In many respects, Sony have had the upper hand on the current motion-tracking technologies, since they have learnt such a great deal from what the Nintendo Wii has offered to the industry, and have decidedly taken a different avenue to that of Microsofts 'Kinnect' - the latest 'controller-less' gadget which requires no buttons at all. Well, maybe the Power Button... Maybe.
It is fairly obvious however that Sony have made a good choice by sticking to a hand-held controller that retains buttons, as for all the interactivity (or least contemporary nature of having as little as possible) of Kinnect, video games were born from button-wielding, and given how much more can be offered to the user by presenting them with, in the Playstation Moves case, 6 buttons, I felt this purchase actually had a future in terms of the hardware, and wasn't limited to merely flailing about in front of the TV performing gestures. And if you don't already own a 'Playstation Eye Camera', this is the product for you.
Within the box, you're going to find;
- 1 x Playstation Move Controller (with Triangle, Circle, Square, Cross, Start, Select, PS Button, 'Move' Button and Trigger Button), and that is charged by the USB cable that came with your PS3. Lost it? I'll grab my coat...
- 1 x Wrist Strap that ties on to the controller. Exactly the same principle as the Nintendo Wii - to stop injuring innocent people and to protect your precious TV.
- 1 x Playstation Eye Camera, to, excuse the pun, keep an Eye on your controller, thereby 'tracking' it in real time. Oh, and the person holding it!
- 1 x 'Starter Disc' in its own case.
Amongst all this you'll find the usual leaflets with health warnings and blurb, but no-where will you find any kind of introduction/quick-start documentation. Not a great start if you look at the 'Starter Disc' case and presume its simply a selection of Demo's, because essentially, thats all it is. Alas however, it does contain one short video. To learn how to set-up your Playstation Move equipment, you will need to insert the disc into your console and select the Guide option from Game Menu of your XMB. From here on, you will be presented with a very short video which, accompanied by snazzy graphics, explains how to position to your camera and how to get the most from your Move Controller.
Its straight to the point, but forgets one vital piece of information... Syncing the Move Controller to the console, which I would have thought would of been the first thing on the list. The video explains that Syncing can be done by simply pressing the PS Button, when actually, you will need your original PS3 USB cable to plug the Controller into the console, and THEN press the PS Button. Some may find this somewhat obvious, but then not all of us are happy with technology. Therefore, if there are any families struggling out there - you're not going crazy, you'll just need that USB cable!
There is also the issue of how to place the Playstation Eye camera. With the Nintendo Wii, the 'Sensor Bar' that tracks its own controller has sticky feet if you want to place it above the TV. The Playstation Eye doesn't, and so unless you like balancing acts, you'll need to find a solution that won't leave too much residue on your TV set. Alternatively, placing the Eye Camera below the TV is acceptable, but even this can be troublesome. If your TV is sat on a low-shelf/cabinet, then the Eye Camera, will need to tilt up, and this can cause some problems with motion tracking when on the game, your gestures require you to be central/straight on with the TV, yet you will be almost looking 'up' at yourself. I would therefore say that if you plan on having the Eye Camera near the TV permanently, find a way to keep it on top the TV.
Don't worry - its not all bad news for the hardware, and I do hate sounding negative. Once you pick up the controller and begin using it, there are clear advantages over the Wii. The Playstation Move technology;
...tracks the controller in 'real time', meaning that however you hold the controller within your space, the PS3 recognizes as a constant moving object that can pick up every minute movement.
...allows the user(s) to be placed on TV thanks to the Eye Camera, so the level of interactivity is greatly increased.
...allows not only the user to be a part of the gameplay on TV, but their controller can astonishingly be morphed into objects on screen as they hold and move it. Whats more, the tracking is superb, and no matter how fast you fling the 'object' you're holding (be a sword, bat, wand) it always keeps in time with your controller. Possibly my favorite attribute so far.
...allows the controller to have a spherical 'bulb' on top that changes color, depending on gameplay. Its addictively squidgy, but best of all, its going to protect your controller and others should it impact with objects.
...allows the controller to be charged up via USB to the console (wahey - no more AA batteries!)
There are few downsides in reality, but the only ones seem to be that the Playstation Move Controllers don't include a built-in Speaker like Nintendo Wii Controllers. Also, they're a tad more expensive!
Before you play any of the Demo games, you can familiarize yourself with the Controllers tracking by simply using it to navigate the XMB menu. How, you ask? Quite simply through holding the trigger, and waggling it Up, Down, Left or Right. This is a really neat feature that, in my eyes, seems to make the additional PlayStation Move Navigation Controller
a potential waste of money. Though obviously be aware that only games which have "Playstation Move Compatible" or "Playstation Move Required" on their game cases actually make use of these controllers, so don't be fooled into backwards compatibility.
Back to the 'Starter Disc', you're going find a selection of Demo's here that need to be installed on your system (annoying, as it takes a while) to play. They include;
- Sports Champions
- Echochrome ii
- Start The Party
- TV Superstars
- EyePet Move Edition
- The Shoot
- Beat Sketchers
- Hustle Kings
(PSN titles are also available)
I won't go through explaining each one because, If I'm being honest, they're a very mixed bag. Sports Champions, for example, has been played a lot prior to the release of Move, and yet the final result isn't particularly exciting. Sure enough, it makes good use of the Controllers capabilities, but there a variety of graphical errors present, such as in Table Tennis where twisting your racket around in various positions can result in a crazily deformed wrist on screen when taking a serve. I bought the Stand-alone copy of this game, and the same problems are present. On the other hand, there are lots and lots of Trophies to be unlocked, so the drive for replay is somewhat great.
Perhaps a problem also is that the game encourages the use of two Playstation Move controllers for best interactivity, yet when using one, everything becomes all to familiar to the Wii.
Tumble suffers the most glitches through the listed Demo's, leaving 'Start The Party' as the real stand out game. It was fantastic engaging yourself within new spaces, holding a variety of different objects (in the Demo's case, a Paint Brush or Swatter Racket) and generally doing things to beat the clock. On its own, the complete game is twenty-five pounds which, if more extensive, seems like a descent price.
I've given this product 4 Stars as I came to a number of conclusions. Firstly, this is indeed a step-up from what the Nintendo Wii has offered to the gaming industry, but no matter how good the technology is, Sony need quality games to actually demonstrate why people should buy this product. From what I have seen on the Demo disc, we have here a number of games that, sadly, ARE representative of bargain-bucket Wii games, and so I'm generally hoping that the PS3 will back-up what the Move system offers. Its not enough to simply say how good it is - you just have to try it out for yourself, as neither my typing nor the Demo disc will do it justice.
The controller is more comfortable and feels better made than the Wii equivalent, and this along with the technology is why it may cost more. I won't lie - i've been disappointed with the included Starter Disc, so I would suggest that potential buyers merely see this with a pinch of salt, and actually plan their purchase with a proper full game. On the other hand you may want to think about a second Playstation Move controller to get the most out of some games... Yet this additional purchase and a game on top would see the price grow to almost a hundred pounds, and then one could ask if the latest PS3 System bundle with the 320GB Hard Drive and Playstation Move equipment is better value.
So in short, think of Playstation Move as something with real potential and not to offer an immediate "Wow" factor. Games are already for sale that are Move compatible, and best of all, they're fairly well priced in comparison to standard SIXAXIS controller games. Not only this, but as 'debut' games, if you like, they appear fairly impressive given the product has only just been released. This is perhaps one of the most exciting aspects of 'Move' - what it will offer in the future. Sony's own Playstation Blog website offers a variety of videos that demonstrate how Move technology has been put into practice in developer kits, from physical 'sculpting' games where you can make your own pottery, to even warping photos and videos in real time. Read more ›