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01 Jul 2010

MOTION CONTROL IS THE NEXT BIG THING, and Sony and Microsoft are about the catch up with what Nintendo’s been doing for years. But can Move and Kinect offer experiences we haven’t seen yet; things developers haven’t even done on Wii? Or are they just after a slice of the casual gaming audience that made Nintendo super-richer? We know what you’re thinking, and it was our fi rst question too. But to call PlayStation Move ‘Wii HD’ is an injustice, says our Sony rep, senior product manager Krister Robinson, who stated that Move is far more accurate than Wii Motion Plus. It’s pinpoint-to-the-nearestmillimetre accurate in motion tracking and in seeing where the controllers are in 3D space, says Sony, and that’s the difference. Move uses three ‘ometers’ to follow the movement of the motion controller in 3D space while the PlayStation Eye camera tracks the sphere for your location. Your PS3 then magically puts it all on screen. The reaction time, from your movement to seeing it on screen, is said to be 22 milliseconds, which is too quick for our eyes to clock. But put into perspective, it’s something like fi ve times faster than a human’s refl exes. Science aside, what does this actually mean for you and your games? I’ll point out here that our demo took place before Sony’s big E3 conference. So while we only got to see early-in-development party games (not the best examples of why Move isn’t Wii HD), Sony may have already shown off something like God Of War IV: Move that puts Nintendo and Microsoft to shame. Of course, it might not have too... Move Party (a working title) and Sports Championship will be launch titles, and they bring a familiar selection of party and minigames to the table. Picking up the handheld motion controller (there is also a ‘sub controller’ coming – think the left half of a DualShock pad with face buttons) and standing in front of the PlayStation Eye, we were fi rst greeted with a collaboration screen. Our Move controller had been magically transformed into a comedy sponge fi nger and we were wobbling it around with venom trying to spot that 22-millisecond lag. We couldn’t. Moments later the fi nger had become an electric fan for our fi rst mini-game, which saw us having to blow falling birds into nests before they hit the fl oor. Whoever saved the most won. There were no issues with how the controller felt, and getting used to the new Action button and trigger, alongside the standard buttons, wasn’t diffi cult. The light bulb-looking thing on top of the controller is a squishy ball that lights up different colours depending on how many people are playing. You can have up to seven two-controller setups connected at any one time. The second Move Party game we tried saw us using the controller to batter incoming swarms of bugs off the screen. We got the feeling that all the mini-games in Move Party would be pretty simple, yet fun in a multiplayer setting. On to Sports Championship next, which was a medley of more serious, Olympic-type events that had us using two Move controllers for archery (one for the arrow and one for the bow) and gladiator battles (sword and shield). We also used the controller to play Frisbee golf, which should be self-explanatory. Sony says Move’s speed and accuracy will open up a new way of playing games. And while there’s no doubt that Move is more accurate than Wii, what these new ways of playing games will be remains to be seen. We can’t see hardcore Tekken gamers choosing Move over a traditional pad, but we can see core and casual gamers equally enjoying something like Sony’s Fight or even EA’s Fight Night, which has surely got to be in development for Move? After all, Wii Boxing was a family favourite. Hopefully E3 has already revealed these new ways of playing games, in which case we’ll have a full report next issue.