E3 2010: PlayStation Move
While Microsoft's Kinect motion controller was to be found advertised in the mirror of nearly every E3 attendee's bathroom (including my hotel), Sony were focussing attention on their less radical, wand-based controller - dubbed 'Move' - which is already being described by some as less daring but ultimately more accurate and (whisper it) more versatile than Kinect.
We've been playing with PlayStation Move at E3 today, and looking at the range of games Sony are plotting to release for the device which it arrives this autumn.
First out of the gesture-controlled hat is The Shoot, an on-rails shooter which sees the wand controller become a gun, the player tasked with taking out bad guys and sparing innocents in a battle through the violent city streets. Cartoon-style visuals abound in this simple but effective demonstration of Move's use,
Next up is a somewhat surreal rapping and cooking game, TV Superstars - which sees players competing in five 'game shows'. The first is a paint cannon and stunt show, the next sees you striking poses in a variety of outfits. Then there's a DIY makeover show,a singing and cooking trial and a TV commercial show.
Sports Champions is next out of the hat, mixing in a range of activities including Disc Golf, Gladiator Duel, Beach Volleyball, Archery, Table Tennis and Bocce. We had some hands on time with the table tennis mode, finding it very sharp and responsive, if not a revolution of what the Wii presently offers.
The Fight sees PlayStation Move getting serious next, mixing in gritty boxing action with bloody and potentially controversial fighting. The control scheme looks to work perfectly, two wands acting as two fists and tracking movement in a 3D space, and all this is set off nicely by stylish, sharp visuals. The action appears to be accurate, and The Fight could count among the more hardcore Move games - a title likely to appeal to current PS3 gamers.
Another casual offering now, and one I'm thankful to say I watched rather than experienced first hand: SingStar Dance.
The Move camera is used to add dancing to SingStar, allowing one player to sing while the other dances. Alternatively, four players can sing and dance together; tan on-screen dancer providing the moves to follow. Players will be scored based on their dancing and singing, and this Move functionality will also liven up videos and the like.
Last on show today was Kung Fu Rider, another on-rails action game which sees players using the Move wands to battle through hordes of foes across a range of environments. Visually, we're back The Shoot territory, although it is unclear how well the control scheme matches the gameplay on this one - the free-form nature of combat potentially better suited to the uninhibited Kinect system on Xbox 360.
Having looked at Move first-hand its hard not to be impressed by the accuracy of the technology, and the ranges of uses Sony are putting it to. What is less obvious is how much of genuine leap over the Wii Move represents, and it is here where Sony may still be looking nervously over their shoulders at Kinect and Microsoft. More on PlayStation Move soon.