This year will be the year Sony and Microsoft joined the motion-control party. Even though Nintendo has held the trump card up until now with the family-friendly Wii console, it was only a matter of time before its competitors threw their caps into the ring. Both of the new technologies have been on the radar since E3 2009, and Sony has managed to edge out Microsoft’s Kinect in terms of getting to market. But how does it perform, and what can we expect in the future?
Straight out of the box the starter kit has everything you need to get into the experience: a PlayStation Eye camera and the Move Wand (but no sub-controller). You will probably already have the system update, but if not, expect a healthy download.
The peripherals plug straight into the console via USB connections as you would expect, and once the Wand is charged it can be happily waved around wirelessly. You will then need to go through a simple calibration set-up, not forgetting to ensure that your body is in the right shape and space for the camera to pick up the Wand’s movements. Your environmental set-up will dictate how often you will need to recalibrate the device. Bear this in mind if you are moving all around the room, because the sensors are still relying on the camera angle to pick up position and speed. It is all too easy to over-extend your body during play and fall out of the camera’s reach.
Much has been made of the Wand itself and its multi-colour glowing ball. My first thought was how surprisingly light in the hand it was. I personally feel that it should have had a bit more weight to it, which would give the vibration something to fight against. As you will read in the Sports Champions boxout, the controller feels great for table tennis. That’s not surprising, because holding the controller is very much like holding a table tennis bat. However, holding the controller while trying to throw an in-game Frisbee on a different axis makes for a much more frustrating experience.
There are some attempts to win over the hardcore gamers, with Move controls added to Heavy Rain and Resident Evil 5, but until we see some titles that bring sublime control and interaction to the table it will be a long battle. For some households I am sure it is a worthy and natural successor to the Wii. Personally I am holding out to make a balanced decision between Move and Kinect before being convinced to take the plunge into the motion movement.
It is worth noting that the PSN store is now awash with Move-related titles; even iPod favourite Flight Control has made an appearance. How it plays remains to be seen, and having spent plenty of time dragging my fingers across a touchscreen, I cannot see Move replicating that level of control smoothly.
Overall, PlayStation Move has left me feeling underwhelmed. The current crop of titles consists mainly of contrived efforts to connect the gamer to the action, and for the most part they could be considered polished tech demos. There are a few standout efforts that must be applauded; we have covered a couple here, but that does not give me enough motivation to buy, calibrate and use this system on a regular basis. I would expect one day that the Move peripherals feel as much a part of the console experience as a standard Six-axis controller, but at the moment it is very much a bolt-on novelty with an attention span to match.