The PlayStation Move is Sony’s move in the “motion controller” arena going up against the entrenched Nintendo Wii and the upcoming camera-only based Kinect from Microsoft for the Xbox 360.
We’ve put the PlayStation Move through it’s paces, making sure to try and focus on the controller’s functionality and not so much the video game and the performance we’ve seen from it so far has impressed the hell out of us.
If you want to cut right to the chase, we’ve put together a PlayStation Move Video Review that you can watch here:
If you would like to read on for more details about what we thought of the PlayStation Move, keep reading.
Most people will be starting off with the PlayStation Move Bundle (includes “ice-cream cone” wand, PlayStation Eye camera and Sports Champions video game) for $100, it makes the most sense to pick up if you have none of the starter items. The only other “Move” item to consider is the PlayStation Move navigation controller, but you won’t need that unless you plan on playing a lot of FPS’s like the upcoming SOCOM 4 and even then I’ve heard a few folks saying if you have the 1st-gen PS3 controller (the non-rumble, really light one) holding that controller in your left hand and using it like the wand works just fine.
All you really need to get started is the camera, ice-cream cone controller and a game that supports the Move controller and you are off to the races.
NOTE: The PlayStation Move charges itself uses the mini-USB cable that came with the PS3 to charge the controllers, and does not come with any additional cables. So if you don’t have a mini-USB cable or lost your original one, you will need to pick one up.
Setup was dead-easy; just plug in the PlayStation Eye (camera) and after letting the Move (ice-cream cone thing) charge for a while, press the “PS” button it and it will activate like a normal controller.
TIP: To instantly check if it’s working, if you are at the XMB, hold down the trigger and swipe left and right and you should fly through the XMB menu.
At this point you are ready to go, there is no calibration to do because every game will ask you to calibrate individually before each play session. While this seems pedantic, given the accuracy of the movement tracking I experienced, I welcome it whole-heartedly and it only takes something like 12 seconds to do, so not a big issue.
PlayStation Move Motion Tracking Performance
A lot of the reviews I’ve read on the PlayStation Move have focused on reviewing the game that they had their hands on and not focusing (in my mind) enough on reviewing the hardware. My thinking is that if the hardware is good, then I know sooner or later the software (games) will become available that take proper advantage of it and are fantastic.
Let me cut to the chase: The PlayStation Move hardware is excellent.
The motion-mapping seems to be as damn-near 1:1 as you could want and the in-game experience when supported correctly makes you feel more immersed in the experience than anything I ever experienced on the Wii (even with the Wii MotionPlus). There are some games that seem to use gesture-based movements to some extent, but in Disc Golf and Table Tennis the movement mapping seems to be almost entirely left up to a complete virtual mapping of whatever you are doing with the PlayStation Move; even if that means you are holding it sides and screwing up your shots and hitting the ball straight up in the air.
Here is a video of me playing Disc Golf and showing the granularity and sensitivity of the PlayStation Move in action with regards to holding, aiming and throwing the frisbee:
How is the Experience?
Interestingly enough, now with true-to-life 1:1 motion mapping, it becomes really important to reprogram yourself into thinking of being on a virtual stage with the game you are playing and not just flicking your wrist around like the Wii has trained us to do all these years.
Multiple times in Table Tennis I would miss a backhand because I would just flick my hand backwards as if I was playing Wii Sports Tennis and not actually move my body and put my arm on my left side to get it ready for the backhand — which is what you need to do.
I love that I have to retrain my brain to work with a motion controller because it is more accurate and I am more immersed in this 3D space than before (I can’t imagine once PS3 3D gaming becomes more mainstream how potentially cool this will be), but you should be aware of this change if you have been playing on your Wii for years and expect to just use gestures to play and not actual movements.
The weight of the Move and how it feels in your hand is a bit better than the Wiimote; it is about the same weight, maybe a hair lighter than the Wiimote + MotionPlus adapter and more contoured to your hand. It also includes a wrist-strap with a locking clasp on it to keep the tightened strap from slipping around and coming off like the Wiimote has.
Should I Buy it or Wait?
Good question. I bought it because I needed to review it for the site, but if it hadn’t been for that, I would have waited until a game I really wanted to play with Move came out.
I think it will take at least 6 months for games to start regularly coming out that are awesome with the Move and the best ones likely won’t come out for at least a year. Before you scream “No way!”, consider that God of War 3, one of the pinnacles of PS3 gaming, didn’t come out until February of 2009, 2.5 years after the PS3 was released.
It will take time for developers to get comfortable with the controller, figure out what it can do and think of cool ways to exploit it in games before it really takes off.
That being said, it might only take 1 or 2 games you really like to play to convince you to buy one. In my case, a really good tennis game or fighting/boxing game would do that. Unfortunately the upcoming brawler Lights Out for the PlayStation Move coming next month in October has never had a solid showing any of the times we’ve seen it in the last year.
We saw it at E3 and it was buggy/sluggish with poor response times, then we saw it again at PAX this year (a month ago) and it was still buggy and sluggish with poor motion mapping. While we aren’t holding our breath for it to suddenly become awesome, we are hopeful that the team got in some last-minute polish that might make it fun to play.
Conclusion [9 out of 10]
If you have been dying for what a lot of people are calling the “Wii HD” experience, the PlayStation Move hardware delivers in spades; it is ergonomic, accurate and easy to use.
That being said, the software available for it right now is a bit light and unless you have to have motion controls for the PS3 right now, you can safely wait until the must-have movement game you want for the PS3 comes out then buy the PlayStation Move without hesitation knowing that it’s a great piece of hardware.
If you are still on the fence, wait at least until December. We think Sony will have a strong Fall showing to try and move the PlayStation Move off the shelves and hopefully some more Move-enhanced titles will be available then.
Update #1: If you are a golf fan and want to pick up the Move, here’s an upcoming golf title this fall: John Daly’s ProStroke Golf:http://oysterdl.ign.com/ve3d/videos/08/12/81284_John_Daly_Part1_sD.flv
The golf club looked a bit “on rails“, but as David showed a bit of, twisting your wrist to open or close your club face will effect the stroke (most likely on Pro or Tour Pro modes), so for those looking for a real experience it looks like it might be in there.
Will also be curious to wait and see what the next Tiger game does.