/ Technology

Why PlayStation Move Wii’s on Nintendo’s parade

Table Tennis in PlayStation Move game Sports Champions

Motion-controlled gaming’s taken the world by storm. But while Wii sales might be lagging, rival Sony hopes to relight the fire with PlayStation Move. I, for one, am enjoying the Move from waggle to 1:1 motion.

Yes, I know the title’s a little childish, but Nintendo did the dirty on us when they renamed their console from Revolution to the Wii. As for PlayStation Move, the name might not excite and its tech may not be a ‘revolution’, but it’s upped the stakes in motion gaming.

The bobble-topped controller looks a bit odd, but once it’s in your hands and glowing a multitude of colours, I’d say it’s a little more pleasing to hold than the slightly slippery Wii-mote.

Tech editor Matt Bath has already given his views on the controller, finding it to be ‘more of the same’. Yes, Move’s main attraction is increased accuracy, but in my view that’s key.

The frustration of imprecision

After spending some quality time with PlayStation Move, it’s almost immediately clear that this is what we’ve been missing. Sony’s EyeToy gave us a snippet of unresponsive casual gaming, and Nintendo built on that with the Wii. But, quite frankly, all that’s old tech.

With the Wii, running on the spot or whipping your wrist around certainly gets your heart racing, but when your waggling barely represents your on-screen character’s actions, it gets old fast.

The question is – does accuracy make Move more fun? Well, although enjoyment is entirely subjective, there’s definitely a case for precision increasing satisfaction. Imagine your frustration if every shot in Halo went slightly off course, or a perfect corner in Gran Turismo simply required a tap of the X button.

The opportunity of accuracy

I’ve been religiously playing Move Table Tennis (included in launch game Sports Champions) for the last few days, and at risk of sounding clichéd, it almost feels like the real thing.

With a quick twist of the wrist I can add spin, or reach forward to hit a short ball. On the Wii this experience is largely limited to flicking in the ball’s general direction. Sure, that’s a laugh, but for how long?

In Sports Champions’ disc golf (think Frisbee) I was surprised to find that I could throw the disc using the more difficult forehand, or even roll it along the floor. Accuracy opens up so many more possibilities. Real-time strategy (RTS) game RUSE shows how a genre that’s traditionally been limited to the PC mouse, can be rejuvenated by Move’s precision.

What about the kids and grannies?

All of this does come with a potential drawback – the skill required can leave out the inexperienced. But though they might at first struggle, there’s an intuitiveness to PlayStation Move that grows as soon as you’ve shaken off the ‘waggle syndrome’. My housemate was hooked after she stopped waving the controller like a maraca and treated it like the real thing.

Plus, casual gamers aren’t left out. Start the Party’s mini-games not only put you on-screen, they place objects in your hands. Whether you’re painting with a brush, or whacking moles with a mallet, having these objects in your hands is both surreal and satisfying. This type of augmented reality is something I hope we’ll see much more off.

Sure, the PlayStation Move launch line-up might not win awards, but consumers only bought the Wii for one game – Wii Sports. With two stand-out titles and many more planned, it’s only a matter of time before PlayStation Move demonstrates it’s not only accurate, it’s fun too.

Read the other side in Matt Bath’s ‘Sony’s PlayStation motion controls fail to Move me’.

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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Shadow says:
22 September 2010

Now we are talking. I posted some videos on Matt’s article that show how different the Move and Wii are.

Nice article Patrick – good to see the site running both angles. I’m not sure which of the two articles hard the worse pun ;).

Jeremy says:
23 September 2010

Everyone is sawing back and forth about technology or accuracy or fun, but here’s the bottom line: who is BUYING? I’m positive on Move, but I haven’t purchased it. I’m not sure when I will. Have you bought it? If not, when will you? What will convince you to drop the (not insignificant) cash?

The most important poll for Sony (and soon, Microsoft) is how we vote with our wallets. I suspect the results would be radically different if the question was “Have you purchased Move?”

kikibot says:
23 September 2010

Just THE answer you are waiting for : Move is Sold out, alsmost everywhere.

Shadow says:
23 September 2010

I think the “Yes” vote includes a lot of people who have purchased the Move.

Shadow says:
23 September 2010

Wow… I just played all through the Gold Cup in table tennis. Jenki (I think that is his name) kicked my *** about 30 times, before him I was unbeaten. A character unlocks after you beat him, and then a Champion Cup appears. This game is awesome!

Something that has not been discussed much is how the power of the Cell is involved in a game like Table Tennis or Tumble with the Move. The response of the ping-pong ball to the angle and force you hit it with in a 3D environment is amazing and must have taken a great deal of work to get right. Also, Tumble displays a good deal of processing power with the different materials and weights of the tools.

I am not sure that the Wii has this processing power.