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Sony to release new PS3 motion controller next spring

First announced in June at E3, the new controller will give the PS3 more Wii-like functionality, and the news came just as Nintendo announced it was cutting the Wii's price by $50.

Sony announced it was working on a new motion controller at E3 last June in Los Angeles. Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Sony announced late Wednesday night from the Tokyo Game Show that it plans to release a new motion-sensitive controller for its PlayStation 3 video game console sometime during spring of 2010. The news came just hours after Nintendo's own announcement that it was cutting the price of its Wii console from $250 to $200.

The company originally announced that it was working on a new controller at E3 last June. That news seemed, at the time, to indicate that Sony was aiming at taking on the Nintendo Wii and its intuitive Wii-mote. Microsoft, too, unveiled a hot new controller system, code-named Natal, but revealed no substantial details about how it would be used, what it would cost or when it would be available.

As for Sony, it didn't say last June when its new device would hit the market. So Wednesday night's announcement marks the first time it has given any specificity about the date.

"The newly announced Motion Controller is equipped with two motion sensors, three axes gyroscope and three axes accelerometer that can detect the controller's angle and movement held in the user's hand," Sony said in a release. "Together with the PlayStation Eye camera for PS3 which can accurately track the absolute position of the controller, the controller can detect the natural and intuitive movement of the hand and reflect the precise movement on to the game."

Earlier Wednesday evening, Nintendo said it was slashing the price of the Wii from $250 to $200. Although both announcements were made during the Tokyo Game Show, the timing is notable given that with Sony's announcement, PS3 users and fans now have a better sense of when their favorite console will take on some additional Wii-like functionality. Nintendo may well have decided it couldn't waste any time in making its own move to protect its console.