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Sony Unveils 'PlayStation Move' Motion Controller

Gordon Kelly


Sony Unveils 'PlayStation Move' Motion Controller

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.


Press Release


March 11, 2010, 12:28 pm

Descenting voices?

descenting - surgical excision of the sebaceous glands on the top of the head of the male goat or the anal sacs of the skunk in order to eliminate the unpleasant odors each gives off.

What happened to your spell check?


March 11, 2010, 1:57 pm

Not a fanboy here (I own all 3 current gen consoles) but these controllers look like crap! However, if they can work as well as Nintendo's then it is something Im really looking forward to. Wii controls + top graphics (or more importantly, HD displays) will = a better experience.


March 11, 2010, 2:44 pm

I'd take a natal even with a little lag. I can't wait till the tech comes to pc's


March 11, 2010, 3:06 pm

It's surprising Sony have taken so long to come up with something similar to the Wiimote. Admittedly there was a lot of skepticism about the Wii originally: its hardware is relatively under-powered, the controller was aimed more towards casual gaming and hardcore gaming types generally dismissed it as a gimmick. But the success of the Wii has proven the market was definitely there and I think there were plenty of non-skeptics who could see that also.

P.S. I think you mean "dissenting voices".


March 11, 2010, 3:22 pm

@Insegnante: Ta, fixed.

Ala Miah

March 11, 2010, 4:45 pm

Fantastic, I can't wait. I've been waiting for something like this ever since i got the ps3 and not the Wii. I so far havent even tough a wii remote whereas everyone else who doesnt even own a wii has.

i am looking forward to kicking some ass and hopefully my newphew to become slim in no time at all.

Tim Sutton

March 11, 2010, 6:00 pm

Everytime I play on my little brothers Wii I enjoy the novelty of the remote for about 5 minutes and then switch to a Gamecube pad to actually enjoy the game.

MarioKart Wii was the title that really debunked the whole Wiimote idea for me. I'd never played it before, but with a GC pad I was easily beating my brother who was using a remote. I'm no gaming expert and he'd had the game for months.. it wasn't even close.

So I'm unconvinced so far that these control methods are the way forward. Casual gamers will enjoy them for a bit, maybe a slice of that market is all Sony are after.


If your nephew needs to lose some weight he doesn't need £200 worth of PS3 equipment, he needs £200 worth of bike and some salad :-)

Ala Miah

March 11, 2010, 6:36 pm


He has a bike albeit a not a £200 pound one - what he tells me is when its not broken'it's too dman cold outside' and I kinda agree. For the past 5 or 6 months the weather has been terrible.

We barely get any summer so those bike riding days are very few and far inbetween imafriad.

But Ah Salad - Only If i could convice him to eat that!


March 11, 2010, 6:40 pm

Bland name is bland :|


March 11, 2010, 6:54 pm

Might be useful for the odd FPS I suppose. In the same way the existing Wii controllers would be, if the Wii had any FPS games worth playing.


March 11, 2010, 7:27 pm

Can't see this being much more than a gimmick. Main reason is that most PS3 owners won't have it - therefore it will hard to convince developers to invest and make any decent games for it. This kind of addon's very rarely succeed. I have a Wii as well and it really doesn't get used that much. It only really comes out at "party" time when people want something a bit mindless to play. As was said above, for a lot of the games the WiiMote is just a pain to use. For the same reason I don't think the Microsoft variation will fair much better.

I think the Wii has succeeded because it has been marketed so well and fair play to Nintendo for that. It looks like something you really want, but I know so many people who have one and they largely just collect dust.


March 11, 2010, 7:37 pm

Hah. The PS3 was supposed to be the po-faced console for serious gamers who need their tech to be black and humourless, and the Wii's success has now caused them to make a bubblegum dispenser. Plus that big coloured orb looks like it would just be all the more heart-wrenching when it goes SMASH.


March 11, 2010, 8:10 pm

@darkspark88: It came to PCs about five years ago, the wii was based on Gyration's mouse tech and TrackIR for controlling the camera with your head is already widely supported.

Razer are apparently developing a wii style controller pair, but my money is going on the force simulators like the Novint Falcon rather than these sort of free motion devices for PC gaming - although hopefully both will get widespread support.


March 11, 2010, 8:36 pm

@Xiphias - I know what you're saying, I read up on that tech after Natal was first announced, but I mean Natal itself (the whole package of hardware including software support). I know there are other tech out there for interfacing with computers, but Natal is what will really take this stuff mass market.

After all, you could argue the P5 glove (http://www.vrealities.com/P5.h... existed way before playstation move, and Sony has simply made the tech mainstream and advanced it. But there is more to it than that.


March 11, 2010, 9:09 pm

Ever since the Natal/Move were both unveiled, I've always been of the impression that Sony's version is a lot more flexible. Natal is impressive with the "pick up a plate a drive" type of thing, but there's some things that you *need* buttons for! For example, a driving game, on Natal you can pick up a plate as a steering wheel, but how do you tell the game to accelerate or brake? Hover your feet above the floor? Other example, gun games where Natal would have you holding your hand up like a gun. How do you pull the trigger? Can it detect the slight movement of your finger?

The only part of the Move that I've not so sure of is the layout of the action buttons on the "right hand" controller. Why have they changed the "+" layout that everyone's familiar with? Surely they could have just split the standard PS3 controller in half and left the action button layout as it was?


March 12, 2010, 1:14 am

I wonder if developers like Quantic Dream would've used something like this in Heavy Rain if it were available to them? or do something using this controller system in another game (even though it may take more than 2 years to make another game like this)


March 12, 2010, 3:00 am

Can't Ninty do an Apple and (try to) do Sony for some sort of patent infringement?

Couldn't care less about this in the slightest. Or Natal. Actually hope it fails miserably so that future games aren't crippled for the sake of adding some gimmicky motion control.


March 12, 2010, 4:40 am

Is it just me or does it look like that silly ball thing on the end of it break off the first time the controller is thrown on the floor in disgust or slips out of one's hand in a moment of excited game playing.


March 12, 2010, 5:05 am

@dcdigitalphoto - it's squashy, not solid


March 12, 2010, 5:33 pm

@ravmania - From what I've read, there's no grounds for a case there at all. Other than the fact that they look similar, the technology used is vastly different and somewhat superior.

When you say "do an Apple", is similar to how Apple "Do a Nokia"? And how Nokia "Do a <insert company name here>"? Seriously, some people say the silliest things to try and tarnish the name of a company that they disagree with ;-)

Although I&#8217m slightly more impressed by the tech than I was a few days ago, I still don&#8217t see this, or Natal, being huge game changers in this generation. Sony have got the upper-hand slightly - although Natal can detect an upper-hand slightly better (geddit?) - Move and the PlayStation Eye can do a lot of what Natal does, plus, they have a controller!


March 12, 2010, 8:43 pm

I've seen loads of lag complaints all over the place - ah, just seen your update.

I've also not seen anything to indicate the WiiMotionPlus will be put to shame; in fact, here's a reminder:



@Cub: Nice wording ;).

P.S. Anyone whose Wii is collecting dust yet calls themselves a gamer; isn't. Fact.


March 13, 2010, 5:52 pm

@DrDark - Unless you can correct me, Wii's MotionPlus can't detect depth... That's a pretty big peeing for starters! Plus the accuracy of Move (seriously, who made the final decision on that brand name?) is way ahead of MotionPlus'... Unless those game journalist folk are lying to me again.


March 15, 2010, 12:04 am

@Cub: I can't find exact sources to indicate whether the MotionPlus improves depth detection for the wii remote and you're right the Move will be better at that. However some Wii games already have numerous "thrust" actions which do work (and some which don't: some Sonic&TheSecretRings minigames spring to mind). Of course, in this case it's down to smart programming. Which is kind of the point I was trying to make. Even if the technology is different and should technically work better, decent programming can often overcome hardware shortcomings (and intelligent game design of course, not playing that down either).

As for journalistic folk, I haven't spoken to any (yet) but from what I've read online, most are impressed but as Gordon mentioned, there have been comments of lag.

I just posted Red Steel 2 as an example of high quality implemented motion controls which are available now/soon. So, that's what Sony has to compete with. They need to basically iron out kinks and make sure they have solid software for the holiday season. If it ends up at launch being: Their "Wii Sports Resort"(can't remember the name they gave it; Socom 4 and the rejigged Resi5, it'll be rather meh.

They also need to not get too over-confident (although at this point, it's clear there's no stopping them) as I just realised Nintendo's first-half-of-the-year line-up is devoid of MotionPlus: Mario Galaxy 2, Metroid Other M, Sin&Punishment 2.

Zelda is reportedly a MotionPlus exclusive and /may/ debut in the second half of the year. And they're being very secretive of E3.

So, basically the Wii could have a big MotionPlus Exclusive line-up for the holidays. And from what I've seen from a consumer perspective, not "technically", the Move will need a very solid software line-up to combat that.

I could go on, but someone from TR is probably getting very tired reading my long posts :P.

Oh, I think I saw a headline somewhere that GT5 will now have Move implementation {hands up anyone who didn't see that coming}.


March 15, 2010, 7:20 am

Thanks Gordon. Still looks silly.

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