By the end of 2008, Nintendo had shipped just shy of 55 million Wiis. In 2009 – three years after the console launched – interest remained so high that the Wii outpaced Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 sales, combined. As Nintendo reps are fond of pointing out, the Wii was a revolutionary device, one that opened up the video-game industry to whole new swaths of gamers, from young kids to their grandparents.
Now, Nintendo's two biggest competitors are hoping to pick up where the Wii left off. On Sept. 17, Sony released the PlayStation Move, a motion-sensing peripheral for the PlayStation 3. The Move works a little like the Wii. The player waves around a plastic wand topped by a colored bulb (the controller looks a lot like a flashlight or a microphone), and the on-screen avatar responds accordingly – yet with much more precision than the Wii can offer.
Sony says the device will work with a range of PlayStation titles, including Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 and a new wizardry game where you wave the Move wand to cast spells. Price points vary. If you already own a PlayStation 3, you can pick up a Move Starter Bundle – which includes a camera, the wand, and a game called Sports Champions – for $100. Or you can buy a new PlayStation 3 with Move and Sports Champions for $400. (A new Wii costs $200.)
Sony is positioning the Move as the device-of-choice for hard-core gamers. Whereas the Wii had cute, fuzzy animals and go-kart racing, the Move will bring motion-sensing technology to shooters, adventure games, and graphics-heavy studio spectaculars.
Meanwhile, the Xbox Kinect doesn't require any controllers. The hands-free device, set for release on Nov. 4, consists of cameras that read your body movements and microphones for voice commands.