Yesterday at the Game Developer’s Conference Sony finally made official the PlayStation Motion Controller as PlayStation Move. Dubbed the “next generation of motion gaming,” PS Move will take on Nintendo’s Wii-mote directly with a wireless Move controller and sub-controller (don’t call it a nunchuck). Paired with the PlayStation Eye (Sony’s webcam device for the PS3) the PS Move will become an “extension of your body” with near 1:1 motion precision and accuracy. Sony says the Move’s latency is about the same to that of its DualShock 3 controller (about a 1fps delay). The Move contains “advanced motion sensors, including a three-axis gyroscope, a three-axis accelerometer, and a terrestrial magnetic field sensor, as well as a color-changing sphere that is tracked by PlayStation Eye camera.”
So what differentiates the Move controller from the Wii-mote? The answer lies in the Z-plane. The PS Eye tracks the colored sphere at the front of the controller and can sense when you are moving closer to or farther away from the on-screen action. The Eye+Motion setup will be able to detect motion in 3D space (the Z-plane) far more effectively than the Wii-mote+Wii sensor bar configuration (especially if you don’t have the WiiMotionPlus add-on). Other differences from the Wii-mote: the controller and sub-controller wirelessly pair to the PS3 via Bluetooth, they are USB-powered (no batteries), and the sub-controller does not have a motion sensor (the Wii nunchuck does). Also, since the PS Eye can capture images and voice, augmented reality experiences can incorporated into games.
Sony’s plan is to market the PS Move not just to casual games but also to the rabid hardcore, FPS-lovin’ group of gamers. They’ve come out and said that 36 third party developers and publishers are on board to make games supporting the new motion controller, promising that over 20 games “that are either dedicated to or supported with the PlayStation Move platform” will release this year. At the GDC press conference Sony announced the following Motion-supported games, many with tentative titles: Move Party (collection of mini-games with augmented reality features); Sports Champions (think Wii Sports on the PS3; demos included table tennis, sword fighting, and archery); SOCOM 4; TV Superstars; Slider; The Shoot; Motion Fighter; Eye-Pet; and Brunswick Pro Bowling. Click here to see Joystiq’s hands on coverage of the games.
PlayStation Move will be made available for purchase in three ways come Holiday 2010: a starter kit includes the PS Move controller, PS Eye, and a game and will sell for under $100; you can buy the Move controller standalone; or you can get a PS3 console bundled with the Move controller. An exact launch date and definitive pricing details will surface as we get closer to the holiday season.
A motion controller for the PS3 is coming soon. Question is, how will it fare in competition with the Nintendo Wii and the forthcoming Microsoft Project Natal? Wii-like motion controls being implemented into both casual and hardcore games in high definition sounds tempting, but it all comes down to execution. If Sony lives up to its promise and makes sure to release a decent variety of motion-supported games inside the launch window the new controller will likely be embraced by many PS3 users. PlayStation Move will find a niche in the gaming community, especially with a sub-$100 price tag. Motion-detection offers a new way to experience video games; in particular it invites users to become more immersed in the games they play (like what 3D did with Avatar). With Wii living in the stone ages (graphics/lack of hardcore third party games support) and hype for Project Natal growing louder every day, the ball is in Sony’s court and it’s up to them to get this right.
Look after the break for the Sony press release and the Move introduction video. The gallery below contains the first official press shots of the controller and sub-controller.
[Via Engadget, here, here & here; Gizmodo; Kotaku]
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