Kinect vs. Move: The motion controller hands-on deathmatch

Motion control then. Love it like a brother or fear it like herpes, by the end of this year, all three consoles will have it. In September Sony is launching Playstation Move, a cranked-up Wiimote-alike utilising motion tracking via the PlayStation Eye camera. In November, Microsoft’s Kinect will hit the market. By contrast it’s a hands-free control solution which uses two cameras to track full body motion via skeletal recognition, letting you stick your whole body in the game with supposed 1:1 movement.

But are they any good? And if so, which is best? And if not, which is least worst? And most importantly, which one has the most potential for you, the hardcore gamer? Are they really going to be a relevant part of gaming’s future, or just a laggy waggle fad that will be gone in a year? Having played with both now, we decided it was time to weigh all of that up and declare a winner by way of a straight vs. deathmatch. Two controllers enter, one controller leaves. And the first question is...

How well do they work?


We had our doubts about Kinect’s promises when Microsoft first unveiled it under the Natal name at E3 2009. And our doubts were as big as moderately-sized planets, and nearly as heavy. Real-time, full-body motion control? Games we could play by simply miming them? Consoles that would recognise our faces and emotional states? What kind of smoke-and-mirrors holodeck witchcraft was this? But believe it or not, Kinect does work. Mostly. Or rather, eventually. Allow us to explain.

Above: It's way better than this in normal circumstances, we promise

First things first. Kinect’s motion tracking technology is pretty damn amazing. And believe us, we made a point of putting it through its paces at every opportunity. Every chance we got to test it with a little gratuitous gesture, we did. Hops, side-steps, crossing of legs, waves and head bobs, Kinect picked up the lot, and our on-screen Avatars copied them pretty damn closely. There was the occasional twitch, but nothing major considering Kinect was animating a 3D model in uncanned real-time.

But the problem, and you might heard this debated elsewhere, is lag. It exists, and it is seriously noticeable, at least in the games we tested out. We’re talking about around a quarter of a second’s delay between our real-world actions and our Avatar’s mimicry. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you’re waiting for an action game to respond to your inputs, it really is. In fact at times it felt less like we were controlling a game character, more like we were puppeteering a marionette with elastic strings.


Again, E3 2009 was all about the doubts. Especially once we saw Move demoed with an archery shot that was about about as accurate as a sniper using an Uzi. On a rollercoaster. Drunk. And even if it did work, what would we get? A more accurate Wiimote? We already had one of those in the shape of Wii MotionPlus by that point, and look how much good that thing has done.

Above: It really does work this well. Just ignore the archery glitch

But as of August 2010, we have no doubts about PlayStation Move’s technical capabilities. In short, it’s everything we imagined the Wii was going to be when it was announced in 2005. Full 3D movement in full 3D space with barely any perceivable delay. Every tiny nuance of movement, every miniscule twist, turn and flick of the wrist is picked up and translated immediately. Step forward, and the on-screen representation of the controller moves forward the same relative distance at the same pace. Crouch down to the ground, and the on-screen controller comes with you.

As long as you keep the controller’s glowing ball within view of the PlayStation Eye camera, Move will work flawlessly. That means that it works at any distance from the TV, and most importantly, that you can use it sitting down.

Next: Are Kinect's games less horrible than you think?

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  • dpi - October 25, 2010 5:39 a.m.

    I think the Move is just a more sophisticated Wii, with the better Playstation Graphics. The Kinect has some initial issues, and the starting lineup isn't all that great, but I think the potential of the Kinect is a lot better, and I can just imagine some of the things it will be able to do. I can see developers incorporating body movements as "buttons." Reach down to your side to change guns, use gestures with your other hand to bring up your inventory, swipe your hand to change items, push to select. You could literally reach for an object in the game, and pick up the virtual item like you would pick up a real object, hold it up to get a better look, and put it in your pocket to add to your inventory.
  • Javv - August 16, 2010 1:49 a.m.

    mmm now move has my attencion but i still wont buy it
  • ilnewsome - August 11, 2010 8:35 a.m.

    The funny thing is, Move isn't just Wii Sports knockoff games. Move has support for Resident Evil 3, KillZone 3, SOCOM: US Navy SEALs, Heavy Rain ... Just to name a few well known titles/series that would never be found on Wii.
  • pradius - August 9, 2010 10:15 p.m.

    Kinect is going to mop the floor with Move. No way I'm wasting money on another Wii-mote. I beat Resident Evil 5 like 2 years ago -- why the hell would I want to play it again with Move controls? No thanks, I'd rather be playing Dance Central with a couple of strippers and a bottle of vodka. And when I want to play hardcore -- I will just grab my 360 controller an hop on Xbox LIVE. Maybe even dust off my PS3 and play Uncharted 2 again, but I'm not getting move. I haven't turned on my Wii in almost a year.. I'm hoping that will change soon.
  • Hotdiddykong - August 9, 2010 8:28 p.m.

    It doesnt matter, their both gimmicks good in their own consoles, the thing is, their just gimmicks, wii isnt a gimmick cause its controls is used for everything
  • Turboash - August 9, 2010 6:52 p.m.

    In the end, they're all losers!
  • lln7845 - August 9, 2010 1:19 p.m.

    Wonderful. Share a website with you , ( ) Believe you will love it. Accept paypal or credit card and free shipping.
  • EnragedTortoise1 - August 9, 2010 12:35 p.m.

    I honestly think move would be better, given that: 1. It actually works well- no lag, no minor mishaps, etc. 2. No lag- true 1:1 movement without 2 seconds of lag. 3. More games for gamers. Sports Champions is nice and all, but Move has Socom, Tumble, Heroes On The Move (which I am actually interested in), Resi 5, and Heavy Rain. Kinect... ummm... Kinect Joyride? Idk... 4. You can sit down and use Move. :P
  • xSpeedyMonkeyx - August 9, 2010 6:21 a.m.

    I just cant shake the feeling MOVE is a better version of the Wii remote... Kinect may lag but I dont know... they fix that imagine what they could do for fps... 0.o
  • Clovin64 - August 9, 2010 3:10 a.m.

    I really want to agree with you Mr Houghton, you sound so damn passionate and excited about the things you like and I always end up agreeing with your views, but I am still instinctivly sceptical about motion control. Given the choice, I will always pick a good old fashioned Dualshock over a Wii rip-off wand with a mega distracting glowing bulb on top of it.
  • keyblademaster11 - August 9, 2010 2:27 a.m.

    think moves better
  • aperson789 - August 8, 2010 11:08 p.m.

    I hate motion controls. I hate 3D. I hate all that crap that companys think is making their consoles better! Damn! All they should worry about is what people actually care about!
  • Zeb364 - August 8, 2010 11:03 p.m.

    Failure on both counts.
  • whitesall - August 8, 2010 7:06 p.m.

    the kinect is still being tweeked so they mite have to make another artical win there both out both look cool as hell thought
  • AnthonyTony - August 8, 2010 6:35 p.m.

    For me, I know exactly which controller I'll be getting, and it's all about economics. I already have a PS3 and a PS Eye camera, so it will cost me around $50 to get playing Move games. On the other hand, to upgrade the 360 to Kinect will cost me $150, and I'll have a spare Live Vision camera that no-one will want. I'm not sure if either controller will be good. But Move is really in that 'impulse buy' price range for me. Hell, I bought those stupid Eye/Vision cameras as impulse buys too!
  • zuse315 - August 8, 2010 3:54 p.m.

    Kinect has all the potential to be the future of 3d gaming, but I haven't seen really anyone mention this possibility! If you can rig a wiimote to function like body tracker to get a 3d effect, like the guy in this video , it's as if could have been made just for this purpose in the first place. It's just a waiting game now....
  • TinyButDeadly - August 8, 2010 2:07 p.m.

    Move is my personal choice because i don't own and xbox :P but i would rather have something in my hands to make it feel like i am actually using a sword or bow and arrow etc instead of miming the actions with my bare hands
  • Smeggs - August 8, 2010 2:06 a.m.

    Move's controller looks like some kind of strange sexual instrument. No matter how good it is, it is still only a glorified Wiimote. Kinect I knew would end up being Microsoft's grab at Nintendo's casual market rather than actually trying to get a new audience, unlike Move that is at least trying. When Kinect gives me the ability to play a game like Borderlands, when I can actually punch enemies in the face by going through the motion in real life, when something actually good looking comes along, then I'll proceed to care about Kinect.
  • Sabtos - August 7, 2010 10:25 p.m.

    Did you really spell it "manoeuvres?"
  • tacehtselrahc - August 7, 2010 9:06 p.m.

    Everything about Kinect stinks of Wii.