Sony’s slightly older groove.

Posted on June 3, 2009 by


As with yesterday, we have a news article from the BBC website, with my comments again, in red
Sony has given the public the first view of its new game controller for the Sony PlayStation 3.


Yep. They’re all at it. If Nintendo hadn’t already thought of it, I would have suspected them to amount a motion sensor-less controller tomorrow.

The Motion Controller for PS3 uses two controllers that work in conjunction with the Sony PlayStation Eye.

Think ‘Wiimote and nunchuk’ and you’re in the right area. Apparently no one cares about copyrights anymore.

The firm said it was a technology demo, but then said the new system would be available early next year.

Oh Sony. You are not a company who should be dabbling in this stupid motion-control arms race. You’re console is flagging, you’ve admitted the UMD drive in the PSP was useless and have promptly dropped it, what you should be doing is focusing on making the PS3 a better console, and getting some damn games for it, not arsing about with the spectacular failure that was the playstation eye.

The news follows Microsoft’s announcement on Monday of a controller-free control system it is calling Project Natal.

I wonder how upset Sony are that MS announced first? Odds are that each knew what the other was doing, but even so. Now they just look like third-hand copycats.

3D gaming

The Motion Controller for PS3 works in a similar way to Nintendo’s Wii controller. A sensor sits on top of the TV and detects the position, distance and movement of two controllers held in a user’s hand.

See? Copyright infringement.

Compared to Project Natal, [the Sony controller] didn’t look quite so compelling
Steve Boxer
Games writer, The Guardian

The device can not only measure where the controllers are in relation to each other, but also how close they are to the sensor, meaning you can create true 3D movement within a game.

So long as you don’t walk into a wall…

The creator of the Sony EyeToy, Dr Richard Marks, who heads up the team developing the Motion Controller for PS3, said the new system was sparking the imagination of game developers.

Such as?

“We expect this to be a great casual gamers’ experience, but we also want to enable some more gamers’ games. We think this would be a great experience too,” he said.

Casual gamers, as I said yesterday are not going to buy a console that is still retailing at about £250, and is chock-full of violence and other child-unfriendly things. They want the bargain-basement Wii, neither Sony nor MS has a hope in hell of cornering the market, not when Nintendo have two years head start, and two of the highest selling casual gaming consoles in the history of ever.

During the demonstration, the developers showed what the Sony PlayStation Controller was capable of, enabling users to wield weapons, fire a bow and arrow, write on screen and manipulate objects in a virtual environment.

Exactly like the things one can do with the Wii. Sony, nobody is impressed. The Wii is like a ZX-spectrum compared to the PS3 with it’s mighty cell processor, but they worked out how to do this ages ago regardless. You’re working from scratch, they have experience, and, they can only get better. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve played the Wii, I quite like the Wii. I preferred it when it was called the Revolution (Yes MS, I have noticed.) but what can you do? But it’s a gimmicky one-trick pony. There’s only so much you can do with motion controls, and only so much pretend tennis you can play before it gets dull. That’s why it’s casual, it’s fun for a while, but the hardcore gamers will never really get into it.

“One thing that is really difficult to do in a virtual world is drawing,” said Mr Marks.

So why do it? What can you possibly gain from such a thing? It’d be like Da Vinci attempting the Mona Lisa on an etch-a-sketch.

“And in particular, writing requires extreme precision. [The controller can be measured] to sub-millimetre accuracy.”

Which is to say, ‘it’s really bloody finnicky’.

Overly optimistic?

Speaking to the BBC, the Guardian newspaper’s games writer, Steve Boxer, said he was not convinced the controller would be ready by spring next year.

And he’s right. This tech is too new, too undeveloped. It has the distinct smell of something Sony dragged out at the last minute to contend with MS.


The PS3 motion controller can simulate 3D movement within a game

“I thought the basic idea behind the controller was sound and could lead to some interesting gameplay, but it was very much a tech demo, and compared to [Microsoft’s] Project Natal, it didn’t look quite so compelling,” he said.

I remember one of Sony’s previous ‘Tech Demos’. It was a Modern re-rendering of the immortal and classic opening of Final Fantasy Seven. And you know what? Instead of wasting their time with motion-sensors, they should be working on a re-make of one of the greatest games ever made.

“But kudos to Sony for recognising the need to make some sort of physical controller,” he added.

Although let’s be honest Steve, you’ve been doing this for a while. You know as well as I do that’s it’s also pretty pointless.

Sony Computer Entertainment (America) President Kaz Hirai told the BBC that they were very pleased with the new technology and played down claims that Microsoft’s Project Natal has taken some of the edge off their launch.

Which of course it had.

“With PlayStation 2, when we launched the EyeToy camera, we had already perfected the art of playing games just using your hands,” he said.

See? Told you.

“The motion controller we demoed today, it raises the bar in terms of accuracy in 3D. It’s all about the accuracy and tracking.”

Call me a sceptic, but i’d much rather have my Dualshock 3 anyday. Even with it’s loose right trigger.

Posted in: Games