As we predicted before the start of the annual Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, Sony used its press conference to formally announce the PS3 motion controller. Officially called the PlayStation Move, this wand-and-cam system, briefly demoed at the Electronic Entertainment Expo last year, is the latest move by a video game console maker into the realm of motion control.
While the Nintendo Wii has had this segment of the market cornered for some time, Microsoft is developing a camera-only motion control system for the Xbox 360 called Project Natal (still a working title), and is now officially joined by Sony in the console gesture control arms race.
As Microsoft demoed Project Natal for us in New York recently, and we've just had a chance to play with the PlayStation Move, we can now bring you our initial hands-on impressions of both systems.
PlayStation Move The PlayStation Move requires a combination of a Sony PlayStation Eye Web cam (an existing peripheral), plus one or more PlayStation Move wands. A secondary controller similar to the Nintendo Wii nunchuck, with the unfortunate name of the "subcontroller," is an optional accessory for some games.
We tried several games using the main Move controller (see the video above), and the experience was generally very close to what we're used to from the Nintendo Wii, albeit with a much greater sense of precision--even better than using the Wii Motion Plus. There was much less of the jittery movement to the onscreen cursor we're used to from the Wii.
At the same time, the experience was clearly a work in progress. We played a rail shooter called The Shoot, and while the aiming and shooting worked fairly well, we kept accidentally resetting the level because of overly sensitive pop-up menus. We also played Move Party, a collection of competitive mini-games for up to four players. Most of the mini-games worked well, from swatting flies to painting shapes on the screen, but the entire package felt too much like a retread of the original PlayStation EyeToy Webcam peripheral and games. A fighting game, using two Move controllers, had just enough input lag to feel sluggish.
Of course, these were all early demo versions of games, and they can be expected to undergo additional polishing before release. Our biggest concern is actually the hardware and how it will be sold.… Read more