MOVE-ing On Up: Hands-on With the PS3’s New Motion Controller

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The Move controller feels much lighter than it looks and so does the sub-controller. They’ll both charge off of the same mini-USB connections that juice up the Dualshock 3. We didn’t get a battery life estimate but anything the Sony reps could quote us at this point probably isn’t optimized. One thing I liked about the sub-controller (Jesus, what a name….) more than the Wii nunchuck is that it has less buttons.  I always accidentally press the Z button when I mean to press C but there’s no chance of that here. Maybe it’s just my big hands, but I don’t love the placement of the D-pad on the sub-controller. It feels too close to the analog stick for me to comfortably and consistently shift my thumb down and tap the right directional input.

As Peter and I waited and waited for a chance to throw some punches in the Motion Fighters brawling game, we watched others play. While this title, too, is early, it felt less precise than SOCOM 4 did. Swings for uppercuts weren’t registering and there was a bit of noticeable latency in other moments. But, again, the game’s still a long way from being finished.

My initial thoughts about Move are that Sony might be able to deliver a broader, better-looking set of motion control software to the console than Nintendo’s managed to muster for the Wii at this point. Sony doesn’t have the same kind of carefully manicured image that Nintendo does. You’d never see a realistically violent game like Motion Fighters on the Wii. Also, first- and third-party developers could deliver a sharper, more precise kind of motion control experience to players by virtue of the PS3’s beefier hardware. Of course, the downside to the Move is that it could open up the floodgates for the same kinds of poorly-executed waggle-ware that’s plagued the Wii to wind up on the PS3. Still, the most helpful way to think about how Move might change the PS3’s fortunes is to not to consider it as a bold new direction but as another set of experiences the console can offer. When the holidays come and a curious shopper enters a Gamestop looking for a console to bowl on, they might just choose the one that also plays Blu-ray discs and is ready for 3D. We’ll see how much of a seismic shift Move will make for Sony in the months to come.

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