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Should Microsoft & Sony Be Embarrassed?

by William Schwartz

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” I think we would have been embarrassed to do what our competitors are currently doing.” Reggie Fils-Aime was quoted when asked about what he thought of the new motion controlled offerings coming later this year from Sony and Microsoft. This recent interview with Brian Crecente of Kotaku gives a nice impression of the direction that Nintendo is moving towards in the future.  We can appreciate the level of ingenuity that Nintendo brings to the table when you consider how far in front they have managed to jump ahead of the competition with respect to console sales in this generation.  But should Sony and Microsoft be embarrassed?

It was apparent that Playstation Move is targeting both the casual and the hardcore gamer judging by their recent presentation at GDC ’10.  If you live under a rock or missed this week in gaming news we’ve got some screenshots and videos, so you’re covered there.  But why should Sony be embarrassed?  They are bringing a product to market that Nintendo should have sewn the niche for.  Unfortunately for Nintendo, they didn’t capitalize on the success of the Wii by capturing not only the casual gamers, but giving hardcore gamers a reason to put a Wii in their living room.  There’s plenty of reasons why a hardcore gamer wouldn’t necessarily choose the Wii over a Playstation 3:  Blu-Ray, HD Capability, and a robust online community  to name a few.   To insinuate that Sony should be embarrassed, is a little bit much, especially when you can’t fulfill the markets demands with what you are offering.  I think the real reason why Sony shouldn’t be embarrassed boils down to the fact that they (Sony) reside in a different market than Nintendo.

Playstation Move has a little bit more to be embarrassed about, because there are some stark similarities between the Wii’s Motion Controllers and The Move.  Natal however, is a whole different story.  When you are talking about innovations and changing the playing field in one sentence, and not giving Microsoft its kudos for Natal, that’s what some people might call hypocritical.  The features in Natal may not only revolutionize gaming, but media and interactivity in the home as well.  How well it is received, and how far developers and Microsoft take Natal is a completely different subject,  but in concept, Natal is more or less the dawn of a new age in interactivity with computers.  Revolutionizing both computing and gaming is hardly something they should be embarrassed about.

So you could say yes, maybe there are some similarities between The Move and the Wii’s controller, but Sony is filling a hole left by Nintendo in what they offer gamers in a Nintendo Wii. If you can’t see the possibilities of controller free interaction with your console and don’t consider that innovation, there’s definitely something wrong there.  So no, they shouldn’t be embarrassed.  But maybe Nintendo should be, for leaving such a wide assortment of reasons for serious gamers to pass on the Wii and let the kids have their fun.  Maybe the problem is Nintendo doesn’t think it’s doing right unless it’s innovating. Improvements to existing working things is also innovation.  The best inventions in history have been  tweaks to existing things, adding function, and many times value to a product, service, or object.

What say you reader?  Do you think that Microsoft and Sony should be embarrassed by trying to get in on Nintendo’s motion control game?  Tell us what you think in the comment section below.

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