Archive for December 2010

The State of Motion Control

December 18, 2010

With Christmas coming and new releases slowing, I haven’t had too terribly much on my mind (aside from trying to get the next episode done) and as such haven’t had anything to post about. So let’s take a look at my favorite topic: Motion Control.

As you should be well aware, I am very fond of the concept of motion control. I did an episode on why it’s actually a good idea and gave a quick review of the three controllers currently available. So how are the controllers faring now? Let’s take a look.

For starters, while the Move is easily the best of them from a technical standpoint, it’s basically dead in the water thanks to Sony. Yes, it appears they’ve practically abandoned the controller right out the gate. Titles like Time Crisis: Raizing Storm and The Fight: Lights Out, games that could be moving units, are seeing no advertising and comically small shipments. My local store only got in two copies of Time Crisis and numerous people have reported that The Fight is sold out in their area.

Let’s think about that last statement for a minute. The Fight is a game that requires two Move controllers to play and yet it’s sold out. This means there is some clear and definite interest in the Move yet Sony is doing nothing about it. Worse yet, from the reports I’ve heard, this is because of small shipments just like Time Crisis. Make no mistake, there’s no way they can compete with the 500 million dollar marketing scheme of Microsoft, but that’s not a good reason to just abandon your controller mere months after release! Nor is it a reason to short shipments so heavily!

The only up side to this is that when the Move finishes flopping, it won’t hurt Sony financially the way the Kinect would hurt Microsoft if it flopped. However, it seems that most of why the Move is flopping is because Sony is putting zero effort towards supporting the device.

On the other end of the spectrum is Microsoft. Though the Kinect is a severely limited controller with a high pricetag, it has been selling insanely well.  Thanks to their massive ad campaign, they’ve given the illusion that the Kinect is the toy to have this Christmas. In a very smart move, Microsoft made enough units that a shortage is basically impossible. As such we have the “big holiday toy” phenomenon without the murderous mobs of parents. The end result is money in the bank for Microsoft. However, remember that we’re talking about a five hundred million dollar ad campaign. Not to mention they’ve given away numerous units. So the real question is if Microsoft has made back their money. Not that it matters, of course, as they have cash to spare. However, it is still a question that must be asked.

That said, the bigger question is: How many will be returned after Christmas?

Let’s not mince words here, the Kinect’s game library is horrible unless you love dancing games. Dance Central and Dance Masters are great and I have heard good things about Kinectimals, but beyond that it’s a crap shoot. Kinect Joy Ride is a joke, Kinect Adventures is the worst pack-in ever, and Kinect Sports is often less impressive than Wii Sports and carries that $50 pricetag. Let’s not even discuss titles like Deca Sports Freedom. Thus far the best I have been able to find is Sonic Free Riders, whose controls don’t even work 90% of the time. With few post-Christmas titles announced and an undeniably long wait before releases like Steel Battalion and Suda 51’s new game, there’s a very good chance that Kinect users will grow tired of their systems. I guess the question then is: Will it be returned, or will it collect dust until the second wave of games hits?

I guess this then brings us to the MotionPlus. It hasn’t seen much support, but Artoon’s Fling Smash is sold for $50 with the MotionPlus packed in. In fact, I’ve yet to find a non-MotionPlus packed copy of the game! This highlights it’s greatest strength: it can be packed in with games cheaply. So, when The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword comes out, that will be it’s time to shine.

So there you have it. The Move is a fantastic controller that is tanking hard, the Kinect is selling purely off of it’s massive ad campaign, and the MotionPlus is packed-in with games when it needs to be. How will this all pan out in the end? Only the future knows.

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New Releases – December 2010

December 7, 2010

A little late but it doesn’t really matter. It’s December and that means time is up for Christmas releases! As such there’s…practically nothing coming out this month. I had to scrounge for releases and even then it’s slim pickings. What do we have? Well let’s take a look!

Week 1

Unbound Saga (XBLA)

An XBox Live Arcade port of a PSP title that desperately tries to be a fusion of Comix Zone and Streets of Rage. Nowhere near the sum of it’s parts, a generic beat ’em up with a cute concept. At least it has online play!

Week 2

TRON Evolution (PS3, 360, Wii, DS, PSP)

An impressive looking movie tie-in. TRON Evolution will also have Move support on PS3 for lightcycle racing.

Week 3

Super Mario All-Stars (Wii)

One question on the minds of many gamers was how Nintendo would handle the much demanded Wii port of Super Mario All-Stars. Many people wanted to see it on Virtual Console. However a VC release would be $8 (average price of SNES games) while each game individually is $5, so would they raise the price of a VC release or what? Ends up the answer to that question is that Mario All-Stars is getting a budget priced boxed release packed with a soundtrack in time for Mario’s 25th Birthday! While the pack lacks Super Mario World it is still a good deal. However I wonder if it’s just going to be a Virtual Console game on a disc or something a little bit more?

Week 4

Merry Christmas! No releases this week because seriously, who releases games on Christmas?

Week 5

Raskulls (XBLA)

Some kind of 2D sidescroller for XBox Live Arcade featuring skull-headed characters. Yeah, I’m kinda stretching for releases here.

Hot Shots Golf 5 (PS3)

Supposedly just a re-release of Hot Shots Gold: Out of Bounds with Move support added. Very little hard information exists.