Upcoming gaming accessories: Is the price right for college students?

It's rough being a college gamer. If we've learned anything from the episode of MTV's "True Life" and its dealing with gaming addictions, video games can certainly stand in the way of good grades. But even for those who can responsibly balance gaming and classes, games are expensive. The system, the games, and definitely the peripherals. You can't play without a controller, and the standard cost of a Wii controller is $40.

At the end of the year, both Microsoft and Sony are releasing new peripherals for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. But at steep prices, is it worth it for college gamers on a budget to buy them? Here's a look at the upcoming big peripherals, prices, and whether they're worth the money.
New Xbox 360 controller
Microsoft announced a new controller for the Xbox 360. The only difference is in the D-pad -- the directional arrow buttons. They spruced it up to make it more agile. Here's a video demonstration from Microsoft's Major Nelson:

The controller will be released on Nov. 9 with a charging dock for $65. So is a more sleek design and a nifty new directional pad worth that much money? Maybe not. The current controller can be purchased on Amazon for $30 and even cheaper if you buy a used controller. So unless you're really interested in the latest gadgetry, maybe this one is worth skipping.

The Kinect for Xbox 360
Not to be confused with the now-dead Kin mobile phone from Microsoft, Kinect is the upcoming motion sensor software for the Xbox 360. But instead of using a controller like the Wii's motion sensor system, the Kinect is a hands-free device. Players control games, movies, and other media by using the Kinect's motion detecting camera. Want to open a menu? Lift up your hand and select it. Want to pause a video? You can tell the Kinect to pause, which it picks up through its built-in microphone. Here's an example of one of the many upcoming Kinect-specific titles for Xbox 360, Kinect Adventures.

There are a lot of interesting games being released as Kinect exclusives. There are dancing games (Dance Central), racing games (Kinect Joy Ride), fitness games (Zumba Fitness), and there are plenty of games for kids (Kinectimals). As far as game prices go, the Microsoft-developed Kinect games will retail for $50, which is $10 less than the majority of new Xbox 360 games.

However, the hardware itself costs $150. The Kinect is also included in a $300 package with a 4GB Xbox 360 console. But is it worth it to buy the Kinect? It depends on what kind of gamer you are. Currently, the majority of the Kinect games are either fitness games, party games, or really kid-friendly games. If you're in the market for those kinds of things, then maybe it's worth the $150. If you're a gamer who like first-person shooters in the vein of Halo or Call of Duty, you might want to wait and see if more "serious" games are released for the motion sensor.

PlayStation Move
While Microsoft was announcing Kinect for the Xbox 360 at the E3 conference last year, Sony was announcing the PlayStation Move -- its own motion sensor control system. But while Kinect's system has a built-in camera and microphone to recognize where you stand, Move offers, essentially, the same control system that the Wii does. In your right hand, a controller with action buttons. In the left, a movement controller to control where you go. The PlayStation Eye is the sensor that detects movement. It's familiar territory for any Wii owner. Here's a video of it:

This one is a mixed bag. It doesn't quite have the technological capabilities of the Kinect, but with games like Dead Space: Extraction, there's a mix of casual and "serious" games to choose from. Also, there are games that aren't Move exclusive, meaning you could use either regular PlayStation controls or the Move control system, such as the next Infamous, LittleBigPlanet, and Killzone games.

So what's the price? The Move controller is $50, the navigation controller is $30, and a bundle with the PlayStation Eye, the two controllers and a copy of Sports Champions will be $100. That's $50 cheaper than the Kinect. But do the Move compatible games justify the hardware? Check out this handy list from Wikipedia and see if any of those games justify dropping $100.

Got a hot, cheap-tech tip, question or comment for Thrifty tech? Write to Evan Minsker via our e-mail address, MoneyCollege@WalletPop.com.
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