Microsoft's Kinect sales for this holiday season have been pretty fantastic so far. What else could you call 2.5 million units sold with even higher sales being projected for the end of the year? It's easy to get caught up in this kind of number crunching, and assume that Microsoft is going to fly into next year ready to bring the fight to Sony's doorstep. But looking at 2011 right now, that doesn't appear farther from the truth. In fact, you could even go so far as to say that this next year is going to be Sony's foot forward in showing their commitment to those truly interested in the gaming world.
This isn't to criticize Microsoft's marketing plan or company expenditures, it would be stupid to assume they wouldn't want to advertise Kinect in any way. It is however, appropriate to ask what exactly is going to happen after Kinect. Third party games completely aside, what will the Xbox 360 be able to bring to the table that will offer those who don't want to invest a few hundred dollars in a system that can read hand waves and jumps? The answer is very little, aside from Gears of War 3 and perhaps even a new Halo title (in some form) all the Xbox really has to offer for 2011 is a slew of multiplatform titles. And of course, Kinect. Which is why they've spent ridiculous amounts of money trying to promote it to a new audience. Without it, they'd have very little to offer anyone.
Sony on the other hand has an almost staggering amount of unique hits to be released this upcoming year, and like the platform or not it's certainly admirable for a company to be seeking more first-party titles. Killzone 3, Last Guardian, Twisted Metal, InFamous 2, and LittleBigPlanet 2 are just a few of the unique games that will be hitting shelves for PS3 owners during the year, a list of titles that's impressive without including the previously Xbox 360 exclusive Mass Effect 2.
It's in this comparative list of games, rather than simply the marketing ploys that each companies use, which show to me what console appears to be more focused on core gamers. At least for next year anyway, it's hard to try and defend a console that's only going to be playing host to a wide variety of 'casual' motion control games in addition to one or two unique titles. This is of course, assuming that Microsoft doesn't have some massive secret plan that they've kept from the public. Odds are, considering how late in the game it would be for something like that, Xbox owners should expect a little disappointment for a change.
So is this a sign of a major shift in the console wars? Perhaps, it's taken PS3 a long time to catch up to the 360 due to quite a few reasons; arrogance in price point and available content immediately comes to mind. But with a rough start well in the past, it could be Microsoft's turn to sit back and re-evaluate how they're treating their loyal fans; because the fact of the matter is that if this year really does come to pass as a 'light' year for 360 gaming and 2012 isn't set to impress either the Xbox may as set itself to fight the Wii. The real gamers will just play PS3.
Move is just an alternative for Sony, Kinect is essential for Microsoft. And this is why Sony didn't spend boat loads of cash on marketing it, because they aren't relying on it. They don't need it to succeed, it's just one part of their offering. Microsoft on the other hand are more reliant on Kinect than they probably want to be.