Sony Cheers for Buttons Ahead of Playstation Move Launch

By  |  Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 9:19 am

The Playstation Move, Sony’s answer to the Wii, launches in nine days, and the marketing is getting predictably louder.

As PC World’s Matt Peckham points out, Sony has created a few websites to convince people that they need a Playstation Move, including a skewed product comparison chart and a silly video creation tool. But my favorite of these efforts is, which, as the name suggests, defends the virtue of buttons against a faceless foe.

It’s clearly a takedown of Microsoft’s Kinect for Xbox 360, which uses only a camera to track real-world motion, and no actual controllers to hold. “It turns out that buttons are pretty important,” says a dialog box that appears when you click an image of the Move controller. “Not like ‘save the whales’ important. More like ‘not play games that suck’ important.”

My early impressions of the Move and Kinect left me with favorable impressions of neither. I’m not opposed to motion control, but I’ve yet to see killer software for either platform. Still, I’m amused with how Sony is using Kinect’s main selling point — no buttons, so anyone can figure it out — as a counter-argument. Buttons, once an assumed and therefore trivial part of gaming, have suddenly become a point of contention. I love it.

I just wish Sony would also apply its pro-button treatise to the PSP. With the rise of the iPod Touch and smartphone gaming, buttons face a far greater threat on the mobile front. And when it comes to pinpoint accuracy for shooters and platform games, there’s still no substitute for real, tactile feedback.

So far, Sony’s anti-iPhone offensive entails a mockery of simple time-wasting games in favor of 20-hour adventures, but that argument is looking hollower as games like Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars and developers like Epic Games get onto Apple’s platform. When I said in February that Sony should adopt a pro-button marketing stance for the PSP, I was half-kidding, but if Sony’s willing to go there for the Playstation Move, why not extend the defense of buttons to all gaming devices?

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