Opinion: The PS3’s 2012 Line-Up Trumps Xbox360’s – Is Kinect To Blame?

Next year’s console line-ups appear to have the Xbox360 on the back foot, with the PlayStation 3 mustering a greater and more impressive array of exclusives. With Kinect games dominating Microsoft’s stable and a worrying lack of unique ‘hardcore’ titles on the way, Mark Butler asks whether the company is putting too much faith in its motion-gaming technology.

With the New Year almost upon us and gamers beginning to cast their eyes towards the possibilities that await in 2012, there has already been much talk about the relative strength of PlayStation 3’s upcoming exclusive titles compared to those heading for the Xbox360.

Both consoles will get hugely-anticipated games such as Mass Effect 3, Bioshock: Infinite and Kingdoms Of Amular, but when it comes to the exclusives, there’s little doubt that Sony’s platform has the choicest cuts.

PS3 owners can look forward to Twisted Metal, Starhawk, The Last Of Us and – most likely – God Of War IV, not to mention Team Ico’s new project The Last Guardian, which is a mouth-watering prospect for anybody who has had the pleasure of sampling the developer’s earlier masterpieces. Added to this, the quite brilliant-looking horror Amy will also be hitting the PlayStation network.

Xbox360 owners, on the other hand, are left with PC ports Minecraft and Witcher 2, latest Molyneux hype-athon Fable: The Journey, the new entry in fanboy cause celebre Halo, and Alan Wake’s American Nightmare – a downloadable successor to the solid but underwhelming exclusive of 2010. Not only are these distinctly less exciting than their PS3 equivalents, they are also notable for a worrying lack of originality and ambition – with the rival console mustering at least a couple of new IPs, but the Xbox’s line-up relying on the same old names, and high-profile titles that have already made a splash on PC.

The latest Fable may be fun - but it's hardly a match for this

Of course, if we’re taking ‘new’ experiences, you could always point to the seemingly never-ending roll-call of Kinect games that have been announced (including Kinect Star Wars), but therein lies a substantial part of the problem that the Xbox is getting itself into. For although there are a number of possible reasons as to why the PS3 has better console exclusives next year (its hardware has more potential and developers are finally getting to grips with its complexities; its in-house production arguably has greater pedigree; certain developers have closer working relationships with Sony, forged over many years etc.), the explanation for Xbox360’s comparable lack of competition in that department may lie in a problematic over-reliance on the motion-gaming possibilities of Kinect.

While PlayStation Move is being treated by Sony more as a fun supplement to its ‘hardcore’ range of titles, Microsoft appear to be placing more and more faith in the power of its motion technology, to the extent that almost all of its 2012 exclusives will utilize the Kinect system.

No one doubts the impressive nature of Kinect’s motion capture and voice-recognition attributes, but in an attempt to win over the substantial and lucrative casual gaming market currently dominated by the Wii, Microsoft seem to think that their baby can provide the real goods above and beyond conventional console games – and are investing heavily in that belief.

The trouble is, the vast majority of Xbox360 owners – of which I happen to be one –  fall firmly under the ‘hardcore’ banner. And many remain unconvinced that Kinect is anything other than a fun gimmick, or a cool toy with which to keep the kids happy, or entertain an occasional house-party.

Microsoft appear to understand this, as they have gone to great pains to encourage third-party developers to come up with Kinect titles that will appeal to the Xbox360’s core ownership. Howewer, the initial results on this front have been at best disappointing, and at worst outright embarrassing. Zombie brawler Rise Of Nightmares received a less than glowing reception earlier this year, while Kinect’s ‘first FPS’, Blackwater, has been savaged by critics.

'Hardcore' Kinect games have yet to convince

That really shouldn’t come as a surprise. Popular hardcore games – particularly FPSs – are already perfectly served by that beautiful old innovation known as the control pad, and the fact is that nothing breaks immersion more than prancing around like a tit in your living room –  just as nothing makes less sense than manually turning to look, or rearranging your stance to move, when a mere flick of a single analogue stick would do that for you normally.

Ultimately, Sony’s understanding of the time and place for motion gaming appears to be paying off, as their PlayStation Move titles will serve exactly the kind of audience who are open to them, while continued focus on serving up top new traditional console games will delight hardcore fans who would much rather get stuck into the latest epic RPG or immersive shooter, than dance around in front of their TV.

Microsoft, on the other hand, seem to believe they can convince millions of gamers that the future lies in motion gaming, ahead of the experience they have grown up with, know and love.

Such a strategy is unlikely to succeed. Gamers can be a stubborn bunch at the best of times, and they happen to know pretty damn well what they do and don’t like. Even that half-way house – the integration of Kinect features into games that predominately utilize the control pad – faces a problematic future. You only have to remember the uproar unleashed by the announcement that Mass Effect 3 would support Kinect, to see that.

Microsoft and its partners can can serve up Kinect Star Wars and Gears Of War: Take Cover Behind Your Sofa Edition to their hearts’ content, but the simple truth is that what most of its consumers want is a reboot to rival Twisted Metal, or a new IP to compete with The Last Guardian.

Judging the year ahead on that basis, it’s fair to say that 2012 may be significantly more rewarding for those with a PS3 to their name. And this is something that Microsoft should work seriously hard to prevent from becoming a trend – even if it means acknowledging the limitations of their favourite new toy.

36 Responses to “Opinion: The PS3’s 2012 Line-Up Trumps Xbox360’s – Is Kinect To Blame?”
  1. Nipponiken says:

    More OPINION piece to downlplay rival console…hmmm.. yummy.
    Microsoft fans are the EVILS
    Sony fans are the SAINTS
    That means…bad-mouthing Sony is indeed a SIN to the eyes of the SAINTS.

    All religious SONY SAINTS will spread the non-sense like a GOSPEL.

    HAIL SONY..not!!

    • Mark Butler says:

      As I say in the article, I actually happen to be an Xbox360 owner. The reason I chose to write the article is that 2012 potentially sees a downturn in the quality of the console’s exclusives compared to those of the PS3, and I believe Kinect may be part of the problem. Nothing more – nothing less.

    • LEGOBOY says:

      Can’t agree more, actually Sony is actually the real EVIL there…

      It’s Sony’s business tactic to hype and preach it’s exclusive titles like a self-proclaimed superstar.
      Look at Playstation Vita, for example, is another mistake done by Sony.. pricey custom memory card and sucky battery life. The 25 games at launch should not dictate your money. Still, Sony will try so hard to make money out of you, just like greedy companies in general.

      • Zara says:

        Errrr….pot calling the kettle black! Microsoft is the biggest capitalist there currently is in the technology world???? Wake Up!

      • Jah says:

        “pricey custom memory card”? What about the Xbox and it’s pricey proprietary hard drive? They all do this. Just another way to make some money, which they can’t do using a standard controller or interface.

      • John says:

        Don’t worry. It won’t be long before $ony bites the dust. With their stock prices obliterated during the past year, their PoS NOTwork, The PS3 and now the Vita being the Epic Fail of the gaming industry. Can’t wait what Anonymous is going to make of their new threats to $ony because of SOPA support. It’s going to be fun watching $ony go down like a burning meteorite next year.

    • Awaiken says:

      NOT, what are you Borat? Seriously haven’t heard that in years. But anyway, it’s a shame that you can’t offer an opinion anymore or make comparisons without being labeled a fanboy. Get real and grow up. It’s widely considered that wii’s third party support is pretty poor, round it make me a MS or Sony fanboy to make that statement? I’m a 360 owner and nothing has me excited about next year. Pull your head out of your ass.

    • MrDude says:

      It is just the truth for a games console you want games and if you are a hardcore gamer then PS3 is where you want to be.

  2. HD Owner says:

    Lol dude WTF ?? So you are telling me that games that we dont know anything about (God of War IV, Last of US, Last Guardian) are better than other games we dont know anything about (Alan Wake: Nightmare, Halo 4, Fable: Journey, New Microsoft Games)…

    You sir are full of shit, plus Twisted Metal and StarHawk are really bad games i dont know how people like such bad games… And Multi tittles are by far the best games next year :

    Mass Effect 3
    Bioshock Infinite
    Max Payne 3
    GTA V

    Keep the flaming, i rather play Kinect Games that Twisted Metal or StarHawk. The others i dont know anhything about them yet.

    • Mark Butler says:

      Thanks for your measured and articulate response. This has nothing to do with flaming (see my response to the above comment). As for your point about the cross-platform games, I acknowledge that in the piece, but the truth is that as it stands, it is generally agreed – and in my opinion quite reasonable to suggest – that Twisted Metal, Last Guardian, Last Of Us and God Of War IV are more exciting prospects than Fable: The Journey and Halo 4, though of course it ultimately comes down to a matter of opinion.

    • Savoiefaire says:

      No you sir are full of shit. The article is simply comparing the number of exclusives on each console and discussing possible reasons why Sony has more to offer in 2012. Why are you so insulted and feel the need to bash Sony games.
      PS the Beta for StarHawk was pretty good. The best games you listed are multi platform. The article speaks to EXCLUSIVES on each console. I own both but perfer Sony. I purchased the Xbox for exclusives such as Left for Dead and Gears but likely won’t be using much in the next year to come due to the LACK of exclusives.

    • Awaiken says:

      Did you just criticize the author for talking about games we know nothing about and then make judgement calls about games that haven’t even been released in the same breath? You’re totally In the minority here. I don’t know anyone who plays kinect games, it’s for kids. The novelty of motion gaming should die.

  3. True Gamer says:

    It’s funny I heard the same thing last year with PS3 releasing an exclusive every month which nobody cared about and between Gears 3,Forza 4 and COD this year I played my 360 so much I almost forgot I had a PS3 LOL. With Halo 4,Mass effect 3 and a new Alan wake coming in 2012 MS doesn’t need more games than PS3, but it would be nice.

  4. Mad_Mack says:

    The author of this article likes to play Skyrim while wearing women’s underwear.

  5. Carla says:

    This is really funny. I don’t know why this author is so jealous of the ps3, wow. By the way, I own both of these big names. I just have silver on the xbox because I refuse to pay for live, when the ps3 gives you FREE online play and blu-ray quality… Something xbox doesn’t have.

  6. Monkeyzking says:

    Good article look at the splash of hate already. And ps to the asshole up there, the Starhawk BETA is better than Halo in my opinion, and twisted metal will probably be amazing. The article speaks the truth, and while Xbox Exclusives are great, the number of quality ps3 ones is better.

  7. Dan Jenko says:

    I must confess, the Playstation fanboy inside me read this article with a smug grin. It’s unsurprising that Playstation have more exclusives as Sony have bought many critically acclaimed studios like Naughty Dog, Media Molecule and Sucker Punch, whereas Microsoft haven’t.

  8. LW says:

    And yet Halo 4 will outsell all those sony exclusives combined – lol. And where did it say The Last Guardian and The Last of Us is releasing next year?

    • maxon says:

      The only reason halo 4 will sell so well is the same reason gears 3 sold so well.. (360 63 million consoles) and only 1 good game thats exclusive to 360. So Halo4 will sell well cause the 360 system has nothing else to look forward to. Before gears 3 and forza4 you guys were playing 2010 games.
      Ps3 has alot more to offer and more verity so not everyone is going to buy every ps3 exclusive. Ps3 has the multiplats and a large amount of exclusives that suit all types of tastes so the sales won’t be as high as ps3 users have more to choose from. 360 has 1 great 3rd person franchise and 1 popular fps franchise gears of war and halo. Most 360 hardcore gamers got 360 for these games and its these games that 360 is famous for. Ps3 has its 1st person shooters, 3rd person shooters, adventure, platform.
      As good as gears 3 is, it got beat in best360 game by a multiplat game.
      So end of the day halo 4 will sell well but only coz their is nothing else 360 got going for it.

  9. tagzskie says:

    I dont see anything wrong w/ this article, i guess w/ xbox outselling ps3 this holiday it also add the count of the xbox fanboys in their side. Its no wonder i can see a lot of fanboys reaction! Anyway the one who told that he/she prefer kinect games over starhawk and twisted metal is 100% a casual gamer (though its not suprising because since that’s the target of microsoft when they create kinect). I for 1 have an xbox 360 but never played kinect games why? because hardcore gamers not like kinect games (not all i mean but the majority). Also this article is about exclusive and dont be offended by its content, dont show how fanboy you are.. The only advise i can give is buy all console, dont limit yourself into xbox, when you do 100% you became open mind when topic like this comes..

  10. sdplisken says:

    this just in, PS3 has kicked the shitbox’s ASS in exclusives since 2008
    ur delusional if you dont agree

    the only year that was even close was 2010 (but now mass effect2 is on the big boy machine now)

    have fun with kinect crapbox fans, i expect halo4 to sell billions (i mean what else is there for shitbox?)

    dont forget xbots, YOU ARE THE CONTROLLER

  11. Bob says:

    Umm, this guy used Last Guardian which may be canceled and has no release date, and another game God of War 4 that’s just speculation.

    Come on bro, your bias is showing.

    Besides, this type of “Xbox is doomed cause PS3 has all the exclusives” commentary from the media has been going on practically since PS3 came out, it never amounts to anything. 2011 was PS3’s “best” exclusives year ever and it didn’t blow away 360 in sales. So keep wishing, media.

    • Mark Butler says:

      My bias is showing? (sigh)

      Let’s try again shall we? As I state in the article – I am actually an Xbox360 owner. This isn’t about saying the PS3 is better than the 360. They both have their own relative strengths and weaknesses, and there is a great deal to recommend about both. This is about looking at both sets of exclusives for next year and ultimately concluding that Sony’s line-up looks stronger. And you know what? Even if the Xbox’s exclusives net bigger sales, that doesn’t automatically make the games better than their counterparts. That argument is redundant if we’re talking about artistic merit or entertainment value rather than pure economics.

      As a general point, I actually think it’s depressing that no comparison can be made between consoles in an article without a comments thread descending into fanboy-arguments and petty insults. Furthermore, this piece was actually more about the impact of Kinect on Microsoft’s plans going forward, yet that seems to have been largely overlooked.

    • Awaiken says:

      The developers of last guardian have said its still in production just within the last month.

  12. jeff says:

    I thought 2011 was supposed to be the year where console line-ups appeared to have the Xbox360 on the back foot, with the PlayStation 3 mustering a greater and more impressive array of exclusives?

    And yet, still the 360 still manages to shift a tonne of hardware, and multi-platform games still seem to sell better on Microsoft’s console?

    This is another whinging Sony fanboi piece… and can be summed up in three words: “Waaah waah waah”

  13. Smootherkuzz says:

    It’s funny how the fight of who’s better just keep rollin along. I find some Kinect games fun and so do other family members, sure there is going to be good ones and not so good but that’s true across all consoles KINECT.EYE or whatever. It’s only going to get better with time, PS, XBOX will keep bringing it. My take is to find what you like and have fun thats all that matters.Game On!!!!!!

  14. Objective says:

    I have a Ps3 and I would say I am a fanboy, however, I would like to say that both machines are good and unique in their own way. I would have liked to try halo, left for dead and doom on the ps3 but will not unless they become multi plats and the microdorks will not try god of war 3, uncharted, resistence etc. Now thats out of the system, lets look at this objectively, shall we –> what else has microsoft provided xbox fans other than halo, gears, fable and left for dead? What new titles have they provided? It appears they are milking their past success and are not trying new avenues, the old adage, if it aint broke don’t fix it. Ps3 has some interesting exclusives comming out and although microsoft is forcing kinect i believe that they are setting themselves up for failure. Its like going to mcadonald’s and ordering a big mac and themm telling you that the cheeese burger is better for you! I think that the ps3 way of thinking is going to work b/c there are more people who like new ideas, games etc –> hardcore gamers compared to casual, now I could bve wrong and i am fine with that but we will see what happens in 2012. I feel microsoft is feeling a little too confident and it may just bit them in the ass but time will tell…

  15. Tom says:

    I actually thought that every year PS3 has better “exclusives” 2011 is no different. I would have put my $$$ on Sony, but sales didn’t really go that way. Can definitely agree with what you say though. Another year for Sony exclusives, however, Microsoft keeps pulling in the cash and winning the battle. Guess exclusives don’t matter quite as much as they used to maybe. Just to be clear, I own all systems, but favor the 360 for xbox live and honestly much better controllers

  16. Curtis says:

    Xbox will have the superior version of multiplatform games, you also forget the witcher 2 comes to xbox 2012. as well as minecraft. apparently an arcade game called “fez” comes out and it will be good.

    i really want the witcher 2… it won’t look anywhere near as good as PC, but it is supposed to be on par with skyrim.

  17. maxon says:

    This article is pretty spot on. You 360 fanboys can cry all you like but facts are facts. Microsoft is starting to ditch the 360 for the next gen system, they did it with Xbox for xbox360 and they doing it again. You can tell Microsoft is in this for the money only. Yeah Sony in it for the money but least they support their products. Look at ps2, still being supported.
    Lets push exclusives to one side and talk about multiplats. For the people who think 360 has the better version are just plane ignorant or well misinformed. Here are some that I know of :
    Batman arkham asylum ps3v gets joker playable.
    Ninja gaiden 1&2 ps3 gets sigma which has more content like more levels and playable characters.
    Medal of honor ps3v gets moh home front free.
    Mortal Kombat 9 ps3v gets kratos character and full 3d support.
    portal 2 ps3v gets free PC/Mac copy and has cross platform play.
    Dead space 2 ps3v gets DP extraction.
    Battlefield 3 ps3v gets all early dlc and free copy of bf1943.
    New assassins creed ps3v get free copy of AC1.
    Goldeneye 007 ps3v gets ps move support and i think exclusive dlc.
    Need for speed the run ps3v gets exclusive dlc.
    Saints row the 3rd ps3 v was said to get exclusive missions, not sure if this was carried out?.
    L.A Noire ps3 v gets exclusive missions.
    This is what springs to mind. Now for new games.
    counter strike ps3v has Bluetooth mouse and keyboard support, PS move support and cross platform play with PC players.
    Bio shock 3 ps3v gets free Bio shock 1 and has PS move support.

    So you see not only does ps3 get more support on first party devs but love from third party devs to.
    The xbox 360 whats it really got now days?
    Not good for dvd’s, crap for avi/divx movies, costs you a fee to play online, over priced HDD limited to 320, Next to no exclusives that are original, has less content on multiplats… what was it 360 boys say? oh “360 is all about the games” YEAH RIGHT!.
    The only reason to get a 360 now days is to play with friends on that system..thats it. For a ALL media console ps3 is the best on the market that not even pc can match.
    2012 for ps3
    Starhawk, twisted metal, startrek, dust514, SSX (i think is still ps exclusive?), possible god of war4.
    360…Halo4… You 360 boys say about ps3 not having games and being epic failure..YOU ARE DELUDED!

  18. botch consoles says:

    guys i have both consoles and both are great but the the best exclusives are ps3’s they obviously win this gens console wars becoz of their amazing and memorable array of exclusives whereas in xbox the only games i remember playing are halo and gears of war series

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