Recently, my coworker and I have had brief discussions about Microsoft and Sony’s recent foray into the motion gaming arena. He doesn’t follow gaming news as closely as I do, but he’d still come across a few articles about both the Natal and the PS Move. We discussed how interesting each device looks, both company’s possible motivations for creating these devices, and whether they seem like good ideas or not.

The main thing that stuck out to both of us about the PS Move was how similar it appears to be to the Wii remote. The fact that it seems to be essentially the same takes away from both of our interest in this new peripheral. That says nothing about the physical appearance of the thing. It’s a little difficult to take this new device seriously when it looks like a device intended for female use. The Natal on the other hand, holds potential to at least be something different. The fact that it can supposedly read movements and do something based on your movement will hopefully allow for some incredibly unique games. If this works the way Microsoft is selling it as, this could provide some truly revolutionary ways we interact with video games.

It’s not a stretch to assume that both companies saw the way the Wii has sold and decided they wanted a piece of that. They believe that the money will roll in if they pursue the motion control scheme. Whether people really want that, we’ll have to wait and see. The more interesting question to think about is why they’ve decided to pursue the motion controls in the way that they have. Microsoft seems to have decided to go in an entirely different direction and try to get rid of the controller altogether. Sony on the other hand, seems to have decided to go for the exact same people that have already purchased a Wii. I don’t understand why they think this demographic would be willing to spend $300 on a Playstation 3, followed by another $100 on the Move just to play essentially the same things that they can play on a $150 Wii. Sony is pushing the high-def aspect, but many parents aren’t going to spend that much money on a toy for their kids nor will the senior citizens that the media loved to portray at the height of the Wii’s popularity. The only people I can really think would purchase this would be parents that play games, but haven’t yet settled on any of this generation’s systems. This will allow them to play the high-def games they want to play and allow their kids to play games with a similar control scheme as the Wii. Sony’s going to have a tough time selling this to people that have been on the fence about purchasing a Wii up until this point as well as to others that already have a Wii.

While neither product seem to have a large, devoted following, I think the Natal stands a better chance at making a difference in the industry than the Move. While Move may very well do what the Wii originally promised but better, the fact that they’re trying to sell essentially the same thing to people that they already own is going to really hurt the Moves sales. Natal on the other hand at least has people’s interests piqued making some a little more apt to try it. I think at this point, both companies realize they’re not going to see the ridiculous sales numbers that the Wii racked up, so as long as they keep their expectations reasonable, they may manage to get the sales numbers around what they’re shooting for. Regardless, unless something major happens between now and the release of these items, I won’t be waiting in line to get my hands on one. I’m much happier without the motion control for now.

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