Microsoft Kinect (formerly Project Natal) and Motion Gaming

I remember seeing Nintendo’s Wii-mote for the first time a few years ago (whenever it came out) and thinking that this motion thing would never catch on and was just a gimmick. Obviously I couldn’t have been more wrong in the fact that it wouldn’t catch on considering that the Wii is the best selling system on the market right now, but I still stand by my statement that it’s just a gimmick. I understand that not all “gamers” these days are hardcore gamers like I would consider myself, actually most of them are younger kids and more casual gamers, so I can see why this new era of motion sensing games appeals to them… I guess. There are no complex button layouts or complicated button combos, just simple movements that you would do in real life if you were trying to do the same thing. For example Wii Sports, there’s no holding button A then pressing the right trigger or what not to swing a golf club like Tiger Woods, you simple bend over and swing the golf club like you would if you were outside playing golf. Since it’s so easy to pick up and play it’s obvious that it would appeal to the casual gamer, but will the “hardcore” gamers venture away from their controllers/keyboards/mice?

I can tell you right now that I will not be picking up the Microsoft Kinect unless the price point is under $100 and there is some game that blows my mind… and I don’t see either of those things happening. The only reason I have a Wii is because my girlfriend doesn’t like playing Xbox or any games using the standard controller, so it was a way for us to do something together that we both enjoyed and were decent at. Eventually my Wii died and I just haven’t cared to get it fixed. After about 6 months it lost its appeal anyways and collected dust, and from people I’ve talked to, this is the scenario with a lot of Wii’s. The games just aren’t that “good”, there’s only a handful of fun games that you can play by yourself and in order for the rest of the games to be fun you need to have a group of people over. So ok, if you throw parties all the time and the Wii is the life of the party then I could see the need for one, but when it’s just me sitting around my apartment and I want to play a game I’m not reaching for Wario Ware… and this is what’s going to happen with Microsoft’s Kinect and eventually Playstation Move (or whatever it’s called).

Both companies are trying to bite off a piece of Nintendo’s marketshare by incorporating motion sensing gaming into their existing systems. Sony has taken a more direct route and simply copied Nintendo’s Wii-mote however it seems they’ve improved on a few things and Microsoft has gone a different route and kind of copied Playstation’s EyeToy while also making some improvements, but I don’t think that either one is going to be as successful as Nintendo. Nintendo is known for being a younger system, meaning that they cater to a younger and more casual crowd than Sony and Microsoft, so the motion sensing gaming worked perfectly for them. Most “hardcore” gamers on Xbox 360 or PS3 are not looking to flail around ridiculously in order to play Modern Warfare 2 or Socom. I know, Modern Warfare 2 has no plans of coming to Kinect or Move, but the next Socom does and as much as Sony wants people to believe it will be just like aiming down a gun and shooting, I think it’s going to be more annoying than anything. I’ve played the Call of Duty games on the Wii and the control scheme is terrible for me, so I’m not sure that Socom can redeem the experience I had with a first person shooter and motion sensing gaming.

I only bring this up because Microsoft had a big event last night for the Kinect and it sounds like a lot of people were underwhelmed by what they saw, or maybe just by the event in general. I don’t think this technology will ever replace the keyboard/mouse or controller as an input device for “hardcore” gamers, but I’m sure some more casual gamers may pick it up or even just those that tend to have lots of parties… I still don’t think the add-ons for the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3 are going to do nearly as well as the Wii only because those people looking for a casual game system aren’t going to be buying those systems.

So what do you think of all this motion sensing gaming coming out? Will you be picking up the Kinect or Move?