The Playstation 4 currently beats out the Xbox One with a $100 price point difference, but it seems that didn’t come without some sort of sacrifice. The Playstation 4 Camera (The Eye?) will not come bundled with the console. It will instead become a separate add-on purchase.
Some might not consider this a loss – in fact, there’s likely to be people very happy with this decision. They were never going to use the camera to begin with, so it being taken out of the console price is more like a bonus than anything else. But it now means that there’s less incentive for developers to create content that utilises the device.
Neither the original Kinect or the Playstation Move were required purchases on their respective consoles, even if they might later have appeared in console bundles. As a result, we didn’t see a great deal of support for them, meaning they didn’t sell well, meaning even less developers would see any reason to support it, meaning even less customers would consider buying them, meaning…etc. It’s a vicious cycle.
So far the Kinect hasn’t produced any games that I would consider particularly compelling – most are family themed party games meant to be treated as light experiences, and the actual technology behind the peripheral makes controlling some games look more entertaining to play for the stupidity of it than any actual enjoyment. The Move has fared much worse. It seemed to disappear entirely for a few years and has only reappeared now with the Wonderbook. My Playstation 3 came bundled with a Move controller but the only thing I’ve ever used it for was the Move-enhanced edition of Heavy Rain (I thought it worked quite well for that game, I’ll admit, but Heavy Rain is a very different sort of game, the Move was only useful because the game was relatively unique). There simply hasn’t been enough support for them. In the eyes of many, neither of these peripherals have been compelling at any point, and seeing them getting attention again with the next generation is just something to sigh about.
Microsoft at least have the advantage of the Kinect 2.0 being a requirement bundled with every Xbox One console. It’s more likely that the Kinect 2.0 will develop and grow over time as part of that requirement. Whether or not we’ll actually see a wealth of content for it remains to be seen, but they’re in a position where it’s certainly more viable. The simple inclusion of the Kinect 2.0 means that there’s a bigger audience with the potential to try it.
While the decision to undercut the Xbox One’s price point has been largely successful, Sony now run the risk of their camera doing a disappearing act, just as the Move did in the past. That’s if these peripherals end up becoming an important part of the next generation.