Sony had the EyeToy camera for sensing motion and putting players inside games on the PlayStation 2, long before Microsoft’s forthcoming Project Natal . Its six-axis controller has always had more motion capabilities than the three-axis Wii Remote.
But Sony has failed to market its motion technology to maximum effect and its launch of its Move motion controller for the PlayStation 3 on Wednesday represents it arriving late to the current-generation game and with little new to offer.
Move is a wand-like controller with a funky coloured bulb on the end. A sub-controller will be available as well in a combination similar to the Wiimote and its Nunchuk.
Move also combines with the Eye , the successor to the EyeToy, in gameplay. Sony said a starter bundle featuring a game, the Eye and Move would cost less than $100 when it is launched in the autumn.
That was the best news of the night at the launch event on the fringes of the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.
We were then given demonstrations of how Move could be used in different games, most of them still at the pre-Alpha build stage – perhaps explaining why Sony has had to delay its launch by six months.
The demonstrations were unimpressive. It was hard to see how this was much of an advance on the motion-sensing gameplay currently offered by Nintendo.
Shuhei Yoshida, president of Sony’s worldwide studios, said “nothing has ever been this precise, responsive and ultra-sensory” so perhaps we ought to give Move the benefit of the doubt until it is launched with fully developed titles.
Peter Dille, head of marketing in the US, provided clues on Sony’s strategy. He said families buying HD televisions would find a move to Move and the PS3 a natural migration from the Wii. Hard-core gamers, who had turned their noses up at the Wii, would also be attracted to the precision and high-definition of Move on the PS3, he added.
If Move is a better class of motion controller on a higher quality platform and available at a reasonable price, Sony may find it has a hit on its hands if games can be made compelling with Move integration.
A motion controller was something Sony had to introduce to stay competitive with Nintendo and Microsoft. With 3D gaming also coming exclusively to the PS3 later this year, it is significantly boosting its armoury in the console wars.
My notes from the launch event, with full audio embedded, are below, photos can be foundhere .