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Sony: Kinect "seems very un-Microsoft"

Move engineer: "It's very hard to get anything useful" from current motion camera tech

Sony software engineer Anton Mikhailov has revealed why the PlayStation firm called off its research into motion camera controllers and instead turned to Move.

"We felt the cost of the camera outweighed the advantages of what it offered," the Move co-creator told GamesIndustry.biz sister site Eurogamer.

"When you make the games what [we] found was while it was more robust it didn't fundamentally enable new kinds of games. The games themselves still played like EyeToy games."

"So you lose these subtle and quick controls. You get a magical experience... You can move and something happens. But you lose that sense of connectedness to the game. You get a ton of latency."

The engineer claimed to remain surprised by the Xbox accessory's creation. I don't know why they did Kinect. It seems very un-Microsoft of them to be honest." He was also concerned the camera's cost was higher than it perhaps should be.

"In our research we certainly thought the sensor could sell for cheaper, but at the same time, when you're dealing with those companies, they're not always honest with you up front. They might say the cost is X and X, and then they say, 'We've got to put this extra chip in there,' and by the end the cost is triple or double."

Mikhailov claimed that for Sony to look at 3D cameras again, cost, refresh rate ("30Hz is awful") and resolution would have to improve. The latter, he felt, was a particular issue. "The 3D cameras we surveyed and what Kinect ended up using, they're 320x240 resolution.

"So when you're talking about tracking fingers, or even tracking things like the rotations of your hand, you're working with 10x10 pixels. It's very hard to get anything useful out of it."

He claimed that the more well-received Kinect games, such as Dance Central, were quietly using silhouette instead of skeletal tracking in order to compensate for the camera's limitations. "Skeleton-tracking is the hard thing. That's the neat thing about Kinect, but it's actually the hardest part."

The Sony man was bullish in maintaining that Move was a better solution for game-control, and that the best was yet to come. "We can certainly update it through firmware. The hardware specs we ended up with are good enough that we can get some more improvements out of them.

"The character control and animations are going to improve vastly because most games of this era were set up to do DualShock control. Everything was baked and scripted."

He also claimed that sometime PC gamers were finding that Move offered a superior experience for shooters than a gamepad.

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Alec Meer

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A 10-year veteran of scribbling about video games, Alec primarily writes for Rock, Paper, Shotgun, but given any opportunity he will escape his keyboard and mouse ghetto to write about any and all formats.

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