Why is Kinect Outselling PlayStation Move?

Why is Kinect Outselling PlayStation Move?

This time last year, many of us were snickering at Microsoft’s “Project Natal” (aka Kinect) and taking bets on the size of the crater the camera unit would leave behind when the concept inevitably bombed. Now, with ten million Kinect units sold since November, only Microsoft is laughing–not only at our sheepishly hung heads, but at Sony’s PlayStation Move. Despite seeming like a much surer thing than the Kinect a year ago, the motion control device is quickly being lapped by Kinect at retail by a ratio of five-to-one. (Note that Wedbush’s data refers to system/accessory bundles, not individual Move or Kinect units sold.)

Sony’s Move and Microsoft’s Kinect are two different animals: The latter is a hands-free game station, whereas the former utilizes a motion control-based remote and is therefore familiar to Wii owners–which, at this point in history, accounts for something like half the world. So why is Move trailing Kinect so badly?

Maybe that familiarity worked against Sony, not for it. Some nicknames derived for the Move by the gaming community and press were “Wii 2” and “Wii HD.” Even if the names weren’t intended to be disparaging, they still initiate a sense of “been there, done that” in the reader. “I already have a Wii, and I don’t play it much; why do I need another motion controller?”

Sony also marketed the Move primarily for core gamers, which might also have been a problem in retrospect. Some core gamers still feel a bit stung over the supposed “core/casual” divide that the Wii helped perpetuate, and they’ve decided they’re done with motion controls as a result, however well those controls might be implemented into shooters and platformers.

Microsoft, on the other hand, marketed the Kinect very aggressively towards families and casual gamers with games like Kinect Sports, Kinectimals, and Dance Central. And it looks like those families and casual gamers still have a lot of room left in their hearts for what they perceive as cool new ideas. Moreover, Kinect was picked up by the media as 2010’s must-have Holiday Item, which gave it a huge boost thanks to exposure on mainstream news reports and newspapers.

This isn’t a case of “Kinect Wins, Move Loses” by any means, though. Both units are still young, and the holiday hype is long over. The PlayStation Move has plenty of time and opportunity to creep up on the Kinect and even the score, at least until Nintendo announces the real Wii 2 and complicates things further.

About Nadia Oxford
Nadia is a freelance writer living in Toronto. She played her first game at four, decided games were awesome, and has maintained her position since. She writes for 1UP.com, Slide to Play, GamePro and other publications, and is About.com’s Guide to the Nintendo DS.

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