I must say, and I am probably biased, but Microsoft’s press conference was really bad. Might be one of their worst. This is mainly because what we saw of Kinect was not impressive. Have we not seen all of this before? 3 years ago in some cases, even? Here’s exactly the question you need to ask when considering your opinion of these Kinect games: how long will you play these games before you become bored? Now, I know Kinectimals was meant for kids, with its cute little tiger thingy that you could pet and play with. But there’s only so much it can do. I am sure there will be plenty more animals, but really…Nintendogs has already done this.
Kinect Adventures was worse. So what if you can take pictures? How many pictures will you take before it gets just a tad repetitive? 10? maybe 20? It’s one of those things that you will show off once to your friends, and that will be that. And besides that is the question or originality. Nintendo and other developers have been pushing out games like this for years for the Wii. What will really make it better? No controller? Sorry, Microsoft. A gimmicky game once is still a gimmicky game.
Nintendo has pulled out genuinely good games with its motion controls, like The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Super Mario Galaxy (and 2), Metroid Prime Trilogy and so on. Even ports like Okami and Resident Evil 4 are incredible games. Kinect is producing some decent ideas, but I’ve not seen any huge games for it. Star Wars could be good, but it looks way too linear. And it might just boil down to waving and flailing your arms over and over, similar to many Wii games with the flailing of the Wii Remote. I am looking and hoping for some better announcements at the separate Kinect conference tomorrow.
The final word I have on the Kinect part for now is some positive appraisal. Yes, the idea of controlling your Xbox with Kinect is admittedly cool. It seems like a fairly good and responsive interface. But again, Nintendo has already done so much with the Wii and its interface that it’s hard for Kinect to be equally as impressive. If Kinect was announced three or four years ago, it probably would have been good. It’s an obvious competitor to Nintendo’s Wii, and it is obviously a response to the Wii, not an innovation of its own.
So Xbox 360 will still have its impressive lineup of shooters, like the Halo, Gears of War and the Call of Duty franchises. These games have honestly defined the Xbox 360, more so than anything else. The Wii is defined by its innovative motion controls. The other systems just aren’t ready to seriously compete with that. Yes, Nintendo is losing a lot of ground by not having many games with conventional controls, or even a serious HD graphics engine. But it created a new type of gamer. And that market is being sought after by Microsoft and Sony. It just took them a little too long to get there. Nintendo did all the groundwork, and now Microsoft and Sony will try to do it better. Microsoft won’t. Sony might.
One other thing I’d like to comment on is a new console. At this point, I doubt any of the three major companies will release a new console in 2011. The Wii is doing good enough to last until 2012. Despite Xbox 360 being released in 2005, it will likely carry the success of the PS2 and last until 2012 and probably beyond. PS3 will probably also do fine with its Move idea, and stay until 2012. So, I think the industry will focus on the here and now. I can’t even imagine a new console, and I bet that Nintendo and Sony are not ready to go there.
Well, those are my thoughts for now. I can’t wait until Nintendo’s conference. They really need to deliver, though. This is truly their chance to shine. I am not scared by Microsoft (though I was a little after last year’s E3). Nintendo shouldn’t be either. They can really steal this year’s show. It’s about time Nintendo proves itself. And I think they will. Whether it’s in a small sleeper hit like a new Pikmin or a big blockbuster like Zelda, Nintendo has the goods. They can do it.