Dis-Kinected: $50 for Kinect Sports?!

If one game defined motion control to the general public, it would have to be Wii Sports. As such, every motion control system has their own sports mini-game tech demo collection on it. Usually, this is a launch title but not for Kinect!

In a desperate attempt to buck the trend, Microsoft has packaged the Kinect with Kinect Adventures rather than Kinect Sports. If you want the Rare Ware produced sports collection, you’re going to have to buy it separately for $50!

That’s a bold statement, but I get the logic behind it. Wii Sports is the most successful game on Wii with many Wii users owning nothing but Wii Sports! So selling your sports mini-game collection separately could increase sales and the alternative pack-in makes you look slightly less like a Wii knock-off!

However, there’s no denying that $50 is an absolutely absurd price point! When Nintendo sold Wii Sports separately in Japan, it was packed with a Wiimote just like Wii Play. As such, the game itself was technically $10. It’s successor, Wii Sports Resort, was packed with a MotionPlus and thus it was technically $30.

If you look at Sony’s Sports Champions you will find a higher price point at $40. However, Sports Champions is actually worth it. Each of it’s sports are not mini-games but actual full fledged games in their own right! The table tennis, disc golf, and bocce are the best simulations of their respective sports. You litterally cannot find a deeper and more technical table tennis game on any system than the one included in Sports Champions. Meanwhile archery provides a fun and unorthodox shooting gallery challenge and gladiator duel is practically a full fledged fighter! Even the collection’s weak point, beach volleyball, is still impressive.

While I have not yet played Kinect Sports, it has a tough act to follow when compared to the cheaper Sports Champions. On the plus side, however, this may have been a large part of why so many developers jumped on the Kinect bandwagon. With 3 or 4 sports mini-game collections (depending on if you count  Game Party: In Motion) being released in the launch window, there’s quite a few developers wanting to grab the coveted “one sports mini-game collection everyone has” title.

However, this also shows another thing about the Kinect: the average price point of the games. With the Move, Sony aimed to get most games at a lower $40 price point to attract the budget minded Wii crowd. Unfortunately, many of the games felt more like they should have been $20 or possibly PSN downloads. With the Kinect, Microsoft seems to be doing the same thing with a $50 price point. This is sad on two levels: the first being that only a few years ago, $50 was the average price of games and now it’s considered a “value”. The other is that many of the Kinect games look even worse than what we see on Move. This may be judging a book by it’s cover, but it is absolutely depressing to see.

That’s before getting into how “me too” many of these launch titles are. Not a single one is actually unique. We have two dancing games, two mascot boarding games, four fitness games, three or four sports mini-game collections, a generic kart racer that was supposed to be a free download, a desperate (and by all accounts poorly made) clone of The Fight, and an attempt at copying Nintendogs except with baby tigers named Skittles. At least the Move tried even if it’s launch line-up was lackluster.

Luckily (or unfortunately) for me, I happen to be a fan of dancing games and the original Sonic Rider so there is some stuff for me out there. Fingers crossed one of them is decent. Personally, my money is on Konami’s DanceMasters.

No, I don’t have much faith in the Kinect.

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3 Comments on “Dis-Kinected: $50 for Kinect Sports?!”

  1. Toad Says:

    The poncey and embarrassing Dance Masters over Harmonix’s Dance Central? You are literally mad. And although I agree that the launch titles don’t really show off variety, Kinect Sports is a fairly robust package, featuring 10 Sports and each with several mini-game variations it offers more gameplay variety than Sony and Nintendo’s offerings.

    Plus it has what Sports Champion severely lacked — fantastic party and multiplayer modes that don’t require half a dozen controllers or a gimped one-controller option, in the case of Gladiator Duel and Archery. Plus it has online play, and although the sports don’t rival Sports Champion in terms of pure accuracy, the full body tracking is more unique and leads to more fun gameplay (take bowling for example, you don’t have to bowl it traditionally. You can literally hadouken the ball, or throw it over arm (which can smash the floor)). The presentation is also leaps and bounds above Wii Sports (similarly cutesy, but graphically underwhelming) and Sports Champion (technically good and realistic, but clinical and bland).

    I’m in the Kinect beta, but I’m somewhat of a motion control fanatic, owning all 3. They all have their advantages and disadvantages, but for me Kinect has been the most pure fun in a party environment which is typically when I play these games.

    • GEL Says:

      Wow, you’ve actually very much intrigued me on Kinect Sports. There may be something there yet then! Crap, now I’m gonna have to find a way to fit Kinect Sports into my budget.

      But as for DanceMasters? Oh very much yes. See, Dance Central uses canned dance moves that can be recycled over and over again in different songs and basically hides it’s entire interface. You dance, you get points, and you have no clue exactly what they’re grading you on.

      DanceMasters, however, features unique routines for every song and actually SHOWS YOU it’s interface. It tells you EXACTLY what it’s grading you on. What’s more it uses three different detection styles: Posing like what Dance Central is doing behind the scenes, putting your hand in a specific location with proper timing (like a mix of EyeToy Groove and EBA), and arrows where you sweep your hands in the appropriate way (similar to We Cheer). While I do have some questions on the presentation (there is an absolute overload of black dudes in leather), as a GAME it looks to be the superior choice.

      BUT I will be getting both and putting them to the test. I love music games, especially ones that go beyond basic scrolling notes. As such they will be bought and compared and, being Harmonix, I expect them to surprise me at least a little bit!

      • Toad Says:

        I see where you’re coming from, but for me the music and choreography itself in Dance Masters is pretty embarrassing. Or at least I’d feel embarrassed playing it, but then I’m really not into the whole anime/jpop thing. And I haven’t played it yet, so I can’t really judge how fun it is ultimately.

        Dance Central has over 600 moves, so I’m not worrying too much about recycled routines, plus the routines themselves are professionally choreographed and motion captured and given that it’s Harmonix, I trust that they have got it right. Their mode for breaking down and teaching the moves looks particularly helpful too. Also, you do get some feedback in DC with regards to where your failings lie. If your arm is swinging wrong for example, it will light up red, and you can see a small silhouette of yourself dancing in a box to the right of the main dancer. Add DLC on top of this and you have a pretty compelling dancing game.

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