PlayStation Move may be four years behind the Nintendo Wii, but it's a major leap forward for the age of motion gaming. The new set of peripherals, available this weekend for the Sony PlayStation 3, doesn't revolutionize video games, but it shows Nintendo fans what they're missing out on: surprisingly precise controls paired with current-generation graphics. Click the blue arrows to check out the full review of PlayStation Move and several PS3 motion games.
The tech behind PlayStation Move is what really sets it apart from Nintendo. Because of hardware limitations, the Wii only tracks relative movements (panning left, right, up, down) and pointing at objects on the screen – adding Wii Motion Plus allows the system to pick up orientation as well. But Sony's combination of wireless controllers and a video camera allows for near 1:1 movement within a 3-D space. While gripping a Move controller, your on-screen sword, magic wand, or ping pong paddle will match your every contortion. Roll your wrists, lunge at the camera – Move will keep up with almost zero lag.
PlayStation Move may carry motion gaming into a more adult context, but the peripherals themselves still look goofy. The main Move controller resembles a toy ice cream cone. Its curved body is quite comfortable to grip, but the glowing ball atop has already sparked a "what are you doing?" conversation with the neighbors. While holding the controller, your pointer finger curls around a trigger – which games use to great effect to simulate picking up objects – and your thumbs rest on a ring of buttons that add extra commands. The layout takes a little getting used to, but no more than when you picked up a PS3 controller for the first time.
While Sony has nailed the feeling of motion-controls, the illusion falls apart if the camera ever loses sight of a controller. This won't be a problem for most people, since games don't ask you to do any behind-the-back tricks. But small living rooms may cramp the Move. Sony recommends you stand eight feet away from the camera. Any closer and you'll quickly fall out of frame.
Next up: Sony's answer to Wii Sports
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