Kinection Error: Don’t Move! Sony and Microsoft fall flat at E3

Despite impressive tech demos at last year’s E3, Microsoft’s recently re-branded “Kinect” and Sony’s Playstation Move controller felt more dated than the “underpowered” Nintendo console they are trying to out-motion. What do we mean by dated? Obviously this has nothing to do with graphical capability or processing power ”“ something on which both the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 have a marked advantage over the Wii ”“ but implementation. Playing Kinect and Move feel like playing the Wii 4 years ago.

Again, it’s not that the technology isn’t impressive ”“ on a technical level it can easily be argued that the Move controller is more capable than the Wii Remote and Wii Motion Plus dongle introduced last year ”“ but this technical capability hasn’t translated to game design. Take Sony’s offerings for example ”“ most of the demos available were just point, click, waggle, repeat. Although on Par with Wii games of the same style, it was an experience we’ve all had before ”“ and higher resolution graphics simply aren’t enough to improve upon that experience. Even more action orientated games fall flat, in the new Time Crisis for example, the on screen cursor feels as if it lags behind the player’s quickest movements. That’s not to say there aren’t some interesting titles coming out ”“ EyePet aims to offer a more directly interactive virtual pet experience then we’ve seen before, and Socom 4 and Resident Evil 5’s move controls are the motion dreams of the hardcore ”“ but again, they aren’t anything we haven’t seen on the Wii with Resident Evil 4.

And what of Microsoft’s foray into the controller free video game? Once again, the technology is impressive ”“ the motion controlled Xbox Dashboard interface could one day replace the TV remote control ”“ but it may not topple the Wii. As stated, the technology is impressive, but the implementation feels dated, we’ve bowled our hearts out on the Wii ”“ Kinect Sports Bowling brings little new to the table. Examiner’s Tanya Valdez reports that many of the standalone games on demo at the show felt like they should have been pack-in titles, and the ones that felt complete and able to stand on their own suffered some minor lag issues.  UberGizmo reports that Kinect may have someissues with pointing and aiming ”“ a mechanic important to many “core” games, and something neither of it’s competitors have an issue with.

In the end, it’s all about software and control ”“ and while there is still plenty of time for Sony, Microsoft, and interested third parties to step up their game, nothing shown at E3 this year really made waves in the world of motion control. Nintendo has four years of control implementation experience on them, and this year’s Legend of Zelda: The Skyward Sword demo shows it ”“ a full sized action title with excellent use of full motion control. Nintendo has also shown great success with first person shooter type games with good motion controller implementation, this year showcasing a Goldeneye 007 remake. Stacked against Nintendo’s history of motion, Sony and Microsoft just can’t compare, at least for now. Control is king, a little waggle and better graphics just aren’t enough.

Don’t want to take these criticisms lying down? That’s okay, we hear Kinect is “Optimized for Standing.”