Sony PlayStation Move

We've reviewed the Sony PlayStation Move, which offers something for every type of gamer

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Sony PlayStation Move
  • Sony PlayStation Move
  • Sony PlayStation Move
  • Sony PlayStation Move

Pros

  • Responsive and intuitive gameplay, handsome build quality, caters to all types of gamer

Cons

  • Setup can be a bit fiddly, needs lots of room for multiplayer games, initial launch line-up contains a few duds

Bottom Line

While easy to dismiss as the PlayStation Wii, Sony's new Move controller is a worthy addition to the PS3. It provides a solid gameplay experience for casual and hardcore gamers alike, and the Move games are only going to get better.

Would you buy this?

The PlayStation Move is a new peripheral controller for the Sony PS3 video game console. As its name suggests, it uses physical movements to control the action onscreen, as opposed to a more traditional joystick/thumb-pad interface. If you're familiar with the Nintendo Wii, you should have a good idea of how the concept works — the influence is patently obvious.

[Discover how the PlayStation Move fares against its motion control rivals, the Nintendo Wii and Kinect for Xbox 360 at the following link: Kinect vs. Move vs. Wii.]

What sets the PlayStation Move apart from the Wii is the sophistication of its technology. Unlike Nintendo’s ageing machine, the Move provides pinpoint accuracy in gaming. The PlayStation Move can therefore be viewed as an evolution of the Wii Remote — but for a rival console. It allows for far greater precision than its Nintendo predecessor, which translates to more complex and intuitive gaming. Subtle shifts in motion, such as rolling your wrist, are accurately translated into the game world. As you can imagine, this provides plenty of great gameplay potential.

In fact, 'potential' is a key word when it comes to describing the PlayStation Move. At present, its games line-up is a bit hit-and-miss, but the potential for greatness is definitely there. Whether you're a hardcore gamer looking for something fresh, or simply require a new toy for the family, we're confident that the PlayStation Move will deliver.

Design

The PlayStation Move is a wand-shaped controller that incorporates a number of inbuilt motion sensors. It works in conjunction with the PlayStation Eye; a webcam-style camera that sits above or below your TV. Interestingly, the PlayStation Eye has been available since 2008, but until now its usability has been limited to a handful of games. The PlayStation Eye can be purchased separately for $49.95.

Sony Move
PlayStation Eye

In conjunction with the Move controller, the PlayStation Eye tracks your true-to-life actions and turns them into precise in-game movements. Depending on the game you're playing, this might involve throwing a punch, stabbing a sword or swinging a golf club (to name just a few examples). The motion controller also has six primary buttons, including a rear-mounted trigger for shooters and action games.

The Move motion controller has a large spherical head that lights up in a variety of colours. These colours may indicate changes in a game's environment or the different powers your character has (e.g. selecting different types of spells in a fantasy game). The light also acts as an active marker, which allows the Eye camera to accurately track the controller's movements. Some games even require you to hide the light to remain undetected by enemies. In addition, the Move controller incorporates vibrating feedback similar to the PS3 Dual Shock controller. This helps to enhance the atmosphere in games (it says here).

Sony has also developed a secondary Move peripheral called the navigation controller. The navigation controller consists of an analog directional stick that connects wirelessly to the motion controller. This allows you to navigate your avatar around the game's world. (The concept is similar to the Nintendo Wii’s optional 'Nunchuk' peripheral.) The navigation controller retails for $49.95 and is only compatible with specific Move games.

Kinect vs. Move vs. Wii

PlayStation Move wand and sub-controller

The PlayStation Move is a well crafted gadget — both in terms of look and usage. It has been designed to work equally well in the left or right hand with all major buttons within easy reach of the index finger or thumb. The glowing orb-like head is quite a sight to behold in the dark; especially when it shifts between colours. Meanwhile, the sleek black shaft fits in well with the PS3 aesthetic.

In case you were wondering, the PlayStation Move is compatible with all versions of the PlayStation 3 console. In other words, it will work fine with old, pre-Slim models.

Setup process

Setting up the PlayStation Move is a straightforward process — in theory, at least. The PlayStation Eye, which connects to the PS3 via a USB cable, was tricky to position due to smallness of its stand. It frequently toppled over while we attempted to swivel the camera’s head. Depending on your patience threshold, some Blu-Tack may be required to hold the device in place.

Once a Move game has been loaded up, the PS3 asks you to calibrate your controller. This involves holding the Move in specific positions while pressing the trigger button. For Move novices, this generally takes two or three attempts to get right, which can naturally lead to frustration. That said, the process soon becomes second nature.

If you plan to play the Move with friends, you’re going to need a fairly spacious living area. A small room simply won’t provide enough space for multiple players. This is a flaw that the PlayStation Move shares with the Nintendo Wii (and presumably Microsoft’s Kinect for Xbox 360, which launches next month). On the plus side, the Move’s spherical head is constructed from soft rubber, which should cut down on controller-related injuries.

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