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Pre-E3: Study Claims Purchase Intent For PlayStation Move, Natal Below 10 Percent
Pre-E3: Study Claims Purchase Intent For PlayStation Move, Natal Below 10 Percent
June 10, 2010 | By Kris Graft

June 10, 2010 | By Kris Graft
More: Console/PC

Sony's PlayStation Move and Xbox 360's Project Natal motion control solutions have been garnering a lot of the spotlight from core gamers and the press, but a new study reflects currently low purchase intent for the new devices.

Research firm OTX's U.S. tracking study GamePlan Insights polled a group of 2,000 gamers between May 23 and June 5, 2010, and found that 8 percent of the Xbox 360 market intends to buy Natal, and 6 percent of the PlayStation 3 market intends to purchase Move.

Of the people that are already planning on buying Natal and Move, 25 percent plan to preorder the controllers.

The low purchase intent figures reflect the current lack of information about compatible games for the devices. Microsoft and Sony are expected to reveal more motion-compatible games at next week's E3 event in L.A., where the controllers will be a central attraction, after which purchase intent may rise.

Neither piece of hardware has officially launched (Natal still goes by its codename), and Microsoft in particular plans on backing the controller's release with a substantial marketing push.

The GamePlan Insights study also said that 15 percent of the Xbox 360 market is aware of Natal, while the same percentage of the PS3 market is aware of the Move.

The study showed that Natal intenders have an average age of 25, versus 28 for the Move. Also, 30 percent of Move intenders are female, compared to 20 percent for Natal.

Natal intenders are also closely aligned with core Xbox 360 game tastes, with four out of five saying they like to play shooting games.

"While we are still months away from launch, the current data suggests that Natal gamers are definitely Xbox 360 purists, while Move gamers have a stronger interest in other platforms," OTX said.

Move intenders' tastes are more varied across genres like action, role-playing and shooters, which rank closely together as the top three preferred genres, OTX said.

The study revealed the top five games that Natal and Move intenders are currently interested in, exhibiting the gaming tastes of these early adopters:

Titles with strongest overlap among Natal intenders:

1. Gears of War 3 – X360 (47%)
2. Fable III – X360 (42%)
3. Call of Duty: Black Ops – X360 (38%)
4. Halo: Reach – X360 (34%)
5. Dead Space 2 – X360 (26%)

Titles with strongest overlap among Move Intenders:

1. LittleBigPlanet 2 – PS3 (42%)
2. Gran Turismo 5 – PS3 (32%)
3. SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs – PS3 (30%)
4. The Legend of Zelda 2 – Wii (26%)
5. Super Mario Galaxy 2 – Wii (21%)

View graph of Move intenders' top preferred genres

View graph of Natal intenders' top preferred genres

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Jacque Choi
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I wonder how much that would jump up, if they were to port over the entire Non-Nintendo Wii library.


Bryson Whiteman
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Yeah, I'd buy both if they came with Mario Tennis!

Jason Wilson
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I don't see many current XBOX owners buying NATAL...I see much less PS3 owners buying Move. I imagine, however, NATAL pulling sales from Wiiple and potential Wiiple-types, creating new (and casual) 360 owners. They could be easily "wowed" by NATAL's hands-free tech (much moreso than Move) and jump on the "next cool thing".

Nicholas Ferrara
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If your a Xbox fanboy or a PS3 fanboy... You have to admit that they are both terrible ideas. Socom 4 was the closet thing to get me to care.

Jacque Choi
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If a higher-rez "better graphics" version of some better made "Wii Sports-knockoff" came out, with online multiplayer capabilities, I bet those numbers would shoot up.

Right now, nobody is really sure what they're buying with Natal/Move. Is it going to be like Robbie the Robot/Track and Field/DDR Pad, where there's only 3 games out for the thing?

Scott Lepthien
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The problem here is that they "polled a group of 2,000 gamers", now I don't know what was used to classify them as gamers but in my experience people who consider themselves "gamers" are typically not all that causal and thus not exactly the target audience of these new devices. I'd be far more interested to know what non-gamers know/think about these devices as well as extremely casual Wii users as I think they will probably decide how well Natal and Move do.

Groove Stomp
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@Jason Wilson

If Wii owners were so easily influenced by "Wow" factor and technology, then I doubt they would have purchased a Wii to begin with. The Wii is easily the least impressive technology-wise of the three current-gen consoles, and for that reason also has the smallest "wow" factor. If you're talking about ease-of-use and accessibility; well, then I think you might be onto something.

Brett Williams
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Considering the install base size of consoles is in the 10s of millions a sample size of 2,000 is insufficient to gauge any actual information. Even 8% of 20 million is 1.6 million units.

I think the fact that Natal has the most cost effective 3D camera available to consumers makes it an interesting hardware choice. Whether non-enthusiasts will care is questionable.

Ed Alexander
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While scientific by no means, it isn't very difficult to see the "core" audience to the consoles (at least those with a likelihood to be a member of an online gaming community) voice their distaste with motion controls being brought to the 360/PS3. Now, there is always the rule about a vocal minority against a silent majority to consider, but... well if I was a bettin' man, I would put money on Natal/Move being followed up with statements from Microsoft and Sony six months post-launch stating something to the effect of "...did not live up to projected sales expectations."

Even if just 2000 of tens of millions, these numbers reflect that sentiment trend and shouldn't be dismissed due to a sample size. I, and I feel many gamers, are already on the Do Not Want side of the fence, but given the right circumstances (read: not Wii shovelware with better graphics) could have interest sparked. But I'd call that an uphill battle for the developers, especially launch title developers who have a very strict deadline on ship.

Joshua McDonald
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I second Jacque. People don't understand what software will be available, and until they do, of course they aren't interested. A company could announce that they were releasing a game console with 10x the power of the current gen stuff, but until they showed some great games, few would care. Neither company has really shown what software is going to be with the hardware.

Seems a bit wasteful to have this poll right before E3, unless they're planning for a before/after poll to show how well E3 marketing worked.

Anthony Clay
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I can't recall a single title that has me excited about either platform. Also, I was REALLY bummed after who knows how many failed Wii shovel-ware titles. Plus, Wasn't this stuff first "announced" like a year ago??

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Russell Carroll
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There are only a handful of successful motion controlled games on the Wii to begin with, and outside of Nintendo only 2 or 3 motion control games that have been successful at all.

Many of Nintendo's biggest hits (Wii Fit, Mario Kart, New Super Mario Bros., Zelda, Galaxy) aren't exactly motion controlled either (nearly for the wheel in Mario Kart, but tilt controls aren't what Move is adding to the PS3, and Natal may create something WiiFit like, but it's the balance board that made that game sell).

Still this survey is too soon to be very relevant. It reminds me of the purchase intent of the 3DS that was done a month or so ago that showed low purchase intent for that yet unknown platform. It's too early to be doing surveys that are useful or informative.

That said, I wouldn't be surprised by motion controls not setting the PS3 or X360 on fire. Outside of Wii Sports (+ the sequel), no purely motion controlled game has set the Wii world on fire either. I believe that's more a reality of the limitation of games that work well with motion controls than anything, and something that MS and Sony will soon be dealing with to either success or failure.

Matthew Carter
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I have seen no successful marketing for either motion platform, who are they targeting? Hardcore Gamers?

Well if that's true, then of course the outlook isn't good. HC gamers need titles or word of mouth to drive sales more so than the current marketing direction.

Are they targeting casual gamers, who's homes are filled with Wii consoles that may be collecting dust? They need to see those titles to get excited and spend their dollars.

Are they targeting general owners? If they haven't purchased a Wii by now, maybe a less expensive purchase will be more appealing. But how are you going to get knowledge into those peoples' hands.

Very curious. Post E3 reflection will be interesting.

Doug Poston
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It will be interesting to see how these numbers change after E3.

John Gordon
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One the one hand we haven't seen software for either of these devices yet, and software is really what makes hardware successful. On the other hand I'd bet the best motion control game to come out this year will have the word "Zelda" in the title.

Jeremy Reaban
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Uh, they haven't even started to market these things yet period. So of course you haven't seen any successful ones.

I mean, all that has been even shown of Natal is a tech demo. And Move isn't much better, except you've got a couple Kevin Butler spots. They've been holding back for E3. After that is done, we'll start to see some serious marketing

Capitan NewTech
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@Russell Carroll

"Many of Nintendo's biggest hits (Wii Fit, Mario Kart, New Super Mario Bros., Zelda, Galaxy) aren't exactly motion controlled either (nearly for the wheel in Mario Kart, but tilt controls aren't what Move is adding to the PS3, and Natal may create something WiiFit like, but it's the balance board that made that game sell)."

What about wii sports resort? It's a game that is nearly 100% motion controlled.

Denis Nickoleff
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These results shouldn't at all be surprising. We don't yet have any comprehension of how were're going to use it, and there are no details on how many games will use it and how. There's not enough information to justify a purchace on something that's probably going to cost at least 100 dollars.

Russell Carroll
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@ Capitan NewTech

Wii Sports Resort is mentioned in my post as one of the few great Wii Motion Controlled games (4th paragraph). I totally agree on that one, it didn't have the Sonic Boom on the world that the original did, but it is one of those 2 or 3 titles that show what motion controls can do. My point was that outside of that title and a few others, there hasn't been much of anything that shows motion controls being successful. We're really talking about a handful of titles when we talk about commercially successful motion control titles.

My point is simply that success in Motion Controls thus far has been limited to a small number of game types (either that or developers haven't wrapped their heads around how to make interesting games with them yet - perhaps 4 years just hasn't been enough time).

Marc Bell
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I'm predicting both these devices will bomb. I think it's an absolutely crazy idea by Sony and Microsoft. Those who were interested in motion control bought a Wii. Not only because the games were fun and made by the ultimate 'fun company' Nintendo, but the console was relatively cheap and user friendly. In contrast the consoles offered by Sony and Microsoft are complicated and costly devices, and their demographic is the hardcore gamer who has trouble seeing anything worthwhile in motion control.

Both of these will be the 32x and Sega CD all over again. Bolt on technology many years into the consoles life cycle never work. The only way this would have had a big chance of taking off is if they were default or built in devices with new consoles.

This whole thing is a disaster waiting to happen.

Lo Pan
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I am eagerly awaiting the results of Natal on the physical integrity of the gamer population...considering the recent study claiming gamers have the health of an obese chain smoker. I am praying for all the living rooms...that soon will be ravaged by fully body motions!

Justin Kuyken
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I think this is purely overinflated hype.

It states in the article that only 15% of gamers know these products exist, so if 6-8% want to buy it that means 50% of the people that know about a product, are interested.

Seems like a decent range considering marketing hasn't started yet

John Mawhorter
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If someone would spend some time figuring out how to make motion controls fun for core gamers than I think they'll see success. As long as titles with motion are easier to play with traditional controls (or simply not fun) and motion controls are limited to gimmicky mini-games and Wii Sports type games, 360 and PS3 users won't see a reason to buy them.

gus one
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Its not just about games. Its the inferfaces. Xbox will become a 'minority report' type driven gui. For example when you want to watch videos you can just flick through them using the motion controllers etc. As for the survey. Ridiculous. How can you survey someone when no one knows exactly what games will be available. That's just stupid. If I saw a game I really like that needed a motion controller then I would get it it. But I don't know that until the I know about the game. Roll on E3 the motion controller doubters will be eating their words by the end of next week. It's a revolution baby.

David Padron
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@Russell: I think you're onto it. Wii sports, wii play and wii fit were all Nintendo's Trojan horse. Those games allowed Nintendo to sneak an everyday video game console into family living rooms.

What we're seeing now is an attempt by Sony and MS to capture the same audience with new gimmicks. Of course, there is a lot working against them. Nintendo got there first and did so at a better time in economically and the 360/PS3 both have to deal with their non-family friendly image.

Tiago Costa
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It's always about the games, Dream cast was a great console that never fared well because of if, also jaguar, gamegear, choose your hardware. If it is game related you should have games to go with it.

Also, the PS3 and Xbox were made with a different approach in mind. Motion controls are not mandatory with their games, so developers will not bother with it if it will hinder the development times even more. I would buy the move (Im a ps3 owner) if all the games, starting December 2010, would require (WELL IMPLEMENTED) move controls along with normal controls, the same way they made trophies mandatory. Without this, the move will die before even launching.

zod magnificent
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Perhaps someone should explain to gamasutra the following, because I suspect it may impact on awareness:

A project code name is a code name (usually a single word, short phrase or acronym) which is given to a project being developed by industry, academia, government, and other concerns.

Project code names are typically used for several reasons:

To uniquely identify the project within the organization. Code names are frequently chosen to be outside the normal business/domain jargon that the organization uses, in order to not conflict with established terminology.

To assist with maintaining secrecy of the project against rival concerns. Some corporations routinely change project names in order to further confuse competitors.

When the goal of the project is to develop one or more commercial products, use of a code name allows the eventual choice of product nomenclature (the name the product(s) are marketed and sold under) to be decoupled from the development effort. This is especially important when one project generates multiple products, or multiple projects are needed to produce a single product. This allows for subprojects to be given a separate identity from the main project.

As a political tool by management, to decouple an early phase of a development effort (which may have failed) from a subsequent phase (which may be given a "fresh start").

To prevent casual observers from concluding that a pre-release version is a new release of the product, thus helping reduce confusion.

Different organizations have different policies regarding the use and publication of project code names. Some companies take great pains to never discuss or disclose project code names outside of the company (other than with outside entities who have a need to know, and typically are bound with a non-disclosure agreement). Other companies never use them in official or formal communications, but widely disseminate project code names through informal channels (often in an attempt to create a marketing "buzz" for the project). Still others (such as Microsoft) discuss code names publicly, and routinely use project code names on beta releases and such, but remove them from final product(s). At the other end of the spectrum, Apple Computer has recently been including the project code names for Mac OS X as part of the official product name.

Jason Wilson
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@Aaron Oman

I was referring to the interface, not at all the Wii graphics. Most likely 360/PS3 graphics be daunting to casuals and invoke a "watch, not play" reaction -- "It's too hard" or "I can do this, it's not fun". Agreed that (perceived) ease of use or more intuitive use factors in.

I will say that friends have complained that the last two or three generations of consoles have "too many buttons." These are people who lean more towards 360/PS3 type of games, but lack the desire to invest money/time/attention-span. The WiiMote has many buttons as well, but most are not necessary in normal play. It is easier for casuals to remember to swing rather than which button makes their avatar swing.

Fiore Iantosca
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I have ZERO interest in Natal/Move/3D. And I am not alone

Kez Keenan
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This is gonna be bad. After the initial launch and the newness of it has gone away, what do developers do? They've both split there console in half. Do they develop solely for move/natal or do they add an extra set of controls for the regular user who has no interest. People bitched about tacked on motion controls to wii ports, but what are they gonna say when the same thing happens because the dev/pub is not going to let the majority of console owners not be able to purchase their game.

If sales aren't huge in the first six months to year, why would anyone develop for something most people won't own.

Jonathan Novak
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The optimist in me is going to put the chips on the table and wager that it will come down very heavily to two aspects: Targeting and Navigation. If either device can demonstrate a solid improvement to analog aiming and on-screen mobility, it's a sell for the core shooter community. Once they have that "in", they can expand on the features and use. Get your demographic on board with games they like and are use to, and then broaden your horizons once they bring the tech into the home. Sony has thus far shown us SOCOM 4 and Killzone 3, and I am curious to see what Microsoft has in store. Get enough release titles to appeal to your core first and then worry about the more casual markets.

The pessimist in me at this point is reserving the right to be horribly wrong and utterly disappointed!

Doug Poston
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@Jonathan: I have to agree. If they live up to the marketing hype (e.g. if Natal works like the Minority Report interface and smartly tracks your motions), then the sky is the limit and this time next year we'll all be talking about getting a piece of the full body tracking game market.

If people end up flailing around like idiots in front of their TVs trying to get the stupid game past the main menu, then this will be a sad footnote in the history of games. A step towards the future (like Sega CD and AOL games).

This may be the most important E3 for this console generation for both Sony and Microsoft. I wish them both good luck.