This generation of consoles has witnessed a sudden surge in casual games. This trend is thanks in most part to the success of the Nintendo Wii and its user-friendly motion controller, which makes simple, social gaming more accessible and approachable for people of all ages and skill levels. Despite the Nintendo Wii’s dominance in the console wars, it has received a poor reputation for playing host to a plethora of half-assed, low quality games also known as ‘shovelware’.
Microsoft and Sony have focused their efforts on catering to the ‘hardcore’ gamer crowd, who care more about graphics, processing power and a strong online component. Looking to steal some of the Wii’s thunder, Microsoft and Sony have announced their own motion controller devices, Xbox 360’s Natal camera and the PlayStation 3’s Move motion controller.
The PlayStation Move has a better chance of tapping into the Wii’s audience since the controller appears to control the most similarly to Nintendo’s ‘Wii-mote’, only with more accurate 1:1 motion tracking thanks to the combination of a glowing orb at the end of the Move paired with the PlayStation Eye camera. However, even with all the obvious potential the PlayStation Move offers, hardcore gamers are deeply concerned that the PS3 may also be a dumping ground for shovelware, even ports of Wii games.
However, Sony is reassuring the hardcore audience that makes up the current PS3 install base that the PlayStation Move will create “hardcore gamer games” that have “never been done before”.
Speaking in a recent interview with the Financial Times, SCEA’s Senior Vice President of Marketing, Peter Dille talked about what sets the PlayStation Move apart from its competition:
“the biggest differentiator is the technology itself – the Wii has been wildly successful but at the end of the day it’s not a very precise experience and it relies on the wand. Microsoft’s’s approach appears to be no wand, no controller, just a camera, which means that your body’s the user interface. Our solution and point of differentiation is around precision, because we’ve got the camera – the Playstation Eye – and the motion controller which has the light at the tip, and the camera tracks the light very precisely in 3D space. The combination of that precision along with the button on the controller means that you’re now able to develop and play games that you can’t do with the Wii and Natal.”
Along with more casual “family-friendly” games and “games for young kids”, Dille also believes there is plenty of opportunity to make interesting titles for the hardcore audience as well thanks to the PlayStation Move’s precision.
“Hard-core gamers have looked down their nose at motion gaming: it’s not particularly satisfying for them because it’s not terribly precise or challenging, it’s more social.”
“That level of precision gives you different types of experiences like a [first-person] shooter”
“So we’ll have games that the whole family can play that are very social , but we’ll also be able to do hard-core gamer games via a motion device that has never been done before”
Even though Dille seems confident the PlayStation Move will appeal to both casual and hardcore gamers they aren’t ready to hedge their bets on a “killer app” for the controller Sony will be pushing as the “de facto” PS3 controller along side the Dualshock 3 this Fall.
“It’s too early to say what the killer app or signature game is but we’ll continue through the spring and late summer before we make a decision on which game is the poster child or the best one to move the Move.”
There is one thing that is for sure, the PlayStation Move is brimming with endless potential having been described as the “paintbrush to the PS3 canvas“. It’s up to Sony and developers to give gamers the unique experiences they so desire.