Guide to Motion Gaming: PlayStation Move, XBox Kinect, WiiMotion Plus

The latest trend in gaming is game consoles that recognize your movements in the “real world.” If you don’t have a recent home game console yet, you can buy one as part of a bundle which includes the equipment and games that you need. If you do have a game console released within the last 5 years or so, there’s no need to upgrade; all you need are the right games and accessories.

Here’s a look at what your options are for each console!

XBox 360: Kinect ($149 separately; $99 as part of a bundle)

This is the most popular of the motion gaming accessories, and with good reason. The XBox 360’s Kinect accessory combines 3d cameras, a microphone, and a motion sensor, and can track your movement in real time; in essence, your whole body becomes the controller. It can even pick up on your facial expressions, and mirror them on your XBox 360 avatar in certain titles.

To get started with Kinect, all you need is a Kinect sensor. No extra controllers are required; you become the controller, and Kinect can also recognize your movements or voice commands in the XBox 360 menus. Multiple players can play at once, or take turns. The biggest thing that you need? A lot of clear space in front of the sensor, at least 6 to 8 feet.

PlayStation 3: PlayStation Move ($99)

Sony’s PlayStation Move accessory is, in essence, a baton with a brightly-colored ball at the tip. It uses a Kinect-style sensor to detect the position of that ball, and then projects whatever it represents on the screen. So for instance, you can twirl it around in dancing games, or draw it back to represent nocking an arrow into a bow.

If you’re getting a PlayStation Move, you’ll want to keep in mind that whether you’re buying it separately or as part of a bundle, it only comes with one controller. You’ll want an extra controller for each person who wants to play, if you aren’t going to take turns; at least one extra would let two people play head to head. Another option is a “light gun” accessory, which is essentially a stock that you mount the controller in to use it to shoot things on screen. This only works with games that are PlayStation Move compatible, though.

Wii: Wii MotionPlus ($39)

The Wii MotionPlus is Nintendo’s answer to the PlayStation Move. It’s slightly less precise, but it works with a large number of games and has less lag. You can buy a Wii MotionPlus accessory to put onto an existing Wii Remote, or just buy a new “Wiimote” that includes the technology; most new Wii consoles will come with a Wiimote that has it built in. Again, though, make sure to choose games that are compatible with the feature.

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