By Jared Newman | Thursday, March 11, 2010 at 9:22 am
For too long this morning, I’ve been trying to think of something pithy to write about the Playstation Move, Sony’s newly-unveiled motion controller for the PS3. But aside from the facts — it’ll be out later this year, for $100 including one controller and a camera that tracks the controller’s movement — all I can spit out are conflicted opinions.
I’m somewhat excited for the Move, if only because it’s a more sophisticated version of Nintendo’s Wii, with its wand-shaped, button-laden controllers. The difference is that the Move uses an existing product, the Playstation Eye, to track the controller’s motion along three dimensions. This allows you to step closer or farther from the table in virtual ping pong, or make 360-degree turns in real space.
Cool technology, for sure, but is it a cohesive vision for motion control, or a half-hearted attempt to capture the so-called casual gamer? I can’t tell yet.
Take the games, for example. There’s the requisite Wii Sports Resort clone, but with more realistic graphics. There’s an on-rails shooter, but with a playful, arcade look and feel. There’s a pet-training game for children, but there’s also the military shooter SOCOM 4. Instead of showing off a killer app, Sony’s throwing pasta at the wall, hoping to find a target audience that sticks.
The Move has a controller issue as well. Some games will require you to wield two motion controller wands, while others will use a Wii Nunchuk-like secondary controller, with an analog stick. That means even if you’re playing solo, you’ll need three controllers for every possible scenario. It’s confusing, and it escalates the cost well beyond $100. Can this kind of set-up compete with the $200 Wii? Doubtful.
I think the issue is that Sony’s still in tech demo mode. I’m sold on the technology, but not on the product. This early look at the Move suggests that Sony wants to create both a Wii Sports killer and a Halo killer with motion control, but so far we’ve seen a controller that does neither.