Sony unveils motion-sensing controller for PS3 consoles

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The Independent Tech

Sony on Wednesday unveiled a hotly anticipated motion-sensing controller that it hopes will fuel new interest in its PlayStation 3 videogame consoles.

PlayStation Move wands will hit the market in time for the year-end holiday shopping season and aim to tap into a zest for motion-sensing controls that made Nintendo Wii consoles marketplace superstars.

Sony Computer Entertainment America took the wraps off Move and a set of games geared for the controllers, at a private event held near a Game Developers Conference taking place here this week.

"We like to think this is the next generation of motion gaming," said PlayStation Network senior vice president of marketing Peter Dille.

"Nintendo has done a great job of introducing motion gaming to the masses. We think the migration path for the Wii household to the PS3 household is pretty natural."

Sony did not disclose exact pricing details, but said it would offer a Move controller bundled with a videogame and an Eye camera that synchs to PS3 consoles for less than 100 dollars.

Move controllers were reminiscent of small black flashlights topped with brightly colored orbs.

The devices let PS3 play be controlled with swings, jabs and other natural movements instead of toggle-and-button commands that have been trademarks of play on PS3 and rival Xbox 360 consoles by Microsoft.

While Wii consoles have a relatively low price of 200 dollars, they have been criticized as lacking the vivid graphics and complex play mechanics of Xbox 360 and PS3 consoles with more processing power.

Move melds Wii-style motion control with more muscular hardware, according to Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter.

"It's the Wii HD," said Pachter. "Too bad Sony beat Nintendo to it. It is exactly what you want from a Wii HD: super processing power."

Microsoft is getting into the motion-sensing controller game with a Project Natal release slated for later this year.

Natal will let Xbox 360 players control in-game action with pure body motion, eliminating the need for wands or other hand-held gadgets, according to early glimpses at the technology provided by Microsoft.

"I think Natal is more appealing than any of these things because it requires only you, no peripherals," Pachter said while discussing Wii and PS3 motion-sensing controls.

A cut last year in PS3 price to 300 dollars and releases of blockbuster titles such as "Uncharted 2: Among Thieves" and "Killzone 2" for the console are credited with fueling new momentum in sales of the consoles.

"We've got a lot of wind at our back," Dille said. "As a matter of fact we are having a hard time keeping hardware in stock."

Accessories sold to augment move will include a "sub-controller" for maneuvering characters in more intense shooter games such as "SOCOM 4," which will be completely playable with Move, according to Sony.

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