Sony makes its Move into motion control

Sony has unveiled its answer to the Wiimote and Project Natal: a motion control system named Move.

The company hasn’t confirmed a release date or a standalone price yet. However, it says there will be a bundle deal with one controller, a Playstation Eye camera (which is needed to receive the control signals) and one game for under $100.

It’ll be very interesting to see which game is offered in the bundle deal. This is a different situation when compared to the Wii, where the motion control was the main selling point of the entire console and people were buying the whole system from scratch. With so many gamers already owning a PS3 (or having another console and thus being unlikely to buy a PS3 as well), it’s likely the main market for the motion control system is going to be existing users.

That means the game in the bundle is going to have to be a strong sell in itself if Sony wants to sell many Move controllers. If it isn’t, many would-be buyers may put it off until there’s a strong range of quality new games specifically written for motion control, which may not be until the end of this year at the earliest. There has been talk of retrospectively introducing motion control into some existing games, though only time will tell if that is effective or comes across as a clumsy gimmick.

As pictured, the most distinguishing feature is the orb at the top. This beams light to the Eye camera, allowing the system to calculate the distance and thus allow three-dimensional control. The orb can glow in different colors, allowing the system to recognize multiple controllers, and can also be used for visual effects such as the flash of a fired gun. Some games will allow a single player to use two controllers at once, but it’s likely this will be an optional feature and all games will work with just one controller.

The aim of the system is to give designers much more scope for the in-game objects players can control. For example, by making the movement reactions faster or slower, a game could simulate the different weights of a sword against a heavy sub-machine gun.

CNET’s Dan Ackerman
tried out the system at the Games Developers Conference and reports that it is much more accurate than the Wii. Given the different audiences, that’s likely to be a particularly important factor.

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14 Responses to Sony makes its Move into motion control

  1. I’m not a fan of the ball. If it was small, less obtrusive, sure, why not. It doesn’t fit.

    One thing that is great is the power the PS3 gives to games, as opposed to the Wii which is weaker overall than the ps3 and xbox.

      • By “power”, I think he means technical oomph from the components, which allow “better” (ie – better graphics, longer plots, more features, etc) games. So yes, though the Wii has done very well commercially, it cannot even be argued whether it’s a weaker console. It, simply, just is.

        What he’s saying, I think, is that if a game comes out (at the moment) for the Wii AND the PS3, the PS3 version shows off graphics with more features, whereas the Wii version is less flashy and has less to do, but it’s gimmick and selling point is the controls. Once the PS3 has those controls as well anyway, it’ll have everything the Wii has (ie – the controls) as well as the power of the components allowing graphic-rich, plot-rich and feature-rich games.

        • Eh, I figured all that. Personally, I’ve never been one that needs the greatest graphics or the fastest computer. I’ve banked SO many hours on simple games like Animal Crossing. My wife and I both enjoy it immensely, and it is no graphical masterpiece nor does it take the fastest system to run it.
          I think even with the matching control scheme, the Wii will still have the price difference in its favor, and that’s something that both the new gamer as well as the non-gamer that likes the motion control scheme will rally behind.
          And when we really stop to think about it, arguing over this is like arguing over the best soup. You say tomato, I say chicken noodle. Then comes along clam chowder (Natal), and we’re both left in the dust.
          And yes, clam chowder’s the best soup.

  2. I'm not a fan of the ball. If it was small, less obtrusive, sure, why not. It doesn't fit.

    One thing that is great is the power the PS3 gives to games, as opposed to the Wii which is weaker overall than the ps3 and xbox.

      • By "power", I think he means technical oomph from the components, which allow "better" (ie – better graphics, longer plots, more features, etc) games. So yes, though the Wii has done very well commercially, it cannot even be argued whether it's a weaker console. It, simply, just is.

        What he's saying, I think, is that if a game comes out (at the moment) for the Wii AND the PS3, the PS3 version shows off graphics with more features, whereas the Wii version is less flashy and has less to do, but it's gimmick and selling point is the controls. Once the PS3 has those controls as well anyway, it'll have everything the Wii has (ie – the controls) as well as the power of the components allowing graphic-rich, plot-rich and feature-rich games.

        • Eh, I figured all that. Personally, I've never been one that needs the greatest graphics or the fastest computer. I've banked SO many hours on simple games like Animal Crossing. My wife and I both enjoy it immensely, and it is no graphical masterpiece nor does it take the fastest system to run it.

          I think even with the matching control scheme, the Wii will still have the price difference in its favor, and that's something that both the new gamer as well as the non-gamer that likes the motion control scheme will rally behind.

          And when we really stop to think about it, arguing over this is like arguing over the best soup. You say tomato, I say chicken noodle. Then comes along clam chowder (Natal), and we're both left in the dust.

          And yes, clam chowder's the best soup.

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