Doom Creator John Carmack Disses Xbox Kinect, Prefers PS Move

John Carmack, the highly decorated game designer of Doom and Quake, is known first and foremost as a developer, but he’s also a very adept engineer. He’s behind works in suborbital spacecraft and the upcoming virtual reality headset Oculus Rift. So when he says the Kinect isn’t all it’s cracked up to be it packs a punch.

Well, he did just that while delivering his keynote at Quakecom 2013. During his discussion about the current gaming market he took a moment to talk about the latest motion technologies, the Xbox Kinect and PlayStation Move. He said:

Microsoft is putting a lot behind things like Kinect that… I’m still not really sold on Kinect. I recognize that what my needs are and desires are as a game developer or what I use the technology for might not cover the broad consumer base that they’re looking for, so it’s their play to make, but I think Kinect still has some fundamental limitations with the latency and the framerate on it.

He continued:

… it’s fundamentally a poor interaction and one way that I look at it is… I used to give Apple a lot of grief about the one-button mouse when anybody working with the mouse really wants more buttons. Kinect is sort of like a zero-button mouse with a lot of latency on it.

So what’s the solution? Something with buttons, of course!

Something like the PS Move where you’re maneuvering around and you actually got buttons on it, or something like the Razer Hydra, where you got position tracking but also buttons to click, I think have some fundamental advantages.

Hardcore gamers have been vocal about their disinterest in motion control technology since before the days of either the Kinect or Move, and reasonably so. They overcomplicate something simple. Why wave your arms like a monkey when you can just press a button? However, for the casual market it’s been extremely attractive, with Nintendo’s Wii showing that a motion-centric console can sell over 100 million boxes.

So when Microsoft forces consumers to buy the Kinect with its latest Xbox, but Sony makes the PlayStation Eye an optional purchase, gamers notice. Whether or not that has any impact on success is yet to be determined.

You can see the entire keynote below. Skip to 24:48 to hear his spiel on what’s covered above.