E3: Sony busts a move in motion control battle
Wednesday 03 June 2009
Jaws dropped yesterday when Microsoft revealed its 'body control' technology for gaming - but Sony matched the software giant today when it demonstrated hugely effective motion controller for the PlayStation 3.
Whereas Microsoft's Project Natal is very much in its early stages, Sony leapt into the race today at E3, demonstrating a mind-blowingly effective controller system that Sony Computer Entertainment America boss Jack Tretton said could be on the market by autumn of next year.
Nintendo, the leader of the motion-based controller in recent times courtesy of its WiiMote, has further increased its lead at this innovative end of the market with its more accurate MotionPlus add-on.
But Sony's demonstration of its prototype Motion Control, which works in conjunction with the PlayStation Eye camera was incredibly impressive, and seemed like technology far closer to market than Project Natal
Shown by Dr Richard Marx, who worked on the PS2's EyeToy project, the control stick uses a glowing sphere on top of the device, which is tracked three-dimensionally by the camera.
"This far surpasses anything you can get on the market now," said Marx. "We've been hard at work on it for a few years. It's a new set of experiences for PS3.
"Its most distinctive feature is the glowing eye that the PS Eye can track. When you're playing RPG, for an example, you can choose fireball, and you throw to cast spell."
Another Sony engineer, Dr Antony Mikhaeloff, took on the role of stunt gamer while Marx explained the concept and talked the audience through a few functions. Mikhaeloff was rendered on the monitor on a virtual screen, in a three-dimensional virtual room. He was shown playing with a number of objects, hitting at tennis balls with a giant racket, swinging a baseball bat, even waving a dainty pink fan - although this was replaced with a massive gold Desert Eagle handgun, quickly restoring his dignity.
The one-to-one tracking was extremely precise, with an exercise stacking child's blocks showing just how accurate the Motion Control could be - even at this point in development.
"One thing that we learned from the EyeToy is that some experience need a button," Marx said. This does make sense, considering how strange it would feel to fire a gun in a first person shooter without actually pulling a trigger.
Mikhaeloff then demonstrated painting software, writing his name on the wall of the virtual room with a paintbrush, the pressure on the controller's analogue button determining pressure of brush strokes. This proved far more accurate than the results achieved at yesterday's Microsoft demonstration where gestures were vague, at best.
But what got the gamehead crowd really excited was when Marx announced it was time to go into a virtual arena to demonstrate just how fun Motion Control will be when unleashed on FPS or fighting games. The 3D tracking is clever enough that Mikhaeloff was able to reach behind enemies for more effective attacks. The next trick was the clincher - reaching over his own shoulder to pull arrows out of a quiver before dispatching them at enemies.
The three-way scrap for motion control supremacy is obviously far from over - two quite different principles which are still in development and a more rudimentary system that's already at market and getting better by the year. Only time will tell which of the big three really have got the best moves.
Matt Greenop is a guest of Sony PlayStation at E3 Expo
Taken from the New Zealand Herald
Life & Style blogs
Revenge porn: What is it – and how big is the problem?
Teenagers irritable because early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
The Fappening: After the third wave of leaked celebrity photos, why can't we stop it?
Windows 10 release: Microsoft bypasses 'Windows 9' with new operating system
Isis, we are told, is a 'clear and dangerous threat to our way of life'. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
- 1 Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
- 2 HeForShe campaign: Iceland to follow up Emma Watson speech with UN women's rights conference – for men only
- 3 Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
- 4 Ed Sheeran dedicates song to David Cameron
- 5 Now we know whose fault it is if you end up being murdered in Thailand
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: Real Staffing Group is seeking Traine...
£400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client are currently seekin...
£40000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Infrastructure En...
£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analy...