XBox (with Kinnect) v. Wii Cont’d

by Jonah Goldberg

Lots of helpful email has come in, but this guy is clearly auditioning to be my Game Console Guy:

Mr. Goldberg,

Credential wise, I have owned the Wii since it was released, have well over 40 games for the system and am, in general, a huge Nintendo fanboy. I have had an XBOX360 since around August and it mostly just collects dust because there isn’t a lot of family fare on it.

Now that my bias is laid out, on to the discussion, the Wii provides a much more robust offering of family friendly games. The 360 is geared more toward shooter hobbyists who like realistic graphics and “mature” content. The Wii gears more to the whole family at the expense of what the 360 offers. There are very few games on the Wii that contains the sex, violence and gore that some of the 360 games contain. So here’s a little pro-con for each of the components you mentioned:

Winner: Kinect
Explanation: The Wii is a system that prided itself on being cheap, compatible with the Gamecube, and small (not much living room space in Japan). That comes at a price and it doesn’t even have half the horsepower that the 360 has. But most kids games are fairly cartoonish, not needing the extreme graphical output the 360 puts out. But when looking at a family game on the Wii that is also on the 360, there really isn’t much of a comparison.

Family Friendly Lineup
Winner: Wii
Explanation: The Wii has been out longer than the Kinect and it’s entire mission has been to incorporate as much of the family in the game as possible. The 360 was initially introduced as the latest and greatest hardcore games machine and so the Kinect is an attempt to get some attention from the Wii loving family members.  Their current offerings are a clear indication of that move, sports games that match much of what the Wii has.  The Wii is the current leader in this area, but the potential for the Kinect is far greater than that of the Wii.  Pretty much everything the Wii can do has been done, whereas the Kinect is so new and offers spatial effects that the Wii doesn’t, so it’s potential has more upside than the Wii.

Winner: Wii
Explanation: The only reason the Wii wins this is because it is cheaper.  The value of what you get with the 360 and Kinect is far superior to the Wii however. $350 entry price is a lot more than $200 and the games are $60 instead of $50, but the 360 does a lot more as far as streaming, offers better graphics and more potential in the motion controls.  If none of that matters to you, then the Wii is the clear winner. If that does interest you, then value may play a bigger role than just price.

Winner: Kinect
Explanation: The Wii is only tracks the movement of the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, so you could technically sit for all games, though my family rarely just sits.  The Kinect has a little trouble tracking you while sitting since it can’t map your skeleton, almost requiring you to stand.  Some of the biggest games for the Wii (Donkey Kong Country Returns, Super Mario All Stars, New Super Mario Bros Wii, Kirby’s Epic Yarn) can be played from the couch with little to no movement.  There are no games that I can think of for the Kinect that allows you to sit.  I prefer to sit and game sometimes since it can get tiresome moving around, so the Wii allows me to do that where the Kinect doesn’t.  But if you don’t want your daughter playing video games unless they are movement based, then the Kinect offers the advantage.

You didn’t ask which has better motion controls, but I think it’s something to consider.  If you compare similar experiences on the Wii and Kinect (bowling, boxing and dancing), the Kinect does better at boxing and dancing and worse at bowling.  Just Dance and Just Dance 2 for the Wii will have you moving around every bit as much as Dance Central on the Kinect, but the Dance Central game tracks your entire body movement better than the Just Dance series, making for a more robust experience.  Fighting with swords or bowling like in Wii Sports suffers on the Kinect because there is not physical tether to the objects on the screen.

Anyway, I’m pretty well versed on this subject, so if you have any questions or would like me to expand on some of the topics I discussed, feel free to email me and I will be more than happy to help.

Merry Christmas! and Happy Hanukkah!

The Corner

The one and only.