Feeds

Sony shows off PS3 motion-control magic wand

Great tech, but too late?

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Hot on the heels of Microsoft's hands-free 'Project Natal', Sony showed off its own motion controller today at its E3 press conference. And that means all three major video game consoles will offer a motion control gadget.

Playstation Motion Control, which is still in the prototype stage, is a wireless wand topped with a color-changing orb that can be tracked by the PS3's EyeToy camera.

The wand seems to be more of a direct answer to Nintendo's Wii remote than the alternative route to motion control taken by Microsoft. With an analog trigger and an unspecified number of buttons, the stick showed impressive one-to-one mapping that appears to rival or perhaps even outdo the Wii's upcoming MotionPlus peripheral.

The orb on top can also be used for optical tracking similar to Hollywood-style motion-capture. For example, when you hold the wand up to the camera, users would see themselves holding a sword or tennis racket on-screen.

Live tech demos on stage showed sophisticated control through a gamut of archery, tennis, and swordplay minigames. More impressive was using two wands together to fire a virtual bow and arrow, and using the want to write with extremely high precision.

Sony Computer Entertainment America chief Jack Tretton called the Motion Control "technology that's much closer to real life than anything you've ever seen," adding that we'll be hearing a lot more about it later. The tech is scheduled to be released in 2010.

The hardware conglom also officially revealed the slim-design PSP Go, which had its thunder stolen yesterday thanks to a leaked promotional video ®

Bootnote

As impressive as the Sony and Microsoft motion-control tech appears to be, El Reg is going to tell you why both are doomed to fail.

The primary rule in the game console biz is to get third-party developers to support the platform. This can't happen with either motion control regimes because;

1) They weren't shipped with the console at launch. No sane developer is going to risk ruining a game's potential appeal to the public at large by making it only playable by those who've purchased a bonus (and potentially expensive) gadget.

There will be doubtlessly be niche games supporting the tech, but no major title will limit itself to a motion-control only scheme on the PS3 and 360. Devs will instead gear a game for the regular controller that everyone is guaranteed to have and perhaps opt to tack on motion-control as afterthought.

2) There are now three consoles with completely disparate motion control schemes. If you can't make a game easily ported to all three, you'll probably limit yourself to just one. And chances are you'll pick the console with the enormous user base guaranteed to have the right equipment: the Nintendo Wii.

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more
Oh yeah ... and a 30% cut for Amazon to seal the deal
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London
Plus: Almost NOBODY uses pay-by-bonk on buses - Visa
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.