/ Technology

Sony’s PlayStation motion controls fail to Move me

Man using PlayStation Move motion controllers

Sony’s just launched its PS3 motion controller, the PlayStation Move, which it hopes will take a chunk out of Nintendo’s casual Wii crowd. But I can’t help but think we’ve seen it all before.

Nintendo has a lot to answer for. In the current games console war, where Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo have been facing off in the battle over interactive living room entertainment, Nintendo hasn’t played fair.

Instead of getting caught up in the graphics and processor arms race, it reinvented how people interact with video games. The result: Nintendo’s motion-controlled Wii console converted us into a nation of arm-waving gamers.

Sony’s take on motion controls

Which meant Sony – previously the king of games consoles – definitely wanted in on this casual, motion-detecting gaming thing, and so has created its own Wii-inspired controller. Dubbed PlayStation Move, Sony hopes to cash-in on the casual gaming generation. On paper it looks amazing.

As well as a motion-detecting wand for waggling at the TV set, Sony mixes in a digital video camera that tracks the movement of a glowing ball (yes, really) perched on top of the controller for added accuracy. And, despite the fact that waving this around looks like you’re trying to taxi-in a just-landed aeroplane, it really is more accurate.

Wii’ve seen it all before

The trouble is, after a weekend of using the Move to whack a tennis ball, play interactive golf and bodypop, Sony’s PlayStation Move failed to move me. It’s like we’ve seen it all before. Oh, wait – we have.

The Move seems to be nothing more than a more accurate version of the Wii, and the range of launch titles – the sporty one, the party one, the goofy one, the kung-fu one just echoes a been-there, done-that feeling.

Yes, the graphics are better, and the camera does add the ability to see yourself on screen (and let me tell you, watching yourself wave around a glowing ball on TV really is an inspired way to spend an afternoon), but it doesn’t feel like I’ll be ditching the regular DualShock controller anytime soon.

It’s time to Move on

The proof, though, is in the audience. I excitedly got my 13-year-old and five-year-old lined up to test it out. And, while they remained engaged, it was for a depressingly short period. Around four minutes. Then, comments such as ‘So, this is just like the Wii’ and ‘This party game is a bit boring’ surfaced.

For me, and the kids, it’s time to Move on. Let’s see if Microsoft’s Kinect – a similar system with just the camera and no waggle wand in sight – can reinvent video gaming. My bet: I reckon even Microsoft won’t be able to Kinect with the Wii’s already won war.

Read the other side in Patrick Steen’s ‘Why PlayStation Move Wii’s on Nintendo’s parade’.

Do you plan to buy PlayStation Move?

Yes - it looks like the best motion controller (70%, 338 Votes)

No - I'm content with my Nintendo Wii (16%, 77 Votes)

I'm not interested in motion control gaming (14%, 65 Votes)

Total Voters: 480

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Comments
Guest

You clearly haven’t done any research into the Move. If you had, you’d know it’s been in development since before Wii was even a twinkle in Nintendo’s eye.

And if you seriously think it’s no better than the Wii, you haven’t done anything more than superficial testing. It’s far more accurate, far more responsive, and gives far more control in games.

Raquet Sports is a simple Wii port, and makes no use of the advanced features of the Move. Try the Table Tennis part of the Sports Champions demo, and you’ll see just how much precision and control the Move gives – you can determine power, spin, direction… everything you can do with a real table tennis bat.

Try Tumble or Flight Control HD, and you’ll see just how much more precision Move offers.

Kinect will be no better. Worse, in fact. It’s not as accurate for a start, as it measures movement in 4cm ‘boxes’ and can’t offer the precision of Move. And without buttons, the game styles available are far more limited – more like the old PS2 EyeToy games. Don’t be fooled by Microsoft’s glitzy videos – most are staged and not a true representation, even at this late stage, and many promised features will not be available at launch. It’s a classic case of an average product, massively over-hyped.

Guest

And you also need another poll option: “I’ve already bought one” – because a **** of a lot of people have.

Guest

Hi AdamW – you’re right, we don’t have that option. But I’m hoping you’ll simply vote on the ‘Yes’ option and let us know if you’ve bought Move in the comments.

Guest

I got move day one, and personally, i’m loving it.

I bypassed all the ****** shovel ware rubbish (even though it’s first party) and have been playing the newly patched eyepet.

The controller breathed new life into the game for me, the card that was originally used was awkard and annoying, the move makes it far easier.

And with MAG and Heavy Rain recieving patches, and Socom 4 i the works, the future looks bright for move.

Don’t dismiss it immediately, the tech is there, the launch titles, not so much.

Guest

Got it as well. While I like all the casual game which came in the bundle, I love RUSE. First console RTS which really makes sense. It’s like a different game with that controller.

Guest

The tech trounces the wii in every respect – accuracy and all axis movement being the main two – made me put my Nintendo straight on ebay now as it pointless after Move release – 4yr old spent 2 hrs playing the eye pet demo and loved it – previous poster’s comment on table tennis very true as well.

Of course we have seen this before but the wii has been all about sports and resort – the sales of games other than Nintendo’s own ip have dropped off in a serious way over the last year. Sony certainly should have done a better job with the launch lineup, however, the scope for Move being a success is much greater and I would imagine significant support both from boxed product and the playstation store in the near future.

They have the tech nailed – where Nintendo failed – plus decent graphics – now more product and its a winner.

Guest
Fabien says:
21 September 2010

I can understand some of the points of the article, such as kids being bored with it. But I don’t think it’s mainly up to the kids, or the non-gamers to truly realize the Move’s potential. Even serious gamers seem to be impressed by its precision and 1:1 tracking in games such as Tumble (really impressive with how precise it is) and Sports Champions. Even with the kids, it’s still about finding the right game for them. What about EyePet? That seems to be a huge hit with them… party games aren’t always quality, even for a kid, as they tend to be a quick cash in and definitely won’t do much to try and look different from a Wii game.

It seems judgment was passed far too past on the Move. I remain hopefully and I’m already impressed with some of its software, even if just by trying out the demos. The Sorcery demo shown at E3 for one was truly impressive and I cannot wait to see what other games we’ll get from it. Unlike the Wii’s attempt at improving motion controls with the Wii Motion+, the PlayStation Move seems to have caught on a bit more with developers.

Guest

Hi!

So, yes, the kids were bored with it. And frustrated. And while it may be precise and far more accurate, is that really how we measure gaming and fun? Accuracy? Really? I think that it all comes down to fun, and to immersing people into the game without them feeling put off by the very thing that is meant to be drawing them in.

Take EyePet Move Edition. Yes, the kids tried it. And after a fruitless ten minutes of being told to repeatedly ‘rub hands together over EyePet to make bubbles’ (you really had to be there) without success, it got a bit tired, a bit too quickly. Less fun, more digital chore.

So, for me, personally, I’m waiting for Killzone 3 and GT5 to see how Move really ups the gaming-for-grown-up games. But its launch line-up – sports, bat and ball, fighting, and party games, well it does seem all a little bit like the Wii.