Xbox 360 Kinect, PS3 Move and Nintendo Wii all offer motion-control gaming but which one is the most fun? With Microsoft's highly anticipated Kinect finally in stores, all 3 major current-generation gaming consoles now offer some form of motion control. The Xbox 360's got Kinect, the PS3 has the PlayStation Move, and the Wii has, well, the Wii controllers. So let's take a look at what makes these systems different, where each one wins, and where each one loses.
Microsoft Kinect for Xbox 360
The system: Thanks to a sophisticated depth-sensing camera (actually a single color camera for image recognition, and two monochrome cameras placed a few inches apart to determine where you are in a three-dimensional space), Kinect can track your movements without a physical controller. All of the heavy lifting is handled by the Kinect sensor and the console, and you can navigate menus and play games without laying a finger on a piece of plastic. A microphone array adds voice recognition to the mix, letting users control the system using voice commands or hand-waves. Because the system is camera-only, it needs a lot of space; Microsoft recommends 6 to 8 feet between the Kinect sensor and the user.
Kinect itself costs $150, and includes a copy of the game, Kinect Adventures. If you don't have an Xbox 360, you can pick up a Kinect Bundle which includes a 4GB Xbox 360, for $299. It's $50 less than Kinect and the 4GB Xbox 360, but if you want storage space, you might want to spring for Kinect and the 250GB Xbox 360for $399. Either way, you only need Kinect itself for motion-controlled multiplayer games; unlike PlayStation Move and the Nintendo Wii, Kinect doesn't require additional controllers for additional players.
Currently, 17 Kinect games are available, including titles like sports mini-game compilation MotionSports,dance game Dance Centraland painfully cute virtual pet game Kinectimals.
Totally hands-free. One Kinect accommodates multiple players. Voice control is very cool and works well.
Requires a lot of space. Slightly more lag whan than Playstation Move.
If you have the room for it, Kinect offers both multiplayer motion gaming and voice-controlled menu navigation right out of the box. If your Xbox 360 is wedged into the corner of a cramped studio apartment, though, you'll probably have some problems playing.
Sony PlayStation Move
The system: The PlayStation Move combines a video camera with a physical controller packed with motion-sensing electronics, making it the technological cross between Kinect and the Nintendo Wii. The Move Motion Controller, or "wand," combines a gyroscope, accelerometer, and magnetic sensor (a sort of digital "compass" that uses the Earth's magnetic field to determine the controller's orientation) to track the controller in three dimensions, while the glowing ball at the end gives the PlayStation Eye camera a visual reference for handling aiming, cursor movement, and other motion. Like Kinect, PlayStation Move requires room to function; Sony recommends 5 to 9 feet between the player and the Playstation Eye, but you can play anywhere from 2 to 10 feet of the camera.
If you already have a Playstation 3, the Playstation Move Sports Champions Bundlegives you the PlayStation Eye, a Move Motion Controller, and a copy of Sports Champions for $99. If you want to go all-in with a new console, the $399 PlayStation 3 with PS Move bundleincludes everything in the Sports Champions Bundle, plus a 320GB PS3 system. Piecemeal, the PlayStation Eye costs $32, each PlayStation Move Controller is $75, and each optional PlayStation Move Navigation Controllerruns $30. For multiplayer games, you'll need at least one extra Move Motion Controller on top of the one included in the bundle.
Besides the bundled Sports Champions, a Wii Sports-like mini-game compilation, several Move-exclusive games are currently available, including virtual pet game EyePet and quirky pseudo-skating game Kung Fu Rider. Besides Move-specific games, several currently available and upcoming PS3 titles support Move control schemes, including Resident Evil 5, Heavy Rain, and LittleBigPlanet 2.
Least expensive entry bundle. Very accurate motion tracking.
Requires a wand, sometimes two, depending on the game, for each player.
PS3 Move Verdict
Sony's motion gaming system isn't quite as accessible as Kinect, where players can just jump in and out of games without any calibration, but it tracks motion better than the Wii, and supports a broader range of games.
The system: For the Wii, all the motion-control magic is in the remote. An accelerometer tracks movement, while an IR sensor monitors the positioning of lights emitted by the sensor bar. Its motion-sensing abilities weren't so great at first; initially, your movements with the Wiimote were reflected only approximately in games with gestures and broad motions. The addition of Wii MotionPlus, an accessory that gives the Wiimote a gyroscope sensor to complement the accelerometer, improves the motion detection greatly. Nintendo recently began to sell the Wii Remote Plus, a Wiimote with built-in MotionPlus sensors, removing the need for a separate accessory. The Wii's biggest weakness (wiikness?) is its graphics; unlike the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, the Wii doesn't display high-definition content.
Unlike Kinect and PlayStation Move, the Wii's motion control system is integral to the console itself. If you have the console, you already have the motion control. Starting from scratch, the Wii is easily the least expensive of the three set-ups, costing just $199 for everything you need. The default Wii bundleincludes the system, a Wii remote, a Wii nunchuck, the Wii MotionPlus accessory, and copies of Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort. Nintendo also offers a limited edition bundle for the same price, celebrating the 25th anniversary of Super Mario Bros. with a red Wii, a red Wiimote with integrated MotionPlus, and copies of Wii Sports and New Super Mario Bros. Wii. If you already have the system, you can pick up additional Wiimotes with integrated MotionPlus for $40 each, and Nunchuck accessories for $20 each.
While Kinect and PlayStation Move are both very new, the Wii has been around since 2006, and it has developed a very large library in that time. Some of the more notable games that take advantage of the Wii's motion-sensing abilities include Mario Kart Wii, Rayman Raving Rabbids, Boom Blox, Red Steel 2, and many others.
Inexpensive. Huge game library.
The least accurate motion sensing of the three systems. Not high-def.
The Wii's been around the longest, and while both Kinect and PlayStation Move are more technically impressive with their advanced motion sensing and graphics, the Wii has the biggest library of motion-sensing games.