Given that we first got a glimpse of the PlayStation motion controller back in June last year it was about time Sony started to firm things up - and today it has.
In an official unveiling at the Games Developers Conference late in the US (thanks Sony, a nice 2am write-up for me), the company formally launched the 'PlayStation Move'. Looking very similar to the Wii remote and Nunchuck (dubbed the 'sub-controller') it claims to be infinitely more accurate than its rival and operate without any lag.
The whole system works over Bluetooth, with the Move communicating to a PlayStation Eye webcam. This has a distinct advantage over the Wii since the Eye can also capture a player's voice to allow audio commands and recognise their image to enable augmented reality experiences. Oh and if you're wondering what that ball is at the end it's called the 'Light Sphere' and changes colour to enhance the atmosphere. Think Philips Ambilight, but on a small - and in my opinion - rather unnecessary scale.
So how does this all stack up? Based on early reports, extremely well with the sensitivity and reaction speed of the Move drawing particular praise. This is courtesy of the three axis gyroscope, three axis accelerometer and terrestrial magnetic field sensor inside the controller and looks set to put even the Wii MotionPlus to shame. Battery life? Sony didn't say, but with built-in rechargeable lithium-ion batteries charging will be convenient.
Furthermore, Sony says the Move has a very low impact on system performance so "many of our existing franchises" will be made backwards compatible. Support is also strong with 36 third party developers and publishers signed up so far and more than 20 dedicated or supported Move titles are expected before April 2011. A launch timeframe has been ambiguously described as "late 2010".
If there is a criticism, it is that the PlayStation Move certainly doesn't have anywhere near the Wow Factor of Microsoft's controller-less Project Natal, but with early feedback on Natal claiming lag issues it remains to be seen if Sony's more conservative approach may ultimately pay more dividends...?
Update: After a flurry of initially very positive reactions, we're starting to hear some dissenting voices that do claim lag issues. Of course everything is still at the beta stage, but perhaps it isn't all such smooth sailing after all.