The big talk of the Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3) was clearly the launch of Microsoft’s Kinect and Sony’s Move for the Playstation 3. Say what you will about either motion controller, everyone was talking about them before, during and after the show. One thing that was definitely missing was some of the bigger franchises offering support for either one of them. What gives? Where was Call Of Duty? Where was Halo? Something had to be up. Activision COO COO Thomas Tippl shed some light on this in an interview with Gamasutra, and it looks like we are in a classic Catch-22 situation.
There is no doubt that even if gamers aren’t planning to buy the Move or Kinect, they’re talking about them, so it was a bit surprising when we walked away from E3 without hearing about support from some of the big publishers. Sure Sony is building Move support into Killzone 3, but that is a platform exclusive title (which makes the lack of Kinect support in Halo: Reach all that more of a stand-out), but where was Activision with some Call Of Duty love?
Thanks to the Modern Warfare sub-series, Call Of Duty is one of the biggest franchises in gaming right now, and with Call Of Duty: Black Ops due to hit stores this fall, you might have thought we would see some support. The problem, as Mr. Tippl so accurately put it, is pricing. “I think as a publisher, you have to be concerned about how the price drives a lot of the outcome of how big of an install base there’s going to be [for hardware],” he told Gamasutra, and he’s right.
The entire world is currently in an economic crisis, and both Microsoft and Sony are asking us to plunk down quite a bit of money on what boils down to some fancy controllers. True, they both add new features to our existing consoles, but we can either spend $150 (in the case of the Kinect) on a controller, or we can pick up three games and continue on as we always have.
This is a problem that has plagues gaming peripherals since the dawn of the home console. They promise us the world (Sega CD, anyone?), but people are reluctant to buy them until there is a “must own” game for them. On the flip-side, what developer wants to lay out the cash to build a “must own” game until there is enough people using the device? Hello chicken-and-the-egg scenario! “Which came first: the gamers or the games?”
Mr. Tippl expanded on this thought when he said, “Move and Kinect, I think, will be interesting new opportunities to innovate certain franchises, but probably not for every kind of game. So, we’ll have to see how much of an install base they’re going to develop.” The problem is, if we’re just looking at things like Kinectimals, will we ever see an action game that makes us duck and dodge behind imaginary barricades to get that next kill?
What say you? Are you willing to lay out the money to help build the install base so we can eventually get to those killer games?