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WiiMote vs. Move vs. Kinect: Comparing control schemes in the three-way battle for motion control

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all three motion controllers wiimote move kinectThe battle royale for motion control domination is about to get a bit more serious between Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft.

E3 2010 may have been the first time that all three companies were in the same building with fully operational, possibly final versions, of motion control devices we could actually touch – or, as the case with Kinect, not touch – and give a try. By the end of the year (2010) we expect all three to be in gamers’ homes.

While Sony and Microsoft are playing a bit of catch-up with Nintendo, that doesn’t necessarily mean the WiiMote will rule the game room when it comes to the new wave in game control tech.

Here’s a competitive overview of each of the three motion control schemes based on time spent playing with each on the E3 2010 floor, noting benefits and faults of each.

nintendo wii remote wireless motion controller wiimote

Nintendo Wii Remote (aka WiiMote)

Its modular design, while not necessarily the most ergonomic (it’s more like an old-school TV remote than any modern remote control device), its blockiness is rather useful. The modular design makes it easy to fit into many shells, allowing a lot of companies to quickly come out with crazily-shaped peripherals. Tennis rackets, fishing rods, guns of many shapes and sizes. They all benefit from the relatively sleek and squared case.

Operating both with infrared and a three-axis accelerometer, the WiiMote (aka Wii Remote Controller), it’s a mixed experience of needing to face in one direction and limitless movement. You can point at the screen for relatively precise targeting or swing it around like a baton.

It also has all the buttons you need including a rounded trigger although a few buttons are pretty much impossible to press without looking and at least one – depending on which hand you use – can be accidentally pressed by an excited palm. The addition of the Wii MotionPlus adds precision to the motion, although it is an additional expense.

The WiiMote t is highly susceptible to bright lights and sometimes a little inaccurate. The modular design is also not the most comfortable or ergonomic and it requires a wrist trap to kept from being accidentally flung.

sony playstation move wireless motion controller

PlayStation Move

This black controller has a glowing ball at the end that looks rather like a, well, magic wand. The colored head is tracked by the PlayStation Eye camera attached to the PS3 and the wand includes a three-axis linear accelerometer and a three-axis angular rate sensor.

The hilt is rounded for a more comfortable ergonomic design. It’s relatively light and includes all the usual PlayStation controller buttons, without the analog sticks, of course. It also includes a rounded trigger on the “bottom.” It also has a wrist strap to keep it tethered to the gamer.

It does look a little silly with the large glowing ball on the end and only works when you are in direct view of the PlayStation Eye camera (which also means you need to buy a second accessory or a more expensive Move-Eye bundle). Like the Wii Remote, the gamer needs to face the camera for precise on-screen controls and can enjoy freedom of movement thanks to the internal sensors.

It is currently a bit inaccurate and lighting can have a serious effect on accuracy. Even so, the design makes it hard to accidentally press the wrong buttons.

At E3 2010, the Move was available to be played on several games (yet to be released, of course) but was very sensitive and sometimes difficult to maintain calibration.

microsoft kinect for xbox 360

Microsoft Kinect for Xbox 360

Microsoft ditched the in-hand controller for a camera-based scheme that reads body and arm movements to control the game.

The concept is that, after a quick scan, some calibration and using a few natural movements in front of the Kinect sensor unit, you use your body to control in-game avatars and menus.

For many games there is no on-screen cursor meaning it can be a little tricky to know exactly what you are doing, although the games at E3 all had pretty simply menu systems to help alleviate that issue. You also need to learn a few key movements and motions to select and scroll through menu items so it’s not quite as intuitive as promised.

This is also very susceptible to people crossing behind the field of view of the Kinect device so, if you have big dogs, you might need to keep them caged while you game. (And you probably don’t want to have a large picture window to your back). Also, for gamers with serious physical impairments, the Kinect could prove to either be the easiest or the worst control scheme, depending on the game.

Conclusions

Unfortunately, it seems that all three are (or will be) susceptible to lighting issues (which may instigate a sub-industry of game lighting professionals). It’s simply the nature of using a device that requires visual feedback to operate.

If all the kinks are worked out, the Kinect might prove the all-round easiest and most innovative motion controller since a) most everyone can move their bodies and b) there’s no secondary controller with a battery to recharge. Sadly, it may prove to be the most expensive and the control is strictly limited by the viewing angle of the sensor system and, possibly, distance.

The WiiMote and the Move both have a wireless controller that interacts with a wired sensor device of sorts, which offers a lot freedom of movement (even out of the range of the camera or sensor) but it also means you’ll need to recharge or replace batteries for the hand unit.

The Move, as many E3 2010 attendees noted, seems a lot like the WiiMote in terms of ease of control but, as noted above, it is rounded and may prove to be slightly more comfortable for long-term gaming. Even so, the major issue between the two may become the price. The Move requires a not-so-cheap Playstation Eye camera while the Wii ships with a sensor bar (and replacements are relatively inexpensive).

Also keep in mind that if you own all three systems, you’re TV cabinet will begin to get a bit crowded with the Wii Sensor bar, PlayStation Eye and Kinect fighting for the center spot.

Site [Gamertell @ E3 2010]

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  • wtfwtfwtf

    Move works in dark rooms and lit rooms… You barely even did research. Why is Kinect the only one without saying it inaccurate at all? How is Move a little inaccurate? Out of ALL videos I have seen and everyone that said anything about it after playing it there has never been ANYONE that said its inaccurate at all. It perfectly picks up your motion. Move is the most accurate of them all… Difficult to maintain calibration?? No one said anything about that at all. Are you making things up to sound professional? Jesus… You are making ASSUMPTIONS. Move works just fine in dark areas and bright areas because its orb is bright enough and it tracks that sphere and that sphere only. No other light source will get in the way unless you blind the camera… Let me guess where you got that one from… 'OH! Move uses that light thingy to do stuff and if you mess with the other light thingies in the room then those light thingies will mess with Move's light thingy and make it so it won't do stuff!".

    I am pretty sure the Move and PSEye combo is only like $10 -$20 more… And it also comes with a game UNLIKE Kinect.

    Oh yeah! Kinect is the easiest and most innovative even though technically it isn't because…
    1. It is laggy and inaccurate so it will take extra effort,
    2. EVERY computer webcam is able to do facial recognition and voice recognition.
    3. Eyetoy came out for PS2 YEARS ago and does what it does with less lag then Kinect has when it does what it tries to do.
    4. PSEye also came out so thats TWO times a gaming camera has come out which can once again at least track your face and it doesn't have very noticeable lag.
    5. Theres more but I don't think you need to be proven wrong anymore :)

    Face it… You barely knew what you were talking about… You were just trying to sound professional and like you had quality experience with each product and knew some things others didn't…

  • jorge

    Microsoft Kinect = old sony tech… no big deal… PlayStation move is not only crazy precise, it’s also got what we in the future call “buttons,” which turn out to be pretty important to those handful of millions of people who enjoy playing a shooter or platformers or, well, anything that doesn’t involve catching a big red ball. I mean, come on, who wants to pretend their hand is a gun. What is this? The Third grade? Pew. Pew. Pew. Pew.

  • jorge

    PEOPLE DON'T KNOW ARE THEY REALLY SURE THAT MOVE IS OLD NINTENDO TECH… TAKE A LOOK OF THIS http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbSzmRt7HhQ …MAKE A RESEARCH MY FRIEND

  • jorge

    and if u go way back atari has 1 i forgot the name and The Power Glove (epic fail) motion controls are old tec

  • PJ Hruschak

    wtfwtfwtf – My writings above are based on first-hand time spent playing Move and Kinect games at E3 (as well as Wii games).

    Again, "all three are (or will be) susceptible to lighting issues." It was hard to tell exactly how precise the Kinect was because the playable games at E3 I tried did not involve minute control (or, for example, a reticule). Those games were based on relatively gross movements which may (or may not) be on purpose.

    Both the Move and the Kinect systems required multiple recalibrations, re-syncings or whatever you want to call it when I played on the E3 floor. Booth attendants for both the Kinect and Move games mentioned the lighting (if not specifically the word "lighting" then shadows and passers-by which, naturally, change area lighting condtions) as a possible cause. Some of those issues may (we hope) go away as the hardware or software is tweaked before release, Also, the flashing lights, loud music and many passers-by will likely not be as much an issue in a private family room or living room (unless you have an awesome party house).

    The Move combo with the Eye camera and a game is $40 more than just the controller: http://www.gamertell.com/gaming/comment/playstation_move_release_dates_prices_bundles_e3_2010_bundles/

    Most web cams have some slight delay between action and on-screen presentation especially when other software (like a game) is taking up the system's resources. And cameras do not recognize faces. The camera software recognizes faces.

    jorge – You are quoting advertising material. Some said at E3 that the Move was old Nintendo tech.