When Sony announced that it would be releasing a motion controller for the PlayStation 3, no one was shocked. The success of the Wii had virtually guaranteed that Nintendo's competitors would start scrambling to enter the motion-controlled space in due time.
Sony had been internally working with motion controls for quite some time (even releasing titles that, paired with the EyeToy, contained rudimentary functionality), but it wasn't until the Game Developers Conference earlier this year that it gave it a name: PlayStation Move. Following the reveal, Sony ushered attending press and developers into a massive room to get their hands on early software.
My first impressions? Underwhelming. The controller's performance was somewhat iffy, likely skewed a bit by poor lighting and 50-plus Bluetooth controllers all vying for air time. And the software? I already had a Wii, thanks. Yes, I was that guy.
But after spending some time with the controller and a batch of software in the comfort of my own living room for the past week or so, my tune has changed. Simply put, I'm impressed by what Sony has to offer; it may have a winner on its hand with PlayStation Move.
Warning! Warning! Warning!
Get used to this image -- it's the screen you'll see immediately upon booting up any game that utilizes PlayStation Move. Remember, knocking over a lamp and then smacking a dude in the face is bad.
Setting up the controllers
As I had only been handed Move controllers already set up for demonstration purposes, I was particularly curious to find out what the setup process would be like in my home. As it turns out, it’s an absolute breeze.
The calibration dance
How do the controllers feel?
It's a wand, it's a remote, it's... thing with a bulb on it
"See you later, Navigator!"
The Navigation controller features a single analog stick, as well as a D-pad, two triggers, and two face buttons, circle and X. It’s not curved like the Wii Nunchuk, and therefore didn’t feel quite as comfortable in my hand. The lack of curvature isn’t a deal breaker; the controller still feels nice in your palm, and the buttons that count (the two triggers on the back) sit in the right places.
It works, it works well, and it does some fancy tricks
While most of the Move software suggests you stand anywhere between six to eight feet from the PS Eye, I found that I had no problems if I stood or sat even closer. Move also seems to work just as well with lights on or lights off, probably because of the blindingly bright (and admittedly distracting) bulb.
It's all about the games
Out of the gate, Sony is pairing its powerhouse console with some of the most impressive motion-control technology the market has seen. It's got a decent lineup of software that ranges from casual-centric titles to impressive tech demos, along with some updates to already established games, so it should appeal to a wide audience. It's clear that Sony -- with this outstanding technology -- has the bones to be a fighter that can hold its own in the motion-control space. Whether it has the brains is mostly up to developers; whether it has the stamina is up to consumers.
PlayStation Move is hits North American retail shelves on September 19. Closer to release, we'll have a full launch guide, along with a more detailed look at the games that will be available.
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