Thursday, March 11, 2010

The deal with PlayStation Move.

Last week I swore to be a better blogger, which may or may not include recipes for butter chicken - so today, I'll try something different and offer actual information. There's more than a little to know about Sony's foray into motion control. Let's break it down.

WHO: Sony, and the ridiculously lucrative "casual" market.
WHAT: Sony's more-capable rip-off of the Wiimote & Nunchuck.
WHEN: Fall 2010.
WHERE: Worldwide, baby.
WHY: "Ridiculously lucrative."
HOW: A gyroscope, an accelerometer, a glowing ball, a terrestrial magnetic field sensor and a camera.

The basic price for the PlayStation Move, bundled with the required PlayStation Eye Camera is $99. With the PS3 at a more reasonable price point ($299), this still puts the price of the system and the Move at $400. Doubtless there will be a PS3 Move bundle at some point, but the earliest adopters of the new controller will likely be folks who already have the PS3.

A hundred-dollar investment to turn your PS3 into a WiiHD is a much more appealing proposition than two hundred for a Wii. Still, you gotta' have software to back it up.

Here's a look at Motion Fighter, one of the Move's launch titles. In addition to tacking on Move support to older PS3 titles like RE5 and Little Big Planet, Sony are promising more than twenty new titles for the Move by the end of 2010, but given the creative wording they applied to their promised support of the PSP Go, that can be left to interpretation.

Here's what they've announced so far. First off, Motion Fighter. Early impressions suggest that while the motion tracking is excellent, the required inputs for certain moves are too complex, making the experience much less intuitive than it should be. Still, the title has a while left in development to improve itself.

Move Party is exactly what you think it is - a collection of mini-games. What makes Party stand out (a little) from the crowd is how it's done: the PlayStation Eye Camera turns the TV screen into a mirror, and you see yourself. But you're not holding the Move controller - the game turns what's in your hand on-screen into a paintbrush, or a sword, or a floppy foam finger. Kotaku's Stephen Totilo calls it "magical."

Sports Champions is also what it sounds like - it is PSWii Sports Resort. Sports Resort in HD, mind you, with somewhat better motion tracking. The title will include the pictured Gladiator, Frisbee Gold, Archery (which I'd like to try), Beach Volleyball, Bocci and Table Tennis. Like Motion Fighter, early hands-on impressions suggest that while the motion control does feel better than the Wii's, there is still some work to be done to make it truly stand out.

Of all the titles shown thus far, The Shoot seems to have the most promise - it is an on-rails lightgun shooter that requires a great deal of physical interaction from the player. Attacks can be dodged by moving the Move out of harm's way, and a slow-motion special move is triggered by doing a full-body spin. Also of note are the amount of genres present in the game - pictured above is western, but each screenshot looks like it came from a different game, with horror and sci-fi also accounted for.

Finally, Slider is something of a mystery at this point. The most detail I can find is that it is a game in which you blitz through the city on an office chair while performing kung-fu.

That, at least, is unique.

The Move is also getting support from third-party studios - thirty-five of which have signed up to publish titles for the new controller.

  • 505 Games U.S.
  • Activision Publishing, Inc.
  • ATLUS Co., LTD.
  • Bigben Interactive
  • CCP
  • Crave Entertainment
  • CYBERFRONT Corporation
  • Disney Interactive Studios
  • Electronic Arts Inc.
  • FromSoftware, Inc.
  • Game Republic, Inc.
  • GUST CO., LTD.
  • Koei Co., Ltd.
  • Konami Digital Entertainment Co., Ltd.
  • Majesco Entertainment
  • Marvelous Entertainment Inc.
  • NAMCO BANDAI Games Inc.
  • ONGAKUKAN Co., Ltd.
  • Oxygen Games
  • Q Entertainment Inc.
  • Spike Co., Ltd.
  • THQ Inc.
  • Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
  • Zoo Entertainment, Inc.
Atlus, From Software, Marvelous and Spike? This might not be so bad.

Here's how it works. You need the PlayStation Eye Camera hooked up. Why? Because it's looking for the glowy ball on the end of the Move. This is how the Move judges depth.

The ball on the end of the Move will change color, depending on the colors present in the room at the time. If there is no green, the ball becomes green to stand out better, and the system can more accurately track it.

Both the Move and it's Nunchuck-like companion are Bluetooth enabled, and unlike the Wii's remotes they aren't connected by wires. Unlike the Wiimotes, there are no batteries to replace - it is recharged via a USB cable, just like your standard PS3 controller (and even uses the same type of rechargeable batery).

The Nunchuck-like controller seems to have some semblance of motion tracking, but like the Wii's it's not as accurate as the primary motion controller. For boxing-style games, Nunchucks aren't involved - a ball-tipped Move controller is held in each hand.

* * *

That's about it. The PlayStation Move will hit this fall. I for one am adopting a wait-and-see attitude on this one.


  1. I hope there's some sort of 2 glow-ball bundle. I'd hate to pay 200 bucks just for 2 of those things.

  2. I have to imagine they'll do whatever they can to make it as accessible as possible.

    The only sticking point will be their advertising. The Wii's launch advertising was perfect - still is - and the Move doesn't have the Wow Factor of Natal.

    Sony's got their work cut out for 'em with this one.