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Failure-in-Motion: The PlayStation Move is a Bust

August 2, 2011 Written by Cameron Teague

Think back to E3 2010, when all the talk was about Microsoft and Sony jumping onto the arm-waggling motion-controller bandwagon made so popular by the little Wii that could. The 360 went the way of controller-less cameras, and the PlayStation 3 decided to stick close to the Wii with the PlayStation Move. While the PlayStation Move is much more precise than the Wii, and has seemingly infinite potential, up to this point in time the Move has been a complete bust. And it’s looking like it will continue to be, at least in the near future.

We could talk sales numbers till our faces turned blue, but the sales of the PlayStation Move are not the reason for disappointment here. No, the reasons are far more simple than that: There are not enough compelling Move-only games that take advantage of its precision, and everything else is nothing more than tacked-on Move support to a game that’s played best with a DualShock 3. When the Move was first announced, it was promised legitimate support by Sony, but that support just isn’t where it needs to be, and thus, the Move isn’t an attractive addition to the PlayStation family.

Games will make or break any kind of hardware or peripheral, therefore it was odd to see the weak release lineup when the Move launched. These titles consisted of Start the Party, Sports Champions, and Kung Fu Rider. The first two games in that list were basically attempts at mimicking the Wii’s family friendly play. Kung Fu Rider… was beyond terrible. Sony is no stranger to lackluster hardware launches (say hi, PS3), but they are usually good at turning things around. With the Move, this doesn’t seem to be the case.

It Changed... Nothing.

Sorcery, the one game that left fans stunned, has gone absent since wowing crowds at E3 2010. On the flip side, Medieval Moves: Deadmund’s Quest was announced this past E3 by Sports Champions developer Zindagi Games and it looked interesting enough. But where are the hardcore, AAA, must-own Move-only games? Yes, some AAA games do feature Move-support, but we’re talking full-fledged Move games. That’s right… there aren’t any.

Instead of creating new, exciting experiences with the Move, Sony has been content with just tacking Move support onto the back of any game in development or already released. Heavy hitters such as Killzone 3 and Resistance 3, to Heavy Rain have had Move-support added. Don’t get us wrong, it is always great to have that option, but the Move was supposed to innovate and push itself past being just an add-on. To quote Sony, the PlayStation Move launch was like launching a new console or new hardware. A console that would have failed by now if it stood on its own.

Sony may be suffering by baking way too much in the hardware oven. A year after motion controls were introduced to PS3 gamers by way of PlayStation Move, Sony is now pushing a 3DTV, and more significantly, the PlayStation Vita. All of this, and still managing to pump out the best exclusives on the market. It appears that Sony has their plate so full that the Move has become somewhat of an afterthought. If you need proof of this, just watch the E3 2011 Sony presentation where Kobe Bryant steps up to show one of the worst implementations of motion controls ever, courtesy of 2K Games. Aside from that, Move was barely even mentioned at E3.

Sony recently released a list of games with PlayStation Move support, both current and future and, while the 63 currently available Move-enabled games are indeed impressive, the future list of titles was barren, with only 16 announced titles in the works for the Move; even fewer of them using Move as the centerpiece. For something that Sony touted as the future, and said they were invested completely in, this is a depressing and discouraging list. Yes, there are always more games coming that are not yet announced (we know of a few) but any way you slice it, things aren’t looking great for the PlayStation Move.

In the end, it is hard to call anything a bust with over 9 million units sold worldwide. However, when your competition is nearly doubling that number at a higher cost, all while driving their car with an imaginary steering wheel all the way to the bank, then things start looking… bad. Until Sony and its internal studios bring something meaningful to the market with PlayStation Move as the focal point, it’s never going to be anything more than an add-on.