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Gimmicks and Innovation: Why Kinect Failed but PlayStation VR Will Succeed
The gaming industry has seen plenty of gimmicks since PlayStation and Xbox came into existence. I remember the time when PlayStation 2 Eyetoy came out but it actual application was terrible.
If you had the original PlayStation and had the opportunity to play a game called Base Landing fishing, you probably got a chance to use the Base Landing Fishing controller. God, that thing was awful! Here’s what it looked like.
On Microsoft’s side the situation was pretty much the same. The original Xbox had a few odd peripherals released for it by Microsoft and third party developers.
However, little less than a decade after PlayStation 2 and Xbox came out we entered another console generation, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. This is where things got really interesting.
Xbox 360 introduced an innovative device called Kinect, a camera that’ll track your body movements and translate that into commands for in-game movements and actions. On paper it looked great and its demos really blew fans away, however, it failed miserably.
Microsoft spend $500 million on Kinect marketing but the device only managed to appeal to a niche audience. Sadly, they tried it again with Xbox One’s version of Kinect, tried to push it down your throat by making it mandatory to run an Xbox One.
Over at PlayStation, Sony introduced PlayStation Move and PlayStation Camera for PlayStation 3. Again, it couldn’t grow beyond a niche audience and failed to attract hardcore PlayStation gamers. Move worked well at times but you needed the PlayStation Camera placed in the right position for it to track PlayStation Move.
All these products are gimmicks because each and everyone of these is fading away. Their creators promised the world but devices failed in real life scenarios.
Microsoft’s Kinect, even with Xbox One, is nothing more than a tool for Skype Conversations or voice commands. Its original purpose, gaming, is shrugged under the rug.
The main problem with any first party peripheral like this is that it is hard to convince developers to support the product.
This is why PlayStation VR will succeed, or at least it would do much better compared to any of the previously released add on devices from both Sony and Microsoft.
Microsoft couldn’t get developers on board because Kinect was never meant for gaming, even if it was primarily marketed that way.
It received decent reviews but soon after its release fans realized that there is nothing to play using Kinect, hardcore gamers weren’t interested in Kinect Sports and similar casual titles so now we see that Kinect’s purpose is very different with Kinect 2.0.
With PlayStation VR, Sony is pushing for developer support. From Square Enix to EA to Ubisoft, every major third party developer is working on PlayStation VR.
By the end of the year, there would be 50 different kinds of games released on PlayStation VR. Kinect didn’t have 50 major games in its lifetime I believe.
Sony is not only supporting PlayStation VR, but it is bringing back PlayStation Move into the limelight. Sales for both PlayStation Move and PlayStation Camera has skyrocketed since PlayStation VR release window was confirmed.
Microsoft is working on an AR device called HoloLens, once again it is promising something that Microsoft may not be able to deliver. In the gaming industry, a device can only successful if third party support is sufficient and easy to do with existing games.
For HoloLens, you will need to specially design games which is the reason Kinect failed in the first place but then again, I believe its main purpose isn’t gaming, it is an all around device that supports some games.
PlayStation VR will revolutionize the gaming industry and its success will open doors for further innovation. Creators will be less afraid to release something unique in the console space.