SCEE boss Andrew House is far from convinced of the Microsoft Kinect’s versatility, the camera only gaming device that will be filling many stockings come this Christmas. In an interview with UK based industry site MCV, House said that when utilizing a camera only gaming device, “you do tend to hit a bit of a wall” with regards to viable gameplay content, and that PlayStation’s Move can have an impact across a wider range of games and genres.
House was speaking because of recent criticism surrounding Sony’s marketing drive for Move, and the fact that Microsoft has clearly invested significantly more in the marketing for Kinect. The Sony Europe boss believes Move will be the motion accessory of choice in the long term, saying that Move can contribute to a wider range of games, whilst the competition, being Kinect, will suffer because it has been based around family gaming:
“We learnt from that experience that there are limitations around a camera-only solution. It does work well and lend itself to certain genres, but you do tend to hit a bit of a wall when trying to support it with the broadest range of content available. That’s not the sort of problem we have with Move.”
“Consumers have understood Move is something that could impact a wide range of games. This is opposed to what I think may dog the competition to a degree, which is basing it solidly around just a family experience — and one that is harder to adapt into traditional game genres.”
House believes that marketing is second in importance to content and experience, suggesting that Sony have the upper hand in both areas.
“We know a marketing push is important around a launch window, but what will really drive adoption of new technology is going to be great content:
“We’ve got a whole range of experiences that serve the broadest audience and that is a far better long-term bet. You can only sustain a certain amount of momentum just based on trying to ram product at people based on a strong marketing push. It really will be content that defines it.”
Whilst Andrew House celebrates the fact that Move is able to work with many genres, gaming godfather Peter Molyneux himself believes that Kinect will enable developers to create new genres altogether.
There is some truth to be had in what House is saying, it seems to be far easier to implement Move into existing titles, such as Heavy Rain, as well as adding Move capabilities to big upcoming releases such as Killzone 3. This is an area that Sony has exploited to far greater effect thus far, but Microsoft will be hot on the heels of Sony come 2011, with titles such as Forza Motorsport 4 being shipped with features that will utilize Kinect.
There’s no doubting that 2011 will be the year to make or break both Kinect and Move — both Microsoft and Sony will have to bring out the big guns to keep the majority of gamers interested in motion gaming, and its ability to enhance the all round experience of console gaming as a whole.
Initial sales are great for both companies, but gamers will only be satisfied with employees and developers talking up the technology for so long, and House is correct in saying that the content will be the defining factor, so we say let the content do the talking.