A correction has been made in this story. See below for details.NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Get ready to shake it. This holiday, video-game makers want everyone to quit being couch potatoes. It all began several years ago with the Nintendo Wii phenom of get-up-and-move gaming, but now competitors Sony PlayStation and Microsoft Xbox are introducing PlayStation Move and Xbox 360 Kinect, respectively. PlayStation claims superior control and sensitivity in its lollipop-like Move controllers, while Xbox is turning gamers' bodies into the controllers. That's right, no wands or sticks on Kinect, just arms and legs -- and voices. Meanwhile, Wii can sit back and enjoy its four-year lead, but for how long? We take stock of the players.
NINTENDO WIIHow It Works: The grandpa of the bunch, the Wii launched in 2006, with the console box, sensor bar for the top of the TV, motion-sensitive Wii remotes and the game Wii Sports. The sensor detects the remote's movement and translates that to the screen.
Cost: Initial bundle debuted at $249; currently $199. 30
Installed Base: 30 million units in U.S. through August, according to NPD Group
Top Games: Top-selling game is Wii Sports, but Wii Fit and Nintendo franchise titles like New Super Mario Bros. have also been huge hits. So far some 573 million Wii games have been sold worldwide as of June, according to a Nintendo financial report. First-party titles debuting this fall such as the just-released "Metroid: Other M" are getting good reviews.
Marketer in Charge: Cammie Dunaway, exec VP-sales and marketing for Nintendo of America, who has also worked at Yahoo and PepsiCo's Frito-Lay.
Agency: Leo Burnett, Chicago, is agency of record.
Marketing Plan: Nintendo may let Xbox and PlayStation fight itout for the get-up-and-go gamers it doesn't already have. A live-action ad for Metroid has been getting online attention, if only for the comparisons to Halo's live action ad. So far no additional Wii marketing has been planned for holiday.
Target Demographic:Casual gamers and their families. There are games for core gamers who prefer "Halo"-type games, but not nearly the depth of titles competitors have.
What the Industry Is Saying: While the Wii revolutionized the industry, most agree that the Wii has peaked. Sales have slowed and saw a decline for the first time last year (and so far this year), even though it's still far outselling PS3 and Xbox 360. In 2009, it sold 9.6 million units, more than the other two combined (4.8 million for Xbox and 3.3 million for PS3), according to NPD.
MICROSOFT KINECTHow It Works: The only hands-free motion gamer to date, Kinect, formerly known as Project Natal, works with a single-box motion sensor that sits in front of the TV and detects and translates a user's movements. Wave a hand to sign in and start playing. Kinect also includes voice controls.
Available: Nov. 4
Cost: Two bundles announced, a $400 and $300 package. The motion-sensor device alone, for those who already have an Xbox, costs $150 and comes with a game.
Installed Base: There are 21 million Xbox 360s in the market, and they are all potential Kinect housholds.
Top Games: Only eight games listed right now with eight coming soon. They include "Kinect Adventures," which will be boxed in the bundles; "Kinectimals," featuring exotic species for pets; "Kinect Sports," a kind of pumped up Wii Sports with "full body play" of soccer, volleyball, bowling, boxing and tennis; and Kinect Joy Ride where users reach out and pretend to grip and turn a steering wheel.
Marketer in Charge: Mike Delman, corporate VP-interactive entertainment business, global marketing. He moved over from Microsoft corporate central marketing group in 2008.
Agency: IPG's Agency TwoFifteen, San Francisco
Marketing Plans: Not much yet, other than several intro videos from E3 back in June. Microsoft is staging an Xbox Kinect Hands-On tour with two-to-three-day stops at dozens of malls and state fairs through the end of October. It's also running a promotion to Xbox Live subscribers to win Kinect hardware by signing up via a free "Kinect Experience" download.
Target Demographic: The opening slate of games clearly says "family" but it's expected Kinect will also reach out to its hardcore gamers and Live subscribers in the coming months.
What the Industry Is Saying: Unique cool, new technology that casts off controllers, but also potentially limiting in types of games. One drawback is the initial target outside the core Microsoft audience, as David Cole, analyst with DFC Intelligence, said. "Microsoft has simply not been strong in marketing to users outside its core. ... What does Xbox 360 Kinect offer that is not already on the Wii at a lower price?"
SONY PLAYSTATION MOVEHow It Works: The PlayStation Eye camera and Move motion controller work together to track a user's movements and relay that back to the screen, much like the Wii. All the equipment is compatible with any PS3 model.
Available: Sept. 17
Cost: For newbies to PS3, the complete bundle with console. Eye camera, one motion controller, standard controller and the game "Sports Champions" costs $400.
Installed Base: There are 13.2 million PS3 units, according to NPD, all of which and convert to Move with added hardware.
Top Games: Sports Champion is the signature title but games include Capcom's "Resident Evil 5," which will have Move capabilities with its Gold edition; EyePet, a virtually projected monkey-like pet that you can "play" with; and "Start the Party!" a collection of interactive mini-games.
Marketer in Charge: Peter Dille, senior VP-marketing for Sony Computer Entertainment America, is both a Sony and video-game industry veteran. IPG's Deutsch, L.A.
Marketing Plans: Expect PlayStation to be aggressive in going after the competition and touting Move's superior features such as Blu-ray and HD graphics. Kevin Butler, the PS3 spokesman played by actor Jerry Lambert, continues as the Move spokesman using scarcasm and deadpan humor and the tagline, "It only does everything" in TV ads that tweak the competition.
Target Demographic: Families seem to the the target out of the gate signaled by the first round of ads, but PlayStation will court its hard-core gameds with shooting/slashing capabilities.
What the Industry Is Saying: Kudos to the ultrasensitive game play, and the familiar buttons, as well as the seemingly low entry price point. The odd-looking remote has been the source of endless off-color jokes. Looks aside, critics think the hardware add ons add up too quickly to beome expensive,that it's still a bit me-too to the Wii, and are concerned with the lack of must-have titles at launch.
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CORRECTION: The number of Wii and Microsoft consoles sold was incorrect in the original story. The correct number of consoles sold to date in the U.S. are 30 million Wiis and 21 million Xbox 360s.