I just finished watching Microsoft’s press conference at E3 and I can’t help but feel… what a bunch of copy cats. All their demoed games for the Kinect (former Project Natal) has been done before; the sports, the fitness, the driving, etc. If you have a Wii, you have played all those games before, even the logo for Kinect Sports looked exactly like the Wii Sports logo. Next, I’m starting to think… haven’t this whole concept of using a camera and ‘putting you in the game’ been done before? And sure enough, the Eye Toy for the Playstation 2 pops into my head moments later. With the next gen technology Sony released a sequel to the Eye Toy called the PS Eye, and I thought I would do a comparison between the upcoming Kinect, and Sony’s already released PSeye, just to break things down for you (and frankly, myself too). So here it goes.
- 60 hertz @ 640×480 pixels resolution, or 120 hertz @ 320×240 pixels resolution
- 2-setting fixed focus zoom lens (56 degrees, or 75 degrees)
- Gesture Recognition
- Face Recognition
- Head Tracking
- 3D tracking when combined with Playstation Move
- Voice recognition
- Multidimensional voice tracking
- Voice commands (possible through software)
- No actual specs (numbers) have been released for the camera
- Gesture recognition
- Face recognition
- Head tracking
- 3D-tracking (with use of IR-camera)
- Multiplayer tracking
- No actual specs (numbers) have been released for the microphone
- Voice recognition
- Voice commands
Even though there are no real specs released for Microsoft’s Kinect, it is quite clear that the two cameras are quite similar when it comes to hardware and possibilities. The big thing that sets the two apart is the 3D-tracking. Kinect has an IR-camera built in that can sense depth, whereas the PS Eye does not have this. But once the Playstation Move is released this fall, this will be implemented through the tracking of the controller. So what about the software?
- EyeCreate – Included with purchase of camera. It’s basically an image (moving or static images) editing software.
- The Eye of Judgement – This is a card game with actual physical cards (by the likes of Magic the Gathering), the camera recognizes what card you’re playing and it turns it into a cool-looking monster on the screen.
- EyePet – Tamagoochi in the 21st century. Play with your pet, feed it, draw it pictures that are scanned by the camera and turned into real life (read; digital) objects, etc.
- Tori-Emaki – Some type of weird (but beautiful) japanese drawing software.
- As of now, these are the most important games out for the PS Eye. A lot more games will be available once the Playstation Move is released, such as a Sports games, Fighting games, Sword-play, etc. Plus the PS Eye and Move will be compatible with a number of games not designed specifically for these peripherals such as Gran Turismo 5 and Killzone 3.
- Sports – Soccer, Volleyball, Ping pong, Bowling, etc. (sound familiar? hmm)
- Dance something something – Copy the moves on the screen, the camera will make sure you’re doing it right.
- Fitness something something – Get fit using nothing but your body (sound familiar again?)
- Car racing something something – Steer your little cart through the tracks, using nothing but your hands at the 2/10 o clock positions.
When it comes to software, it’s hard to compare the two. If you look at simply the cameras, Kinect has the upper hand, but once you bring the PS Move into the picture everything changes. Kinect will have a very hard time to be implemented in regular videogames like FPS, sports games, etc. Whereas the Move can directly be implemented into regular videogames because it actually uses a controller. This was supposed to be a comparison of the two cameras alone, to show how everyone is going kookoo over Microsoft’s Kinect when it is nothing but a PS Eye on steroids, but it’s a hard thing to do when the PS Move is going to be a big part of the PS Eye’s future. The one thing that is cool with the Kinect is the Minority Report-type of menu system, navigating menus using only your hand is really cool and futuristic.
Another fun fact about this whole ‘war’ is that Sony was actually approached by the people that developed the Kinect camera, but declined the technology as they felt a controller was needed in order to fully enjoy videogames.
My prediction is, Kinect will be a fad, there is only so much that can be done with it and people will grow tired of it quite quickly, at least outside the menu navigation. The games demoed has been nothing original, if you own a Wii (which seems most people do at this point), getting a 360 and a Kinect will just be excessive. It’s very obvious that Microsoft has studied the Wii’s success very carefully and is trying to do anything to gain some of their market shares (Sony too for that matter with the Move). The one point where Microsoft fails though is the fact that the only games that sell on the Wii are their own, and there are numerous studies saying that Wii owners are the ones that play the least on their consoles, most likely because they grew tired of bowling after a while. I think Sony and the PS Move will have somewhat of the same fate, but the main difference here is that the Move actually can be implemented into REAL videogames such as Killzone 3. Some people don’t like that, but hey… don’t use it then. The fact is though, if the Move is as accurate as Sony claims, using it in an FPS or similar game can strengthen the experience by a whole lot. I remember the first time I played Metroid Prime 3 on the Wii, and it was just incredible how much more involved I felt. Just imagine how it will be with the graphics of Killzone 3, and the accuracy of the Move (and maybe even 3D). This will be impossible to experience with Kinect, are you going to use your finger as a gun? And the whole steering wheel without a steering wheel is really stupid as well… Nope, not going to cut it.