While Nintendo has been sitting pretty with its family-friendly motion-controlled Wii console for a few years now, and integrating touch-screen functionality into its handheld DS before the iPhone was the mass market's mobile de jour, Sony and Microsoft have held back on making a song and dance about it -- until now.

(Relaxnews) -

While Nintendo has been sitting pretty with its family-friendly motion-controlled Wii console for a few years now, and integrating touch-screen functionality into its handheld DS before the iPhone was the mass market's mobile de jour, Sony and Microsoft have held back on making a song and dance about it - until now.

Control pads, keyboards and mice were once the videogaming weapons of choice, but Sony and Microsoft have seen Nintendo woo the public at large with a different approach to intuitive, user-friendly controls and are at last joining in themselves.

Both companies used their keynotes at the E3 conference in June 2009 to present their unique approaches to motion-controlled videogames, the hardware for which is due to become publicly available in 2010.

Microsoft's motion-based controller, known as Project Natal, uses a combination of a video camera, microphone, and infrared and digital depth sensors to work out what movements Xbox 360 owners are making. Facial and voice recognition are said to be built in as well as the ability to perform 3D motion capture.

The unit is expected to arrive late in 2010, and if it is indeed based on 3DV System's ZCam design, bought up by Microsoft in March 2009, then it could sell for between $50 and $70.

Microsoft has been putting Natal through internal testing using adapted versions of popular games such as Burnout Paradise, Beautiful Katamari, and Space Invaders Extreme. As such it is known that when Natal hits shop shelves, there should be a sizable library of games ready to take advantage of its technical abilities.

Sony has been involved in motion-controlled games since the release of the PlayStation 2's EyeToy camera device. An upgraded camera and microphone device called the PlayStation Eye has been available for the PlayStation 3 since 2007.

In-game use revolves mainly around video capture or image uploads rather than true motion control, though 2007's Eye of Judgement videogame / board game hybrid and 2009's EyePet were noted for their interesting use of the Eye.

In response to the obvious positive public response to Nintendo's Wii, Sony is building on its existing PlayStation Eye by creating Sony Motion Controller devices, remote control shaped wands with a light-up orb at the end. These orbs work in conjunction with the Eye and additional movement trackers inside the wands.

Though a retail price is as yet unknown, the Motion Controller is slated for retail in Spring 2010. It had been feared that while Sony's new controllers will make it to market before Microsoft's offering, the games and applications to go along with it would be much scarcer in comparison. Now it seems likely that some of the more popular PS3 games will be bolstered with free motion-controlling updates around the time of release, though as with all future tech, we will have to wait and see just how it turns out.

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