Thursday, March 11, 2010

Playstation Move: Really?.....Really?

Sony finally coins the name of it's motion controller as the "Playstation: Move" , which is by far one of the worst names you could possibly come up with for a motion cotroller, but I digress. As you can clearly see, from the above graphic I painstakingly graphically designed, the similarities are incredibly obvious; This is what Sony does best! There's nothing really I can say that would go beyond what everyone else has been shouting through the tubes of the Internet. Then again, this is one of those instances where I just have to speak my mind, because I feel genuinely disappointed by Sony's lack of effort and arrogant statements popping up near the release of such effortless products.

Thinking Realistically..

Let's kick this off with a sweet Tretton-ism that's in the news. This one is from Gamer Investments.

“I think realism is the key… The ability to see yourself in 3D space, to interact your depth from the screen; your motion, whether it’s a big motion or a subtle motion; the ability to have that motion controller in your hand and do something as subtle as painting or writing and then take that to swinging a golf club, swinging a sword or an axe, and to have that experience feel just like it is.”

“It’s so difficult to describe until you get that ping-pong paddle in your hand. If you’ve played some ping-pong you’ll be good at it. If you’re not good at the tables you’re going to struggle a little bit until you get the hang of it.

“It’s not just a simple flick of the wrist where you can fake it. I think we’ve all seen other games where you think you’re a great golfer so you’ll be great at motion gaming golf and you suck. You think you’re great at motion gaming golf and you think that makes you a good golfer and you can’t.”

-Jack Tretton, SCEA boss

If you don't know, he's referring to the PS:M's launch title; a little game called Champion Sports, which more than slightly resembles Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort. Then again "Slightly" might be a bit lenient on my part. One could easily argue that it's not the same as Wii sports, because the in-game characters are "realistically depicted", and are using (zOMG) real weapons instead of Miis using props from American Gladiators. Realism is the key statement that gets thrown around a lot in this equation, and I'm suspecting that realism is perceived as the 'obstacle' That's keeping the "Hardcores" away from motion based controllers in the first place. The other part of that quote that irks me is the notion of "faking it" by flicking your wrist. I thought that Golfing was all about keeping control in your wrists, and knowing when to put just enough force into your swing, while factoring in distance and wind direction. Then again the closest I've been to golfing was Putt Putt, so what do I know? Sure you could just flick your wrists to victory in Wii Sports, but after a while you'd be hurting yourself due to the obvious strain, and really where's the fun in that?

The Next Generation of Current Gen tech...

Here is another [sarcasm] fantastic [ / sarcasm ] statement from SCEA's Peter Dille.

"We like to think this is the next-generation of motion gaming," said SCEA's Peter Dille during the official unveiling at GDC in San Francisco. "Nintendo has done a great job introducing motion gaming to the masses. We like to think the migration from Wii to PS3 is a pretty natural path."

This is the next generation of motion gaming.. So next gen that it practically uses some of the same elements that the Wii Motion + uses. Not to mention that both the Move and the M+ were developed with help from AiLive, A California based company who specializes in motion controlled software and hardware applications.

The video above is a demo of AiLive's LiveMove 2 which is also being utilized in the Playstation: Move. Did I also forget to mention that the M+ and the PS:M also both have three axis Gyroscopes and accelerometers (M+ only adds onto what the Wii Remote already has.) The only difference is the Wiimote isn't crowned with a color changing ball, and an Eyetoy to track it's movements. So what's so next gen about the Move? Ergonomics? According to MTV's Multiplayer gaming blog, the Move is so smooth and easy to hold in your hand compared to the Wii Remote, but to be honest I've never really noticed a problem other than the restrictive nature of the the Nunchuck cord. Of course, Thanks to companies like Nyko that's not even an issue, anymore. "Natural" would be a good term if there was really some analogous natural thing to compare it to....well other than auto-erotic paraphernalia.

These are the things are going to make the expanded audience, and lapsed gamer crowds that Nintendo rediscovered just automatically swoon, and open their wallets (Rumor has it that you'll be able to play games with dual move controllers) . Let's say for a moment that they do manage to attract these gamers. At the most it would probably only be a few, considering they'd have to buy this in conjunction with a PS3. Not to mention Sony's business plan is shooting for the precipitation from the clouds instead of aiming for the stars. Seriously, shouldn't Sony be trying to recapture those Ps2 owners who haven't yet migrated over to the PS3 for whatever reason? Or are you going to just let them supposedly migrate over to 360 like Aaron Greenberg said in a previous Gamasutra article? Either way, this is a seriously flawed strategy to be rallying behind so valiantly, unless this plan is basically Sony's last ditch attempt at recouping their losses from the critical flaw of overpricing their console at launch.

All your third party developers are belong to us...

According to the grocery list of developers it looks like the third parties are falling over themselves to be a part of this 'revolutionary' new development in gaming. I put revolutionary in quotations, because this was revolutionary like five years ago when half of those developers were folding their arms and cocking back their gums to fire off snarky remarks of gimickry and snazzy virus analogies. Now I'm to believe that this is the pretty much the equivalent of modern science discovering warp drive technology and now these guys are obligated to expend their gracious efforts to create compelling software for this 'brand new revolutionary' technology. Ubisoft, EA, Activision, Capcom, Disney, and of course Sony are currently working on twenty games for the PS:M (To be released by this time next year). I just can't stop thinking back to the firestorm of ridicule that erupted from 2006 to present. Even in the face of the Wii's success, it still had quite a number of detractors, and developers who were reluctant to give the console a decent game over the common practice of delivering crappy games to fund HD efforts elsewhere.

And the games are soo.....well... gamey!

The real question will be how will this play out now that the shoe is on the other foot? If the first showing of games have anything to say about it, I'm not too sure about the overall outcome. Sports Champion looks like a bland version of WSR, with the catapult feature from the PSN game Pain thrown in for good measure. It's probably good enough for those who only played Wii Sports and WSR in passing, and don't own either a Wii or the games. The Shoot is an interesting looking rail shooter that seems to take place in various movie-themed cliches (in Joystiq's video you can clearly hear a eye-roll inducing altered version of Danny Elfman's Batman theme). While it looks (vaguely) fun, the narrator's sonnett-like descriptions seem like they'll get real old real fast. In addition to that it reminds me of all the other on rails shooters on the Wii that ended up killing what was once considered a good thing. Motion fighter seems like it's missing something, or just looks like the controls are way too loose (or laggy). I'm also not a fan of that behind the back camera sans transparancy, either. Little Big Planet looks like it's going to be reconfigured for use with the move, but that's kind of a wasted effort. And should I even bother talking about Move Party? The reel kind of has that whole "business as usual" vibe going for it with very little in the way of compelling titles. Even the Joystiq hands on of SOCOM seems to be likened to playing any other Wii FPS game. That's really going to motivate me to rush out and buy that.

With all of that being said, I can't really say in all honesty that I'd be the first one in line to buy a Playstation: Move. Even after the initial shock of the mii-too based design, and features I can't even remotely bring myself to say "well done, Sony!" like the more vocal praises out there (which I have my suspicions about.) What I can say is that I'm still kind of up in the air about the whole thing, and am wondering how it's all going to play out once the Move is released this fall. Sure all it takes is a killer app to generate enough momentum to become a threat to Nintendo , but if what we've seen so far is any indication of what the future holds, then It's going to be a pretty bleak future for Tretton, Dille and Sony.

Source(s): Gamer Investments, Game, MTV multiplayer blog, Gamasutra, Joystiq

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