Ever since the Wii became a runaway success, it was only a matter of time before Microsoft and Sony would join the game. I didn’t think it would take this long for them to enter the ring and duke it out with their own motion control systems, but E3 2010 showed that both companies are taking this fight quite seriously. The funny thing about motion controls is that they’re aimed at the casual market; a market that takes cost into consideration as a very high determining factor. So, both Sony and Microsoft have laid out their battle plans. If they are to make strides into the casual market, price is a big deal. Comparing the two is interesting, so let’s take a look.
Microsoft Kinect Options
If you already own an Xbox 360 system
- Kinect – $149.99 (free unannounced game included)
If you are buying an Xbox 360 for Kinect
- Xbox Elite 250GB System + Kinect – $449.99
- Xbox 360 Arcade System + Kinect – $299.99
The real advantage Microsoft has is that for multiplayer you only need one Kinect peripheral, and you won’t need to buy multiple controllers or attachments. The base price is the same price for one person or a whole family to get playing. Gamestop has confirmed that Kinect will include a free game, but they haven’t said what game that is at this point. It’s highly likely that the bundled game will be something very simple, so most buyers are going to want to pick up something such as Kinect Sports, Kinectimals, or Child of Eden to really get started with the Kinect experience.
Sony PlayStation Move Options
If you already own a PS3 and a PlayStation Eye camera
- PlayStation Move Controller + Navigation Controller + Game – $119.99
If you already own a PS3 but no PlayStation Eye camera
- PlayStation Move Starter Bundle + Navigation Controller – $129.99
If you are buying PlayStation 3 for Move
- PlayStation Move Console Bundle + Navigation Controller – $429.99
Prices of Move Accessories
- PlayStation Move Controller – $49.99
- PlayStation Move Navigation Controller – $29.99
Now there’s something important to point out here. Some Move games will require two Move controllers to be used to fully experience the game, so really you’d want to buy a second controller if you’re serious about playing the full library properly. In essence, you should add an additional $49.99 to each bundle above. I added in the price for a Navigation controller even though Sony says it’s possible to use a regular PS3 controller. It will be less than ideal to try to grip a PS3 controller with one hand, however, and I don’t see many people opting for that. Like the Wii, to get more players in the game, you’ll need additional controllers. Some games could require up to 8 Move controllers for 4 players, but at minimum 4. For a full 4-player experience, it could cost as much as $279.99 to get playing, even if you already own a PS3. I would wager that most 4-player games will not require two Move controllers per player, however.
When you price things up, the Kinect price tag seems higher, but for new console owners the PS3 cost of entry is significantly more, especially when you start adding in multiple players. For those that own consoles, the same is the truth unless you’re planning on playing solo.
What I gather from pouring over the numbers is that despite price of the 360 and PS3 systems getting into more family friendly realms, neither one can realistically compete with what the Wii offers. Right now the is $199.99, which includes the system and two games. Obviously adding in the additional controllers to get up to 4 players brings up the price, but you’ll still come out significantly ahead by going the Nintendo route. With the economy how it is, Sony and Microsoft have a huge uphill battle to make the public see their offerings as a good value.