Activision approaches Move and Kinect with caution

When Sony and Microsoft launch new motion controllers for their respective game consoles later this year, Activision, publisher of the popular Call of Duty franchise, won’t be diving in with blind enthusiasm.

Activision is concerned that Playstation Move and Kinect for Xbox 360 will be too expensive at launch, and there won’t be enough of a market to invest in software development, so the publisher’s taking a cautious approach. My guess is that we won’t see any Move- or Kinect-supported games from Activision this year or early next year.

Activision approaches Move and Kinect with caution

“Move and Kinect, I think, will be interesting new opportunities to innovate certain franchises, but probably not for every kind of game,” Activision Chief Operating Officer Thomas Tippl told Gamasutra. “So, we’ll have to see how much of an install base they’re going to develop.”

Microsoft hasn’t announced a price for Kinect, but the Microsoft Store lists the motion-sensing camera at $150. Microsoft has called this price a “placeholder” that is subject to change.

Sony has put a price on all the Move’s components, including the $50 Move controller, the $40 Playstation Eye camera and an optional $30 secondary controller with analog joystick. Sony will also sell the main controller and Eye camera, with the game Sports Champions, for $100, and a Playstation 3 console bundle for $400, but you’d still need a secondary controller and possible another main controller for the full Move experience.

By comparison, Nintendo’s latest Wii bundle costs $200 and includes one Wii remote, one Nunchuk and two games. In that light, it’s easy to see why Activision is concerned about Move and Kinect pricing.

The real problem is that Sony and Microsoft didn’t introduce any unquestionably killer software at E3 last week. They need excellent first-party software to build an install base, because as Tippl’s comments show, publishers aren’t going to throw piles of money into game development if there’s no market. Unfortunately, the Wii Sports clones that both Sony and Microsoft demonstrated as marquis titles aren’t going to cut it, especially when the Wii is such an inexpensive alternative.