trying to take the Wii down but I’m not buying the move (both figuratively and realistically).

Anyway on a lighter note move out the way Steve Wiebe and Billy Mitchell the new King of Kong is a Plastic surgeon by the name of Hank Chien. He beat the old global high score by over 10,000 points. Not an easy thing I assure you, I got frustrated and/or bored after the first few stages. So if anyone sees this new-New York legend, shake his hand and thank him for keeping the old school 8-bit passions alive.