In September, Sony released Playstation Move for their PS3 console, retailing at $99.99 for the starter package. Not to be outdone, Microsoft recently released their own movement capture system in November, the Kinect system, retailing at a $149.99. Perfect timing for the holiday season, but which is the better system?
Mention either of the consoles and fans from both sides are ready to go to war to defend their chosen system. While it normally easy to decide which of the systems are the better choice, this is not the case with either of these new products. The Playstation move uses an LED wand that is color coded and detected by an “eye” that tracks the unit’s movement. Sensors within the controller detect rotation and speed and translate on a 3-axis plane. Like its Nintendo cousin, the controller feels similar, and anyone using the Wii’s controller should have no problems adapting. This is where the similarities end.
Sony has updated the technology and vastly improved upon Nintendo’s technology. The controls are tighter and the wand is more comfortable than Nintendo’s controller. Unfortunately, using the wand for the first time is awkward, especially if the user grew up using the standard game controller. Rest assure however, after an initial configuration and “training” exercise on the demo, the seven year old tester was able to play a game of table tennis without any difficulty. Considering she has the grace of a bull in a China shop, this was impressive.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about Microsoft’s entry into this market. While a controller is not required, using this system was more awkward than the Move’s wand. Instead of using your wrists to move the cursor, the user has to physically move their hand and “touch” an invisible button on the screen. Unfortunately, the kid tester was bit too short to accurately synch with the system, and she was not able to hold her hands steady enough to “hit” the button. If this was not awkward enough, the system requires sufficient space, around six feet, to work properly. This is not to say that after some playtime, the Kinect will not be fun.
Far from it – the demos featured were just as fun as the Move system, and since the user is the controller, there is not the annoyance of replacing batteries that die at the worst times. In addition, while cheaper, the basic package for the Move only comes with a single controller. A second controller retails at $49.99, putting the system on par with Kinect’s higher price. Benefits of the Move are lower space requirements, accessories for the wand, and more mature selection of games.
As with any purchase, it is highly recommended to test the demos of both systems, available at area Best Buy centers.