I normally don’t acknowledge the fact that Sony still makes video game consoles, but I am making an exception. Earlier in the year, Sony showed off a prototype ‘motion controller’ for its floundering PS3 console. The ‘motion controller’, like Nintendo’s Wii controller, is in two parts: a sensor and a hand held unit. That is, however, where the similarity ends. While Nintendo’s solution is rather elegant, the Sony solution is rather bizarre. Sony is using its Eyesight camera with integrated microphone and a rather odd looking hand held device. The camera looks like an old Creative labs web cam with a HUGE microphone grafted on top. The hand held unit is even worse. It looks like a late nineties contoured flashlight with a stupid looking orb on top. The orb changes colors. Unlike the Nintendo solution, which uses accelerometers, the Sony solution simply follows the glowing orb. It is less ‘motion controller’ and more of a tracking system.
The demos, however, looked rather nice. The PS3 has terrific graphics and great sound. One can just salivate over the possibilities of mixing the awesome power of the PS3 coupled with the great game play of the Nintendo Wii. The profoundly stupid looking Sony controller aside, it would be pretty cool to play Mario Kart in glorious PS3 graphics. The real question here is this: are the Sony developers clever enough to really take advantage of the ‘motion’ control scheme? Nintendo is, for the most part, spot on with its blend of motion control play and traditional game play. Sony is hell-bent on the gee-whiz factor, but rather light on game play, unless you want slash your way through. There is no doubt that some of the third part devs, like EA, could utilize the new scheme, but I doubt Sony can pull this off. At least, not right away.
So, why am I talking about this now? Simple…rumor has it that Sony will introduce its new control scheme in spring of 2010. Not only that, they are also rumored to, and contrary to what they have stated, restore PS2 compatibility. Even though they have categorically stated that they will NOT EVER be doing this, it seems they are. Hmm…I guess that makes them as believable as the boy who cried wolf. Or Apple saying that they did not reject Google talk.