Thursday, June 17, 2010

Console Post: Motion Control (Pricing)

I keep hearing that Move and Kinect aren't really any more expensive than Wiimote.

Hold on there. Let's take a look.

First, even though Kinect is apparently going to be $149, remember that it does support multiple players out of the box. Consumers may not be able to process that information clearly, but it does. You also get a pack-in game, although no one seems to know what it will be yet.

The Sony Move bundle is $99 (includes a Wii Sports clone), but that's incredibly misleading. Without the "sub-controller" (aka "the nunchuk"), you're not going to even be able to easily move through menus. Oh, wait, you can use the PS3 controller. Yes, that will be comfortable, particularly if you want to play a game that actually requires forward movement and need to hold that PS3 controller (and operate it) with one hand.

In short: you have to buy the sub-controller for an additional $30. So you're paying $130 for one full controller plus the sensor (the EyeToy). Unless you're always playing solo, the Move is going to be significantly more expensive than Kinect. Sony did a good job of hiding that, though, in a marketing sense.

But wait--it's even more confusing than that. If you don't want the game, a controller plus sub-controller is only $80. And if you want to buy a PS3 bundle with Move, it's $100 over the regular price of the system.

Kinect is the same way in terms of system pricing. It appears that all the "bundles" are basically not discounted at all--you're paying $149 more to get Kinect regardless. Yes, Microsoft hasn't officially announced pricing, but almost every major retailer now has the same prices listed, which is a strong indicator.

Let's compare that to Nintendo.

Separately, you'd pay $70 for a Wiimote, Motionplus, and a nunchuk. That's only $10 less than Move (without a game). If you look at the system pricing, though, there's a huge difference. $199 for the console, the full controller bundle, with both Wii Sports and Wii Sports resort included.

Nintendo is half as expensive to start with, plus the two Sports games are both outstanding.

Plus, and this is another big difference, motion control is standard on the Wii. It's not optional, like it is on the 360 and the PS3. The catalog of games is enormous compared to the competition.

I'm not saying that you shouldn't buy Kinect or Move (well, actually, if you haven't bought a Wii yet, I am saying that). It's just that Kinect, by its radical and forward design, is a niche product. Move is a hybrid, with some mainstream games supported. The Wii, though, is essentially founded on the concept of motion control.

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