PlayStation Move: Inside and Out
We go over everything you need to know about Sony's new motion controllers.
Sony has been talking about the PlayStation Move heavily over the last few months, and now it's finally coming out on September 17th in North America, with launches in Europe and Japan on September 15 and October 21, respectively. The Move represents Sony's big jump into motion-based gaming on the PlayStation 3. The control system consists of three separate components. Two of them are essential, the PlayStation Eye camera and the Move controller, and one is optional (though mandatory for certain games), the Navigation controller.
Pricing and Bundles
Owners of PlayStation 3s, who don't already own a PlayStation Eye camera, will likely get the Move bundle and grab separate Move controllers as needed. The full system bundle is a decent deal, as far as current pricing goes. A base 160GB PlayStation 3 runs for $299, and a 250GB PlayStation 3 costs $349. For an added $50, the $399 320GB PlayStation Move bundle includes more storage and everything to get your motion gaming going.
Sony also announced two accessories to go with the Move. Other manufacturers, such as Nyko and Mad Catz, have also unveiled their own line of add-ons.
The PlayStation Move controller communicates via Bluetooth 2.0, like the Dual Shock 3, and also features a lithium ion battery that's rechargeable via a mini-USB port. Expect around nine hours of playable time on a full charge. Built-in rumble provides force feedback for the Move motion controller. Sony's PlayStation Move controller can detect motion in the X,Y, and Z planes and can also detect rotation about those planes independently.
Aside from providing motion control, the PlayStation Move controller has a large analog trigger (T button) on the bottom, an extra-large action button on top (called the Move button), and the usual square, triangle, circle, X, start, select, and PS Home buttons.
A port on the bottom of the Move, labeled "EXT," remains a mystery. Sony has confirmed that it will use the port for future add-ons but hasn't indicated what they might be.
The navigation controller has a full D pad, an analog stick, a trigger, and X, O, and PS Home buttons. Games like SOCOM 4 make use of the Navigation controller for walking around and other functions. You can swap out the Navigation controller with a DualShock 3 if needed, but that all depends on your comfort with holding it one-handed and sideways.
How It All Works
The PlayStation Move controller functions by using a combination of accelerometers, gyrometers, and magnetometers. Sony determined that sensors alone are not enough to accurately track movement. As a result, the lit bulb on top of the controller works in conjunction with the PlayStation Eye camera to help do so.
The colors of the bulbs are activated by a combination of LEDs and are fully customizable by game developers. The colors can also change shade to help the PS Eye better track movement, in case the room environment is particularly troublesome with respect to wall colors, posters, and other objects.
Data processing for the PlayStation Move controller is handled by the PlayStation 3's Cell processor. A single SPU handles data from the controller's sensors and images from the PS Eye. Up to four controllers can be tracked at one time. Furthermore, Sony indicated that the Cell is rather adept at image processing and does so with little memory overhead and minimal impact to overall performance.
The PlayStation Eye's camera system generates images at 60 frames per second, with a resolution of 640x480. When combined with the PlayStation Move controller and the Cell processor, the setup can accurately measure millimeter differences in movement and is accurate enough to detect one-degree shifts in angle.
Sony included a rather in-depth tutorial on how to set up the Move controller and PlayStation Eye camera. Watching the included video takes considerably longer than performing the actions, which don't involve much more than creating a clear play area and plugging in the camera (and making sure that it's facing you and at a suitable height). It's all topped off by calibrating the controller, which is a rather painless process.
Calibration of the controllers takes place when you start a game. The process also changes depending upon the in-game actions. Some involve nothing more than standing still for a second and pressing the Move button on the controller, others get a little bit more complicated. Should conditions change sufficiently (for instance, if someone turns on the lights or the sun sets), gameplay will automatically stop, and you will be prompted to recalibrate the controller. You can also recalibrate at will.
Does It Work Well?
The Move doesn't disappoint on a base functionality level. Aside from extremely adverse lighting and room conditions (like those found in our studio), the Move performed admirably in offices and living rooms alike. We experienced the occasional quirk, but nothing truly serious cropped up.
Most of your concerns should be external to the actual controllers. Be extra sure to keep a clear play area. Flailing arms and rigid objects don't mix well. Smaller bedrooms might prove difficult to play in. Moderate-sized living rooms should work fine provided you can stand anywhere between four and eight feet from the PlayStation Eye camera, depending on the game. Some forethought will definitely be required if two people want to play simultaneously.
The camera might also need to be moved, depending on the game. For EyePet, the camera needs to be roughly knee height and pointing at the ground, while other games are fine with the camera at TV height or on top of the TV.
To find out more about the PlayStation Move, check out our launch center.
Sony's currently announced lineup consists of two distinct types of games: those that feature Move as an option and those that require it.
Move Required Games
Click on the game name below to learn more about each game.
Move Optional Games
Click on the game name below to learn more about each game.
SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs, The Sly Collection, Time Crisis Razing Storm, Brunswick Pro Bowling, LittleBigPlanet 2, NBA 2K11, Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11, Heavy Rain, MAG, Killzone 3, R.U.S.E., Planet Minigolf.
To find out more about the PlayStation Move, check out our PlayStation Move launch center.