The PlayStation Move has been the subject of much ridicule since it was first announced at E3 last year. People called it the Wii clone; a me-too motion controller piggybacking on Nintendo’s innovation and success. And you can’t really fault those people. At first glance, the Move technology is startlingly similar to that of the Nintendo Wii. It uses a bar-like device which you waggle around to control the game. But Sony has been working on motion-controlled gaming for many years. Long before the PS3 or the Wii even came out, the EyeToy for PS2 first introduced motion controls to console gaming. That technology though was more similar to what Microsoft is doing with Kinect, than what Sony is aiming to do with Move.
PlayStation Move comprises the PlayStation Eye camera, which looks like a regular webcam with a big microphone on top of it; the Move controller, which is the primary controller with a glowing squishy rubber ball on top; and the Navigation controller, which is an optional add-on and one that none of the launch titles use or require. It can also be substituted by your regular PS3 controller. The PS Eye, one Move controller, and a disc with nine game demos are packaged together to form the Move Starter Kit, which is what you’ll need to get started with motion gaming on your PS3.
The PlayStation Eye plugs into a USB port on the PS3 and must be placed centrally either at the base or on top of your TV screen. The Move controller is wireless, of course, and can be charged via the USB port using a regular mini USB cable (which isn’t included in the package). Most games recommend that you stand about eight feet away from the screen while playing. but since not many people may have that much open space in front of their TVs, we tried playing from shorter distances (five feet) and there were no control issues. Then again, there are also some games (like Start the Party) which required you to stand closer to the screen than usual.
Plugging the Move controller into the PS3 via USB also syncs it (a one-time process), and once it’s synced, you can also use the Move controller to navigate the PS3’s main menu – the XMB. Besides the four standard face buttons (X, O, Square, and Triangle), the Move controller also sports the large Move button, which is located in the front, and a trigger (T) button at the back, where your index finger rests. The Move and T buttons are well placed, which is great because these are the two buttons you’ll be using the most. Unlike the standard PS3 controller, the T button here has a concave shape (similar to the triggers on an Xbox 360 controller), which makes it far more comfortable to use. It still feels a little soft though, making rapid fire in shooting games like The Shoot less than ideal.
The glowing ball on top of the Move controller is there for a reason. Besides changing colors, it helps the PS Eye detect the depth of the controller, which greatly adds to the controller’s accuracy. There’s no two ways about it. The Move controller is miles ahead of the Wii (even with the Motion Plus) in terms of accuracy and responsiveness. You can no longer get by simply flicking your wrists in games that require a proper backswing. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 demo, where not only the backswing, but also the velocity and direction of your swing are important. Small changes in angle and power can drastically change the outcome of your stroke. It speaks volumes of the Move technology when it can make a technical and intimidating game like Tiger Woods fun and accessible without dumbing it down.
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