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Sony Unveils PS3 Motion Controller 210

Sony confirmed rumors at E3 yesterday by debuting their take on a motion-based input device, set to be released for use with the PS3 in the spring of 2010. The BBC has some entertaining video of the demonstration. "A sensor sits on top of the TV and detects the position, distance and movement of two controllers held in a user's hand. The device can not only measure where the controllers are in relation to each other, but also how close they are to the sensor, meaning you can create true 3D movement within a game. ... During the demonstration, the developers showed what the Sony PlayStation Controller was capable of, enabling users to wield weapons, fire a bow and arrow, write on screen and manipulate objects in a virtual environment. 'One thing that is really difficult to do in a virtual world is drawing,' said Mr Marks. 'And in particular, writing requires extreme precision. [The controller can be measured] to sub-millimetre accuracy.'"
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Sony Unveils PS3 Motion Controller

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  • by ivan256 ( 17499 ) on Wednesday June 03, 2009 @10:23AM (#28195453)

    Not because they're a terrible idea.... Mostly because they're all patented. If one vendor's system "wins", we all lose.

    Without competition, there are no price wars.. There's no innovation.. You're lucky if there are even incremental upgrades.

    • Patents don't prevent competition. You're confused.

      Unfair licensing practises prevent competition.

      Patenting actual hardware device innovations shouldn't be up for debate, its almost always a good thing for innovation. The problem is not licensing patents to competitors at fair rates.

      • by Xest ( 935314 )

        But then isn't the easiest way to solve that to just do away with patents on input devices?

      • by ivan256 ( 17499 ) on Wednesday June 03, 2009 @10:40AM (#28195699)

        I'm not confused. Let me fix your comment.

        Patents alone don't prevent competition.

        No sane console vendor would license a patented killer feature to the competition at any price.

        I'm not arguing that they shouldn't be able to patent this stuff. It wasn't an anti-patent rant... It's more of a lament of where gameplay innovation has gone to. Novel input methods aren't born in the arcade and then licensed for home use anymore. They're cooked up by the console makers as a bludgeon to kill off competition.

        • They're cooked up by the console makers as a bludgeon to kill off competition.

          Isn't trying to beat their competition precisely what corporations should be doing? This isn't a special olympics race where everyone ends up winning regardless of how you badly you do.

          • Exactly. Without patents, Sony or Microsoft could simply sell their own Wii and be done with it.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by PitaBred ( 632671 )
              Don't underestimate the value of the original. Sony or MS would sell a "Wii", but they couldn't call it a Wii due to trademarks, and they wouldn't be able to do a lot of the same design things, due to copyright (which is way too long as it is, but still a useful concept if done right). They could have a knock-off that does the same things, but they couldn't ever have a Wii. And people wouldn't want the knock-off by and large, they'd want the original, which is guaranteed to be compatible, and is the only on
          • by noundi ( 1044080 )
            Yeah but in case you didn't notice we're talking about the rules of beating the competition, not the purpose itself. Murdering the opponent also wins the battle, but it breaks the rules (and please don't bullshit me about comparing murder to patenting, that's not the point, the point is that I have to sink so low in comparison for you to understand). 100 years ago patents nurtured the industries. Nowadays we're moving so fast in development that it's doing it nothing else than harm. There are too many versi
            • 100 years ago patents nurtured the industries.

              And they still are.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by JCSoRocks ( 1142053 )

            Isn't trying to beat their competition precisely what corporations should be doing? This isn't a special olympics race where everyone ends up winning regardless of how you badly you do.

            And yet the XBox 360 lives on... I suppose it helps when you don't mind blowing $1 billion [] to make sure little Timmy wins.

          • by ivan256 ( 17499 )

            Sure. It's what they should be doing.

            Explain to me why, if they succeed, we should like it again?

            Regardless, in the past console makers were competing at making home gaming affordable while keeping it as arcade-like as possible. They've transitioned into creating the best mold into which the next batch of entertainment will be poured. There's plenty of room for them to compete at giving us the most gaming power for the dollar. There's no need for us to end up having whole genres of games that can only be pl

      • Patenting actual hardware device innovations shouldn't be up for debate

        Well, it seems like it depends on what level those things are patented. Are you patenting the specific design of that hardware, or are you trying to apply the patent to "all hardware controllers that accomplish [x]"? Because I don't mind it so much when the patent is of a particular design or mechanism that's truly novel, leaving the door open for someone else to design their own mechanism and implementation to achieve the same results. What's troublesome is that a lot of times companies are patenting bi

    • by Sockatume ( 732728 ) on Wednesday June 03, 2009 @10:37AM (#28195665)
      Yes, Nintendo's patent on the Wii Remote stopped Sony from releasing a wand-shaped motion controller after all.
      • by hal2814 ( 725639 )

        It didn't stop Sony and their army of lawyers but what about a smaller shop who comes up with a good idea that happens to involve motion control? Nintendo and/or Sony and/or Microsoft will litigate that competition out of business.

        • Why don't you ask GameTrak, who are manufacturing and selling their own wand-shaped motion controller for the Xbox 360 and PS3?
    • by gsslay ( 807818 )

      In your willingness to wallow in negativity you seem to be omitting the vast, and more probable, range of opportunity between the two extremes of "all these motion controllers fail horribly" and "one vendor's system "wins""

      Clearly this controller puts the PS3 in competition against the Wii in terms of motion control. Nintendo will undoubtedly respond with a higher specced Wii. Innovation. Competition. Everyone gets better hardware. Everyone wins.

      • by ivan256 ( 17499 )

        Historically speaking, the more likely scenario is that Sony gets sued, removes the feature from the next generation system while telling everybody that it is a stupid feature anyway, and finally relents and is forced to pay overly high royalties to remain competitive.

  • Sigh... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by flitty ( 981864 ) on Wednesday June 03, 2009 @10:29AM (#28195543)
    Am I the only one who was glad that "waggle" games were segmented to the Wii? Don't get me wrong, the games on wii that use waggle well are fun games and all, but for every game that uses it well, there are 50 that abuse it/don't understand it.

    Mouse and keyboard will STILL be better and more accurate for FPS games, and dual analogue sticks will still be better for platformers. I can see these controllers being pretty good for DS type games, using your TV like a touchscreen, even a 3d touchscreen (some sort of 3d maze game, where you have to drag a ball through a 3d maze). Otherwise, I still prefer existing control options...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cowscows ( 103644 )

      There's a learning curve for developers to understand and properly use this new interface. The first FPS that used the Wiimote (Red Steel) only sorta worked, but with the Metroid game, the experience was much better. There was a rush at first to try and shove motion controls into everything, but I think that was more just because it was new and trendy and a bullet point on the back of your game box. Now that motion control novelty has started to wear off, hopefully developers won't feel that they need to fo

      • Re:Sigh... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by flitty ( 981864 ) on Wednesday June 03, 2009 @11:14AM (#28196187)
        Yeah, but it's not just shovelware. Take the new punchout for example. Almost every review I read said that the waggle controls worked, but barely, and that the game was more enjoyable just turning the controller sideways. IIRC, same goes for MarioKart, SSBM, and a few other games that were great games, but were just as enjoyable without waggle.

        now a game like RE4 seemed built to use the Wii controller, along with a game like metroid prime (a little less so). The "Limited FPS" (aim anywhere on the screen, but character position is still controlled by analogue sticks or is on rails) seems to be the best use of the wii controls. Other games like Boom Blox are unthinkable without a wii controller.

        I'm not trying to blame the 50:1 ratio of bad:good games on waggle controls, that's probably more related to the fact that the Wii has sold so much. However, I can only think of a handful of games that are improved upon by motion controls. I guess that's my main point, that I don't think there are enough instances of good games that require motion controls to require each console to have motion controls.
        • I more or less agree with you, but I can't tell is the "waggle" aspect of the Wii falls flat because (a) the novelty has encouraged developers to shoe-horn it into games even when they can't do it well; and (b) the inaccuracy of the wiimote makes it a flawed experience even in cases where it would be appropriate.

          On the second point, I'll say that I like the Wii and find the control scheme pretty good in a lot of instances where finesse isn't really required. However, the controller does not seem to pick u

      • the ratio of really good games to crap games has always been in the neighborhood of 50:1

        50 good games for every crap game? Come on - we're not that gullible

        The other way round, on the other hand......

    • I really do like the motion-controlled fine grained aiming on sniper rifles in Killzone 2 on the PS3. I think its really well-done.

      There are a few motion-controlled gimmick games on the PS3 that are actually quite fun, like the one with the rubber duckies that float. Did Sony force everyone to make use of motion? No. Is it available for developers who wanted it? Yes.

      I know, before all you fanbois say it again, the Wii is immensely popular. Good for it. I still hate doing arm movements compared to but

    • by WillAdams ( 45638 ) on Wednesday June 03, 2009 @11:16AM (#28196217) Homepage

      It doesn't feel natural to me to use a mouse to control and fire a firearm, or a sword and besides, I sit at a chair and push a mouse around all day at work (and sometimes longer) --- it's not something I want to do for leisure.

      The Wii allows for interesting, natural interfaces which minimize button mashing and allow for more immersion, which for me equates to fun.

      Better still, one can use various gun shells to improve the verisimilitude --- I've even been making Wii Zapper-like pistols in my wood shop and handing them out to co-workers along w/ used copies of Link's Crossbow Training so that we can all compete for high scores.

      Do yourself a favour, open your mind, get your keister out of your chair, grab a Wii Zapper or other gun shell (the Nyko Perfect Shot Pistol is excellent if you have large hands) and try an FPS on a WII, e.g.:

        - ranger levels in _Link's Crossbow Training_
        - Quantum of Solace --- this game is quite a bit of fun, almost as good as Goldeneye
        - Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
        - Medal of Honor
        - Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles
        - House of the Dead: Overkill

      Unfortunately Resident Evil 4 Wii Edition doesn't work well w/ a standard gun shell, though GameStop makes a 2-button one which does work w/ it.

      A game which almost makes it is the prosaically named Ski and Shoot (a biathlon game) which also supports the Wii Balance Board --- I'd really like to see an FPS which did this well.


      • by flitty ( 981864 )

        It doesn't feel natural to me to use a mouse to control and fire a firearm, or a sword and besides, I sit at a chair and push a mouse around all day at work (and sometimes longer) --- it's not something I want to do for leisure.

        Yeah, agreed, but until these motion controls give me a way to turn 90 or 180, or 75 in the same amount of time and accuracy like a mouse does, I'll settle for control over natural feel. This controller doesn't seem to get there either. I mean, it's closer than the Wii controll

    • I know it's not "motion sensing" in the extreme of the Wiimote, but the SixAxis already has a great deal of "dynamic awareness" with its accelerometers... I wouldn't try to control a sword on screen with it, but it can be used to a very satisfying effect - the soul sucking gimmick in Folklore is probably the most gratifying aspect (of the demo, at least, didn't convince me to buy it.)

      Of course, what do I know, the first night I fired up the PS3, I downloaded the ducks in a tub thing for the kids and cou
    • Am I the only one who was glad that "waggle" games were segmented to the Wii?
      Not at all. I have both the Wii and the PS3, and I greatly prefer the controller on the PS3 to the motion controller on the Wii. I will absolutely NOT be buying any kind of motion controller for the PS3 when it comes out. I do like the wireless aspect of both the Wii and the PS3 controllers, but the PS3 is much better implemented, with the USB recharging ability, rather than Wii's replacing of batteries or buying additional equip
  • by CityZen ( 464761 ) on Wednesday June 03, 2009 @10:31AM (#28195571) Homepage

    Both systems need accelerometers + gyros to sense the controller rotation (X & Y absolute, Z relative).

    The Wii uses a camera on the remote and targets in the sensor bar to detect position and Z-rotation (absolute).

    The PS3 thingy uses a camera on the TV and a target on the controller to detect position. I don't know how it detects Z-rotation (absolute); maybe it uses a magnetometer?

    The PS3 can track position better because the Eye can see the controller most of the time. The Wii tracks better when the controller is pointed at the screen.

    • Z-axis rotation hadn't occurred to me. I understand that the new controller uses ultrasound for measuring camera-to-controller distance, and the patent images suggested that the system was in stereo, so perhaps it exploits that somehow.
  • Drawing? (Score:5, Funny)

    by internerdj ( 1319281 ) on Wednesday June 03, 2009 @10:33AM (#28195595)
    The graphics are killer. The AI has me pinned down. The story is immersive. If only I could freehand draw some genitalia on the wall this game would be perfect.
  • by Drone69 ( 1517261 ) on Wednesday June 03, 2009 @10:33AM (#28195597)
    The player has to inject the obligatory rootkit implant into their body upon first use.
  • Wasn't their Eye peripheral supposed to do that already?
  • by pembo13 ( 770295 ) on Wednesday June 03, 2009 @10:40AM (#28195697) Homepage

    Because I remember Sony dissing the Wii controller every which way when Nintendo presented it.

    • Have you used the Wiimote to play Wii games? In the form it's in, it is a gimmick. It's basically a tacked on feature to most games outside of those made by Nintendo themselves and has poor sensitivity and tracking.
      • There are a bunch of fun games that use it pretty well.

        ExciteTruck, Downhill Jam, Super Monkey Ball, Mario Galaxy to name a few

        of course, there does seem to be a number of so-so games out that that do use it in a gimmicky sort of way.
    • The difference being that on the PS3 this is an alternative control scheme, not the only one. Yss i realize some wii games allow use of conventional controllers, but the vast majority dont.

  • by mnky-33 ( 1293220 ) on Wednesday June 03, 2009 @10:47AM (#28195797) Homepage
    Microsoft and Sony's new technologies are just appearing, halfway through the product life cycle. This means they'll be, what, 3 good games using this hardware. Just look at headsets. Sony didn't include one and so many games don't support such a fundamentally important piece of online play. This'll wind up in the dumpster next to the Playstation Eye and other such technologies.
    • The PS3 supported bluetooth and USB headsets from day one. Where are all these games that don't support them, that would have if Sony released a first party headset earlier?
      What planet do you live on?

  • plf (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    drawing with the wii controller is hard not because of accuracy but cos of the resolution, target size (i.e small TV) and lack of friction for stability like you'd get with paper.

  • by BESTouff ( 531293 ) on Wednesday June 03, 2009 @10:59AM (#28195965)
    - Can you still innovate in the console market ?

    - Yes Wii can !

  • by British ( 51765 ) <> on Wednesday June 03, 2009 @11:35AM (#28196457) Homepage Journal

    Really, I'm asking in all seriousness. The things that were presented in E3 seemed as gimmicky as when they first were thought of(u-force, etc). Almost 20 years ago we had the gimmick of "multimedia" with games having FMV sequences, and it ended up being a bunch of bad Sega CD games.

    Then I thought of the video game crash(no more Atari, Coleco, Intelly, etc) and what good came out of it: a revamped market that wasn't the same ol same ol. A cleansing with fire.

    I remember the "pop the bubbles" game that came free with a webcam. Amusing for roughly 5 minutes. Sony's wand seems like they are just trying to catch up to the Wii, but it's too late.

    • Alright the, could you let me know - in your opinion, what's the difference between 'gimmick' and 'innovation'?

  • by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Wednesday June 03, 2009 @11:48AM (#28196651)
    Maybe things have changed a little bit now that people are more willing to accept buying add-on peripherals for their console now that Nintendo has made the idea more popular, but I don't think that this will help sell additional consoles for Sony or have any major content released for it.

    Microsoft has much the same problem, even though I think that the technology is amazing. Their core audience probably couldn't care less about the device and generally prefer using console controls to play their games. Because it's an add-on, most companies will not target the device because it has no install base and few people will buy one because there are no killer apps for it. Notice the vicious circle here. I'm honestly surprised that the balance board for the Wii has sold even half as much as it has.

    If Microsoft really wants to push this technology their next console should include this by default and there should be a stripped down version sold at a mass market price so that people outside of hardcore gamer group will buy the console. Sony really needs to do the same as well if it wants to cash in on the casual gaming crowd. However, what they've done now is too late as the casual gamer boat has already set sail. Of course, it may be another two years before either Microsoft or Sony can release a new console. Microsoft supposedly just started to break even recently and has a lot of losses to eat up whereas Sony might not even be at the break-even point from what I've heard.
  • by Tetsujin ( 103070 ) on Wednesday June 03, 2009 @11:55AM (#28196753) Homepage Journal

    "(The controller can be measured) to sub-millimeter accuracy."

    Big deal. Get a good enough caliper and you can measure any old NES controller to sub-millimeter accuracy, too.

  • Did you notice how he kept missing the ball?
    He can control where the bat is in space, but he has absolutely no idea where it is relative to the ball. This may work in combination with 3D TV, but even that will have calibration problems.
    Sony's controller has knows it's absolute position, and the Wii knows it's relative position. The question is, when would you need to know a controllers absolute position?
  • It will be really interesting to see motion capture games play out between Microsoft and Sony, sony's tech seems slightly more acccurate but microsofts motion capture was said to be down to fingers, which seems accurate enough for drawing.

    Microsoft's tech has no controls but Sony's may work better in real world conditions, or when used with a projector (microsoft's camera may not be able to discern the user as well with stray ir from a projector bulb backlighting a player)

    Both honestly seem like sideshows t

  • There are a lot of games that don't get ported to the Wii because they are designed around a classic controller instead of a wiimote. With all three systems having a similar control system now, I'll bet we see more cross platform games come to the Wii that intelligently use the wiimote instead of having it tacked on or simply not made at all.
  • Did anyone else start laughing like a 14 year old boy when they read that?
  • well, hints are based on how the system is set up.

    The controller has a purple lighted tip that the eye toy locks onto and tracks.

    This is giving way to the system's new name: The purple-helmeted warrior.

  • by oren ( 78897 ) on Wednesday June 03, 2009 @12:45PM (#28197523)

    What happened to head tracking? They demoed it a year ago [] - however TFA doesn't even mention it. A pity, it would have been a killer feature...

  • by spafbi ( 324017 ) on Wednesday June 03, 2009 @12:48PM (#28197567)
    I read part of the summary as:

    "A senior sits on top of the TV and detects the position, distance and movement of two controllers held in a user's hand..."

    My first thought was to picture an elderly person sitting on top of my TV.

  • Come on, how hard can it be? The sequel to The Force Unleashed would rock my universe if I could actually strangle my foes.

"The Avis WIZARD decides if you get to drive a car. Your head won't touch the pillow of a Sheraton unless their computer says it's okay." -- Arthur Miller