News In Brief

E3 2010: Microsoft, Sony show off Wii competitors

Melissa Kaplan Jun 15, 2010

Bitmob editor and cofounder Dan “Shoe” Hsu stopped by to talk to us about the E3 video game conference. Here’s his coverage of the new motion-control consoles making headway there this year.

“Get off your butt” seems to be the big message at the 2010 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). Nintendo has been extremely successful reaching a more casual, non-traditional gaming market with its accessible Wii and its motion-controller technology. Eager to grab a piece of that sizable pie, Sony and Microsoft are spending a lot of money at E3 promoting their own entries in this hot market. Sony’s PlayStation Move provides a viable, but still fairly similar, alternative to the Wii for PlayStation 3 owners. Its motion “wand” controllers offer more precision than Nintendo’s setup, and the PS3 itself is a more powerful gaming machine.

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Microsoft’s Kinect (previously known as Project Natal) allows gamers to use their bodies as the input device — no physical controllers needed other than the three-dimensional camera that hooks up to an Xbox 360.

Both the Move and the Kinect will bring their respective game consoles to more casual audiences, but they’re not exactly wowing the core gamers just yet. The technology is impressive, no doubt, but all the software applications have a decidedly family-friendly flair to them (in other words: They’re just like what we’ve been playing on the Wii the last two years), which raises the question: Will the casual market even care? Many in that demographic have Wiis already, and just by nature of them being “casual,” they may not be looking to spend more dollars — especially in this tough economy — to get a second platform that can only offer slightly improved experiences.

The only way this strategy is going to work for Sony and Microsoft is if they start showing off very distinct and unique gameplay applications that don’t resemble anything you can find on the Wii. It’s still early, so we’ll wait to see what the more clever and creative developers come up with down the line.

Dan “Shoe” Hsu is the editor and cofounder of Bitmob, a video game news and community site. Previously, he was editorial director of the 1UP Network.

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