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PlayStation Move Has Crippled Four Player Gaming

Gordon Kelly


PlayStation Move Has Crippled Four Player Gaming

Sony's unveiling of the PlayStation Move has met with a mixed response from you lot so far, so here are two move revelations about it which are just as likely to draw praise and criticism.

We have one good and one bad revelation, so as is tradition we'll start with the bad news first (skip to paragraph four if you like your news the other way around): the PlayStation Move's four player support is extremely limited. How so? Well it turns out the design geniuses at Sony had something of an off day during development of the Move since it has revealed the PS3 can only handle up to seven wireless devices simultaneously.

Seven you say? That's more than four. Well yes and no - you see if your game requires both the Move and the sub-controller (as many games are expected to) then that adds up to eight. The flaw lies in the PS3's Bluetooth module and there's nothing that can be done about that. Oh dear.

Next the good news and that is the Move only uses between 1MB and 2MB of RAM so developers shouldn't have any problem in keeping the performance of their games up to speed when factoring in support. Sony touched on this when it first announced the Move, saying it would take less than a frame from the Cell CPU's processing power and given this revelation that sounds about right.

So any more newly converted lovers/haters now out there...?


Controller limitation via Gizmodo

RAM usage via Joystiq


March 15, 2010, 4:57 am

Well, Mr Kelly, I knew about the 7 bluetooth devices limit, but I thought it was a symptom/restriction of all bluetooth devices - *tap t-tap tap* - ah, http://en.wikipedia.org/wik...

I remember that as Sony made a silly statement during their unveiling of the PS3 at E3 when asked how many players could play on one PS3 and they said they may support up to 7. I thought it was a strange number to pick anyway, so I looked it up and realised it was a maximum restriction for bluetooth. Needless to say, months down the line, the final controllers appeared and were limited to four (and had those little which-controller-am-I-holding lights on them at this point; something I'm inclined to believe they realised when they saw the Wii Remotes and went "Feck! that's a good idea. Let's add it quick!")

Actually, looking at the Gizmodo article, the official word from Sony seems to be that only any 4 controllers can connect at a time (out of main Move controller or subcontroller) which means you should put another 'X' on the article's image :P.

This of course also explains Nintendo's wired nunchuk connection, if only partially. Maybe it has something to do with actually having a good R&D department.

Anyway, I'll quit the Sony-bashing before Cub has a go at me :P.

At the end of the day, I don't think 90% of the population has a living room big enough for 4 people waving their arms about anyway, certainly not while keeping within range of the PlayStation Eye. So, we'll still have to wait for interesting software before things get... er... interesting.

P.S. Since there's some news of GT5 now using "Move" I'm wondering how you're supposed to hold the thing? Even if it doesn't use the "bulb" to track anything (since driving would presumably just use the accelerometers), I'd think it'd be a bit uncomfortable to hold. Is the bulb detachable?


March 15, 2010, 5:52 am

This definitely isn't the end of the World. A USB Bluetooth adapter with proper support from Sony would soon have another player if not more in the same game?


March 15, 2010, 6:06 am

I don't know about a newly converted lover/hater but I may just have to get me one of these new-fangled gaming machines, when the new interface devices get released.

Natal looks good, but I've heard problems of lag and bad performance under certain lighting conditions. It also seems over-complicated. Move seems the one I'm drawn towards, plus I can always play FFXIII (with HD video) on it, if I get bored of the magic wands.

Then there's all the other stuff next-gen consoles can do, like downloadable movies & online game stores. It's all very tempting - will have to see what the prices are like when they get refreshed this Autumn/Winter.


March 15, 2010, 12:33 pm

@DrDark - No having a go, I can't argue with most of your points... I think Sony have gone a little mad with their decision making processes around Move! They could have gone the Buzz route, their buzzers come with a dongle and you can use 8 of them simultaneously...

It's going to cost $100 for a camera a single Move controller and a nun-chuck... Who's going to splash out on a combination of 7 different controllers for this thing anyway?

For what it's worth here, you're not limited to connecting four SIXAXIS controllers, you can use seven... Although I can't think of even one game that gives you the ability!


March 15, 2010, 1:09 pm

I also knew about the 7 controller thing already but for some reason never thought about 4 player requiring 8. What a joke! Of course this will impact on sales. The PS3 may be for the "hardcore" gaming sector but Im pretty sure Sony have their eye on grabbing a chunk of the family friendly Wii market.

Seems to me like a lot of faffing around (and money) if a bluetooth adapter is needed. Plenty of time for Sony to sort things out though but it'd be a waste of potential to ignore the 4 player at home scene.

@Cub - Im sure PES used to give up to 7 players. At least an earlier version did. Might be wrong though!


March 15, 2010, 2:39 pm

@Cub: Indeed, pricing will be their other issue.

Like I said, I know there's a 7 device limit for bluetooth connections in general. But while it's theoretically possible, I'm not sure Sony is intending for anyone to connect so many: hence their controller lights http://techkiehouse.com/mai...

Unless of course you're aware of a game which does use some kind of light combination to indicate the extra controllers? {e.g. Lighting up 2+3 to indicate player 5, 2+4... etc., you get the idea}

Any ideas on the possible GT5 control method?

@Jones: Well, a lot of Wii casual games only use the Wii Remote part anyway, so Sony's biggest hurdle is still pricing. Of course the likes of racing in the Sonic Olympic games wouldn't work since they need alternating arm waggling. But then most people's arms fall off after ten minutes of that anyway :P.


March 15, 2010, 2:52 pm

@DrDark - that's exactly how they do it with the light - 4+1=5, 4+2=6, 4+3=7 - it's all on the SIXAXIS wiki entry... It's just never actually done in practise! (bar, maybe, PES...)

Will be interesting to see how they do the GT5 conrols with it, as well as with ModNation racer which I'm very much looking forward to! Saw a clip of the new mechanism introduced to LBP for use with Move, looks cool, but will be such a niche for such a long time...


March 15, 2010, 3:04 pm

@drdark: You're spot on about the arms falling off with Mari and Sonic Olympics! I had arms like Popeye after a day on that. I guess in hindsight to my comments, the current trend (not including Wii) is for online multiplayer in any case - maybe 2 player split screen at most. Bit of a shame as I have some cracking memories of my youth playing split screen Goldeneye, Snowboard Kids and the likes of Timesplitter 2 (flame mode was hilarious) and NCW vs NWO etc etc. God I sound like a loser...


March 15, 2010, 4:41 pm

@Cub: Urgh, my stomach just turned when I realised my mind and that of PS Devs "think alike" :P.

Hmmm, I hadn't seen all the individual demos yet, so only just looked at the LBP one now. Unfortunately I don't have any audio output at the moment, but from what I can tell one guy's playing and the other's helping him out? While very neat to see in the LBP environment, I'm afraid it's still very "been there, done that" for any Wii gamer:



If Sony wants to impress ME, they have their work cut out :-D.

@Jones: You sound like someone who had a lot of fun; nothing to be ashamed of :). I expect you had to stop when you went looking for a girlfriend though :P {Ouch, sorry, couldn't resist ;)}.


March 15, 2010, 5:03 pm

Couldn't this be solved by simply combining the wand and the sub controllers output signal?

I.e, the sub controller communicates directly with the wand and then both only require 1 bluetooth lane. After all, put together doesn't the wand and the sub controller have a similar number of buttons to 1 dual shock.


March 15, 2010, 6:12 pm

@J4cK1505: Having to pass the signal from the SubCon to Move then to PS3 may introduce detrimental lag, however tiny. Also not sure, but might affect the Move controller's battery life.


March 15, 2010, 9:13 pm

@DrDark - I saw it without sound too. But I assumed it was just one person controlling the game. The controls aren't complex and could easily be mapped to the limited number of buttons on Move and the nun-chuck...

@J4cK1505 - that's exactly what I was going to suggest... Sony clearly have the wrong people working in R&D. At least they have R&D, unlike a certain other company in the gaming arena... <ducks>


March 15, 2010, 10:00 pm

@Cub: "<ducks>"

You referencing more Sony tech demos again? :P


March 16, 2010, 12:18 am

This is why pc gaming is the best. The platform future proofs itself in the decisions it takes with design, compatibility and devices. Console manufacturers think only in the short term. Unless their next platform supports these controllers or is back-ward compatible (probably won't happen) then it's a massive investment wasted for short term profits. People won't but it, if they think a limited number of games will be released for it. Developers will also be suspect.


March 16, 2010, 3:41 am

Really 88? Because at least with a console you pretty much know everything is gonna run the way it should, at a relatively reasonable price and decent lifespan. With building a gaming rig you've got to decide how smooth you want your games to run in advance within your budget, and assemble the components accordingly. And futureproofing? Today's 5970 is tomorrow's Prescott-on-a-treadmill. PC gaming appears to be for those with an abundance of spare time and change. Consoles cut out the hassle for most people.


March 16, 2010, 2:02 pm

Ooh, someone's bitter about PCs :P.

While I prefer the PC overall, I would have to concede it doesn't do everything (game-wise) and though the Keyboard/mouse is my preferred control method for many things, consoles over more diverse interaction options.

Anyway, a lot of the "hassle" these days is added by stupid publishers and their excessive PC DRM and "signing in" plugins... I must have signed up for seven different accounts over the past 2 days for just 4 games...

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