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PlayStation Move, why aren't you moving?

12:00 PM on 11.16.2011 // Jim Sterling

The PlayStation Move came to North America on September 17, 2010. In that time, I think I've used the peripheral maybe six times. This is said as a person whose job it is to own and use one of these things.

When the controller was first introduced, Sony made a big deal about how it could create richer, deeper experiences than we'd gotten on the Wii. Coupled with Sony's more "hardcore" focus, we seemed in line to receive the kind of motion-controlled games that had a real edge and innovation to them, rather than the waggling minigames the Wii has helped perpetuate so damn much.

So ... where are they? Where are these deep experiences? Why, over a year on from the peripheral's release, are we still getting proof-of-concept games instead of actual games?

With the PlayStation Move's being out for over a year, the grace period where Sony could get away with shallow waggle-based minigames and glorified tech demos ought to have expired. However, this week I was sent a tote bag of PS Move review copies by Sony, and looking inside I found ... waggle-based minigames and glorified tech demos.

Medieval Moves: Deadmund's Quest is one such game. It's an on-rails shooter/slasher that could have been legitimately brilliant had the developers not played it so damn safe. While its sword combat is decent and the bow-and-arrow controls surprisingly good, these ideas are barely developed from the launch title Sports Champions. What could have been a third-person action-adventure, one along the lines of, say, The Legend of Zelda, is just another on-rails demonstration of ideas in an industry that's become swollen with such things. The lack of bravery exhibited in the game is so obvious that it punches you in the face. 

Carnival Island was also in the bag, and I think the game's name says it all. It's yet another collection of vague funfair minigames, the kind that have been on the Wii since at least 2007. You can throw balls! You can steer things! You can throw other kinds of balls! How innovative, how amazing, how exactly like so many other fucking games we've seen on rival systems!


Rounding out the package was EyePet & Friends, a sequel to a PlayStation Eye game that was interminably vapid, and LittleBigPlanet 2: Special Edition, a re-release of a game that arrived earlier this year and includes a bunch of Move-focused DLC.

That is Sony's big holiday lineup this year -- another tech demo, a collection of carnival minigames, a sequel to a game nobody loved, and a repackaged special edition. Forgive me if I'm being hard to please, but it's hardly a handjob from Debra Messing.

Over the course of the year, the PlayStation Move's primary use was as an optional control method in games not designed with it predominantly in mind. Killzone 3, Resistance 3, and inFAMOUS 2 all had options for the Move, but they tended to change the way each game was played. In the case of first-person shooters, the garish new targeting reticule made aiming ridiculously easy and had a detrimental effect on the multiplayer, especially for those who didn't find the Move comfortable in an FPS and instead found themselves slaughtered by those who were having their hands held by a giant yellow circle that glowed bright red on the tiniest of targets.

Without these optional control schemes, however, players would have had ZERO use for the Navigation Controller, the analog-stick secondary peripheral that Sony had the nerve to sell separately for $39.99 and then did nothing with. The Navigation Controller could have made for some genuinely exciting "real" games that used motion as an enhancement, but I'm willing to bet that its status as a separately purchased add-on is what has stopped games like Deadmund's Quest from being anything other than an on-rails affair. I doubt developers want to further shrink their potential audience by requiring another controller that gamers aren't guaranteed to have.

Unfortunately, this becomes a vicious circle. No games want to use the Navigation Controller because so few gamers own one, but so few gamers own one because no games want to use the Navigation Controller. As with so many PlayStation-flavored problems, it's Sony's job to lead the way and work hard on producing enthralling games that exploit this forgotten peripheral. However, as with so many PlayStation-flavored problems, Sony won't fucking bother. 

The only PlayStation Move game that's ever looked worth a shit is Sorcery, and unsurprisingly, it's a game that we've seen bugger-all from since the Move first launched. In December, Sony is due to finally unveil a hands-on version of the game, and I am expecting good things. Even if it is good, however, it's a year too late and it's just one game. Right now, the Move is putting out games that exist only to make Move owners feel like they weren't ripped off in 2010, and that's not a good position for any consumer product to be in. A year removed from launch, the Move should be producing awesome new experiences, not desperately struggling to still validate its existence.

More importantly, a product more technologically advanced than the Wii, on a superior console, should not be pathetically retreading Nintendo's footsteps and regurgitating the kind of experiences that we've already been playing for years. The PlayStation Move could be a leader, but it's straggling as a follower. Sure, its controls may be a little more precise than those on the Wii, but that means jack shit when you're just reproducing the same kind of content.

We don't need that. We don't need tech demos anymore, and we don't need proofs-of-concept. If you've been unable to prove your concept in over a year, then what the fuck were you doing for the past twelve months? The time when cute little demonstrations of ideas were acceptable has long since passed. It's high time that the Move got the kind of experiences that it is capable of. Otherwise, all you have is a shitty little Wii knock-off that's destined to be forgotten.

Apparently, Sony's okay with that.

Jim Sterling, Former Reviews Editor
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Destructoid reviews editor, responsible for running and maintaining the cutting edge videogame critique that people ignore because all they want to see are the scores at the end. Also a regular f... more   |   staff directory

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