Fast Company

Sony's PlayStation Move Ad Snarks on Microsoft's Project Natal, Ignores Nintendo Wii

PlayStation Move

All three current-gen video-game console makers have staked their futures on motion sensing. Nintendo famously did it first with the Wii, a ballsy, forward-looking move that many believed would lead to the downfall of the venerable company--but instead it won them this generation, racking up incredible sales and proving the naysayers totally and embarrassingly wrong.

Microsoft, the newest to the game (pun! ha!), had a hit on their hands already with the Xbox 360, thanks to an extremely strong library of games and an online gaming network (Xbox Live) that pretty much obliterates every other attempt out there. But if motion sensing is what the people want, Microsoft would give it to them: Enter Project Natal, a futuristic motion-sensing system that barely sounds real. It doesn't need a controller; it can recognize limbs, faces, and objects (like, say, a skateboard or tennis racquet) and insert them into games in real time; and it can sense depth, hand motions, and multiple people at one time; and it's basically an idea out of Star Trek. It's definitely influenced by the Wii, but it takes it several steps further, and is damned impressive in its own right.

PlayStation Move, on the other hand, is basically a Wii controller for the PS3. It's about as precise as Nintendo's recent add-on, the Wii MotionPlus, and looks like, well, a Wii controller designed by Sony (black, in other words). There are some differences, don't get me wrong; instead of connecting the main controller to the "nunchuck" second controller, the two are wirelessly connected. Oh, and it has a camera, like Microsoft's Project Natal, so it can handle augmented reality as well as recognize depth.

So Sony has an awful lot of minds to convince about PlayStation Move. And their ad is not likely to do it:

The ad goes after Microsoft, not Nintendo; while the Xbox 360 and PS3 are more similar in philosophy and marketing than either of those are to the Wii, the Wii is still the console (and motion-sensing pioneer) to beat, so I'm not really sure why Sony's acting like Nintendo doesn't exist. But either way, the ad pretty much flops: it doesn't differentiate the Move at all, and its attack on Microsoft is silly. Oh really, Sony? Electronic devices need to have buttons? That's the same argument that everyone made about the iPhone, and we all know how that turned out.

Sony's got to actually innovate: they've got to show what makes the Move different than "a Wii remote for PS3," and that's a tough task, because the hardware just isn't particularly inspiring. And taking digs at Microsoft, the company that's not only innovating but kicking your ass while doing it? Not helping.

[Via Seattle Post-Intelligencer]

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4 Comments

  • Gregory Ferenstein

    By the time Move launches, is it possible that nintendo could develop their own updated controller?

    --
    @ferenstein

  • Dan Greenberg

    Agree the ad is poor, but I strongly agree with Shann that the boxing bit is directed at Wii: the motion he made is precisely how Wii Sports Boxing is played.

    Ultimately, having worked with all three console makers, I have to say that I think the controller is a supporting actor. I believe the market responds to game play and game storyline. That is, is it fun and does it have a reasonable progression (of levels or story)? Wii won because they focused on these two, with the Wiimote supporting the "fun" aspect more than other controllers. Natal... and these Sony flashlight thingies... will succeed or fail based on how well they support the fun aspect of their respective platforms. But a good storyline -- a good game -- is more important.

  • Ray King

    I have to wonder if the Playstation Move will have built in vibration function, girls will no doubt like that, and ya know, it DOES look like a vibrator.......lol

  • Shann Biglione

    Erh... that's a pretty weird article to write.
    The whole part about the boxing game and the added depth to movements is entirely aimed at the Wii (and a weird one considering motion plus has fixed this problem).