Showing their new motion control solutions at E3, Microsoft and Sony both stressed the diversity of applications on offer -- but the most prominent and most promising arguably lie in the sports and athletics genre.
It can be expected, then, that EA Sports is more than on board, and label head Peter Moore tells Gamasutra that his group is more than prepared to explore new opportunities to get gamers moving. However, lessons learned on the Wii will be key in reaching new audiences with Kinect and Move, and Moore says EA Sports is being careful to explore the ideal implementations on a title by title basis.
"We've been very successful with our core franchises on the Wii Motion Plus," he says, citing games like Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 -- with a golf or tennis game, for example, "something in your hand" is important. "That worked well for us."
However, a fitness game like EA Sports Active 2 is primarily an ideal fit for the full-body Kinect experience. "When we look at Kinect, we think the ability to leverage what we've already done on the Nintendo Wii with ea sports active and bringing that... hands free, it's a great opportunity."
EA Sports' smash successes on Wii, rare for a third party, didn't come without some of the lessons many major publishers learned in a rush to support Nintendo's console and demonstrate a presence on the console with the largest userbases. And these lessons still apply to new motion control solutions, says Moore.
"The one thing we've learned is not to throw [in] everything [but] the kitchen sink," he says. "We need be selective with the experience. Things like golf and tennis work particularly well with something in the hand -- but we have a tougher time with things like soccer." So although EA's FIFA franchise is a major seller in the sports portfolio, it "may not be a good fit" for motion controls.
The goal, then? "A presence on all of the new motion control platforms, but with selective titles. We're going to be very prescripted in what we're doing and making for the experience."
Lack of visibility on just how large the reception for Kinect and Move will be is also a factor: "You've got the sheer business situation where, okay, the initial install base isn't going to be large -- you can only put so much investment behind something that hasn't grown into any scale yet."
The initial difficulty for many publishers in adapting their key AAA franchises to the standard-definition Wii yielded the primary takeaway that it was key to innovate on the properties, leveraging the platform's specific traits. "We had all of our franchises, at first, on the Wii," says Moore. "We found that we're better off looking at very innovative... selected experiences."
So, sports that require objects in hand go on Move, and fitness titles go on Kinect? "That is a very broad generalization, but right now, that's exactly what we're doing in these early days," says Moore. "And then, we're going to find -- in particular with Kinect -- innovative experiences outside of fitness that allow us to use the body in some way. It may be we're looking at games that don't currently exist right now."
"We're pretty leery of simply porting a game experience to a new technology without really thinking about what the consumer experience is going to be," he adds. "We have to watch how things develop."
But alongside care comes commitment: "We're on every platform," Moore concludes. "We're doing it tactfully, tactically and in a very prescriptive manner. We're going to continue to invest in these where they make sense."
[UPDATE: Edited Moore's 'prescripted' quote to read 'prescriptive', following conversation in comments.]