Have you heard the news? Games can be controlled with movement now. I know, shocking. Some even have these candy-bar-controllers that function a lot like foam swords, only far less cool and not quite as accurate. Hell, you can even dance in front of tiny cameras now, and as if by some form of really lame, entry-grade level Hogwarts magic performed by some clumsy first-year wizard, your actions will appear on-screen. Well, kind of.
You see, the real problem with motion or camera controlled gaming is that companies like Microsoft and Sony are determined to implement these features into everything they do, but completely ignore the fundamental issues with the core functionality of that hardware. Motion gaming has never worked as well as its controller based friend, and mostly just sleeps on the couch all day, even when company is over. It doesn’t ever wash the dishes, even though you asked it to help out around the house. Of course, it just leaves clothes all over the floor in the bathroom and you end up mixing the laundry, and… ahem. The point is, it doesn’t work quite as well as it should. But, that’s not really the point.
In the Sony versus Microsoft battle that every console generation inflates just enough to bother the obsessive observers, we’ve been given a seemingly simple choice. Kinect, or no Kinect, that is the partially accurate question that should be considered among other reasons when conducting console-purchase research — as taken from Hamlet. Sony, the more affordable and nearly identical console (hardware wise) doesn’t come equipped with the motion-joy-5000, and the Xbox One packs it in the box. It’s a small difference that may very well determine much of the demographic — or, at least on paper that is.
While it seems like a black-and-white issue, Sony has a colorful card up its sleeve. According to Sony’s president and group CEO Andy House, the PS Eye was indeed removed to lower the cost of the console package, but will in fact play a much larger role than expected by eager fans. The issue? Sony has downplayed the importance of its new hardware on multiple occasions, and has likely damaged future sales of their device by not establishing the 100% install base that Microsoft has already nabbed.
In a discussion with Business Spectator, Andy House informs us yet again that the Eye isn’t going to be as commonplace in the PS4’s future as the Kinect will be with the Xbox One.
“Certainly for the earlier part of the life-cycle, the vast majority of the audience that we speak to tells us that their primary wish is for the full controller interface and there’s not necessarily a huge emphasis being placed on camera interaction.”
This message wouldn’t be a negative one had the PS Eye been a toy included with select titles utilizing its features, but as a full-fledged hardware add-on, there’s a lot wrong with this marketing strategy.
It seems as if Sony was in a position of power, offering the players a choice Microsoft has long been deaf to. However, with the likelihood of their conversion and implementation of features slowly strengthening over time, it’s safe to say that Microsoft will not be in the wrong for long. Perhaps one of the many psychics working at Microsoft determined that such events would occur, and warned the dark leaders of the motion-gaming arrival on Sony consoles; perhaps that was the reason behind the Kinect 2, and all of its body-convulsing glory? I don’t know, but for the first time since its announcement, I’m glad that Microsoft decided to include the Kinect with the console — you know, so that I don’t have to make that decision later.