‘Xbox on!’

Published: November 16, 2010
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Motion based gaming consoles are the stuff of the future

The gaming market just got a lot more competitive (and physically exerting). Kinect for Xbox 360 was released last week which means all leading videogame consoles now have motion based gaming support. Sony launched the PlayStation Move last month while Nintendo’s Wii has had the feature since 2006. A Kinect can be bought for abot Rs20,000 in the local market while a PS Move controller with its sensor costs half that.

What is cool about Kinect

Kinect is a completely new take on motion-based input as it requires no physical controllers to control a game. As Microsoft’s tagline goes, “you are the controller”.

Kinect is often compared to the computers in the movie Minority Report for its futuristic take on user interface navigation. You can walk in to your living room, for example, and Kinect can sign into your profile by detecting you. Or you can say “Xbox” followed by an instruction to control all elements of the user interface, such as “Xbox: Pause” to stop a movie or music from playing.

The games, on the other hand, have got mediocre reviews, with one title ‘Dance Central’ standing above the rest. More interesting games were announced at the Tokyo Game Show, but they are scheduled to release next year.

Why the competition is tough

When the Wii launched, it caught Sony and Microsoft by surprise. The Wii signaled a reverse in the fortunes of Nintendo who had not had a hit console in the previous two generations, with the Gamecube and the Nintendo64. Sony and Microsoft are only now starting to compete in this new market. While the Move is more accurate, Nintendo also released an add-on for the Wiimote (Wii’s controller) recently, the Wii Motion Plus. But the Wii does not support high-definition, nor is it half as powerful as the other two consoles. Nintendo is selling fewer consoles and games while its competitors are selling more of both.

Which motion-based gaming setup is for you?

The original Wii controller was a novel experience for the time but it was not accepted by ‘core gamers’.

The Wiimote proved to be a hit with people who had never picked up a game controller before. And while Nintendo can be credited for bringing new people into gaming, the Wii never sold a lot of games and only a few games ever came out that utilized motion-controls properly. Most games just use the same ‘waggle’ motion and rehashed motions from Wii Sports such as swinging a golf club, tennis racquet or bowling ball.

I think that the PS3 has more interesting games for ‘core’ audiences, just take a look at the tech demos to see what the Move is capable of.

What competition means for gamers

More competition in the industry is good news for gamers as we can look forward to new experiences and more games in the coming months that make use of the unique new features of the motion controllers.

Happy gaming!

Hassan.asif

Hassan Asif

A sub-editor on the web-desk of The Express Tribune

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.