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.