November 22, 2010 - This holiday season gamers and non-gamers alike will be beset with a major choice in the motion gaming market: Kinect or Move? Both are quality gaming systems that add fun new technology to their parent console, but not everybody is going to have the cash flow necessary to pick up both. So, we're breaking it down to see which is worth the money to the cash strapped gamer.
Both the PlayStation Move and Kinect include fabulous hardware that open up amazing new gameplay possibilities across several different genres. But which is the more impressive? Which is the more innovative? And most importantly, which gives you more bang for your buck?
Kinect retails for $150 and includes both the camera and Kinect Adventures as a bundle game. The PS Move bundle retails at a lower price of $100 and includes the camera, controller, and Sports Adventures as a free pack-in game. As a bonus, PS3 owners that own the (previously useless) PlayStation Eye camera already have half the system set up. So their entry cost will be $50 cheaper since they can just buy the controller.
With Move, some consumers will be able to start playing motion games dirt-cheap, and even people without an Eye camera are still getting a better deal and a far better pack-in game. Sports Adventures is much more fun than Kinect Adventures.
Kinect does have the edge in innovation though. Controller-less gaming hasn't ever been done before, whereas PS Move is essentially just a much more accurate and usable Nintendo Wii. Furthermore, Kinect has already shown that it has the technology to advance new genres that Move and Wii cannot.
The Edge: Kinect - The price difference is fairly small (especially when considering this is a multi-year investment), and we already know the types of games Move can do. Kinect should be able to explore interesting new territory.
Both systems have a few quality experiences, but by-and-large most games for both systems have been fairly mediocre. There's not much of an advantage either way there. However, each system has one quality game that stands out from the field.
For Kinect that game is Dance Central, and for Move it's Sports Champions. It's impossible to say which of these is "better" since it depends what type of gamer you are. Families and rhythm fans will enjoy Dance Central and Kinect more, while sports fans will be partial to Move's Sports Champions. It's a toss-up, but in this case, the advantage goes to Kinect's Dance Central since Sports Champions does very little to break new ground.
Move's early schedule included decent light gun shooters like The Shoot and Time Crisis: Razing Storm, while Kinect had the advantage in sheer numbers. Fifteen games were released at launch. The difference is that Kinect has very little to appeal to the core gamer.
The x-factor in this case is Move's ability for older games to support motion control. Quality games like Resident Evil 5 Gold Edition and MAG can be patched and used with the Move controller, adding new functionality and play experiences. So far, Kinect isn't able to do this.
The Edge: PlayStation Move - Kinect has some good games, but so far it can't compete with Move's limited backward compatibility. Dance Central alone can't carry this package; it needs more quality games.
Games and hardware are two very easy things to quantify. If you're a hardcore gamer, Move is catering to your needs, but if you're an active gamer, then Kinect is the best horse to bet on. However, each system has some important factors that can't be summed up as easily. They'll depend on each gamer's own personal situation and tastes.
The most highly publicized is Kinect's huge space requirements. You'll need at least six feet of space in front of your TV, and it's advisable to have around seven to nine feet. This doesn't sound like much, but realistically, most people don't have a gaping void in front of their TV. Furthermore, many Kinect games require you to jump repeatedly. This is a big problem for apartment dwellers since it makes playing at night impossible. Both of these two could potentially entirely restrict apartment renters from partaking in Kinect.
Move has its own set of issues. The motion controller seems almost antiquated compared to some of the feats of Kinect. The experiences you'll have with Move are similar to what's already available on Wii. In one way, this is good since Move is likely to see some ports of Wii games and multiplatform games, but it's also, well, kind-of boring. We've seen most of what Move is capable of, and while it can produce much higher quality experiences than Wii, it's all just too familiar. Developers have been experimenting with Wii for four years, and by now we know the limits of what controller-based motion gaming can offer.
The Edge: PlayStation Move - This was a tough choice, but ultimately we decided to go with the system that doesn't cut out any potential gamers. Inevitably, some people will buy Kinect only to find they can't actually play it, or can barely use it, and that rubs us the wrong way a bit more than some stale games.
The Final Verdict
Buy Kinect if you're an active gamer looking to shed some pounds with fun dancing and workout games. Families will also get more use out of this since there's no need to purchase expensive extra controllers that Move requires for multiplayer. Just make sure you've got enough space to actually use it; otherwise, stay far away.
Buy Move if you're a hardcore gamer or you prefer solo gaming. Move's added support for older PS3 games makes it a compelling choice by bringing new value to old games. We're also excited to see how developers can leverage the controller to make great sports games.
CCC Freelance Writer