Hands-on with PlayStation Move

Sony has been showing off PlayStation Move a lot lately, but it’s hard to tell what the experience is like from all the talk. So we recently tested it extensively and quizzed all the developers we could find for snippets of info. So far, it seems that PS Move has no great games but incredible tech. Read on for our analysis of the controller and the games we got to play.

PS Move dissected

PS3’s motion controller is now called PlayStation Move and goes on sale this Autumn. US gamers can pick one up with the PlayStation Eye camera and a game for under $100 (around £67). The UK bundle will vary, but details are TBA.

The Move might seem underwhelming – it looks similar to the technically inferior Wii Remote and the initial games are cold and familiar. There are highlights but it doesn’t seem like a tech revolution. Jeff Gerstmann of Giant Bomb voices similar concerns: “The Sony stuff looks lifeless to me. Yeah – they’ve got a game that looks like Wii Sports but it doesn’t have the vibrancy of a Nintendo game.”

After getting our hands on every title, everything started to make a lot more sense. Perfect head tracking, body recognition and one-to-one motion control with no noticeable lag. Yes - we were moving a poorly textured robot around a blank room with no discernible objective but the cutting edge tech felt oddly compelling and futuristic to use.

Then we tried the weaponry demo that Sony first showed at E3. Rapidly spinning the remote between our palms or tossing it 180 degrees didn’t cause issues with the tracking. We couldn’t even mess up the system by hiding it behind our back. Motion capture expert Doug Beck explained the spookily impressive tech: “The console can apply circle fitting so even if it’s behind something you can still reconstruct the whole thing. The motion controller can compensate when it disappears from the camera’s view.”

The demo left us feeling optimistic. Yes – the first wave of software consists of mostly casual games that don’t push the tech to its limits, but the Move is a truly future-proofed peripheral. It’s got the power to draw in a new audience while satisfying hardcore gamers’ tech cravings.

1) The sphere
This oversized ball is the key. It’s bright enough to be recognised in the dark and large enough to allow accurate depth perception. Even if it’s partially obscured, the PS3 can track its position in 3D space.

Above: 1) Sphere, 2) T button (trigger on underside), 3) Action button, 4) Face buttons

2) The T button
The analogue ‘T’ button is a nice, curved trigger on the underside of the controller, and allows for a convincing ‘grabbing’ motion when combined with the Action button. We predict it’ll be used to represent a lot of triggers/switches/fingers/aerosol cans in the near future.

3) The action button
Though Sony reps were referring to this as the ‘action’ button, the name isn’t finalised. It sits under your thumb and feels like an evolution of the Buzz Remote’s red button – it should prove handily obvious for casual games, with snug tactile response.

4) The face buttons
They’ve been rotated 45 degrees but are instantly familiar to any PlayStation gamer. They’re small enough that casual players won’t get confused by them but well positioned for more complex games. The Start/Select buttons are subtly hidden on the side of the Move to avoid unnecessary confusion.

The Navigation controller

The sub controller is going to be sold separately from PS Move and can be substituted by a standard Dualshock held in one hand – it’s not as comfortable, but a viable alternative. Note the placement of the D-pad. Annoyingly, it's below the analogue stick, just like the Wiimote with its D-pad below its A button. Pressing down on that thing is going to require serious thumb-wrenching.

Move FAQ

How many PS Moves can you use at once?
You can use up to four, but they’ll have to be displaying different shades so the PS3 can distinguish between them.

What changes the colour of the sphere?

There are three coloured LEDs in there. It’s normally the developer’s choice but it’ll also change automatically depending on the backdrop to stay easily visible to the PS Eye.

How do I charge it?
Just like a Dualshock – plug it in to your PS3.

Has it got feedback?
Yes – it’s got a similar vibration function to the Dualshock 3.

Will my existing EyeToy work with Move?

As long as it’s the PS3 model, yes.

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  • JADENkOTOR - April 26, 2010 6:24 p.m.

    @ stalpph Yep HUGE fanboy. Change your picture before you start calling other people out.
  • Rub3z - April 19, 2010 12:15 a.m.

    Those of you who say nothing new is added to the table, or that it is a Wii knock-off, I'm inclined to disagree. Sure, it's a two-piece plastic remote thing with some buttons on it, but did you really read the article? About the kind of superior tech that this offers in comparison to the Wii? They described one-to-one movement with no sign of lag, moving their entire bodies, not just the remotes... even when they moved the controller behind their backs it didn't mess up, a feat the Wii can't pull. The Wii only gets true one-to-one with the Motion Plus add-on, and that's still only boasting one-to-one movement of your hand, not your entire body. It makes me wonder if Natal, which only uses the camera, is more prone to glitching (which, from some things we've seen at E3, might be so). So no, I don't think this is a Wii knock-off, this looks like it's moving forward the ways motion control can be integrated into gaming experiences. Still, using a controller is better, and why the f*** is there no news of a mind control thing in the works? I think just about everyone, casual or hardcore, can get excited about that sort of thing... btw, there is an old article on this site about videogame mind control, i suggest you check it out.
  • reaperman22 - April 17, 2010 12:46 p.m.

    if they dont want 1:1 with the fighter cause of peoples skills then they should add it in as a setting so people who can fight and people that just plain want to can do it, i know i would be more interested in a 1:1 fighting experience than a gesture based even if i would suck at it
  • Tochy - April 17, 2010 12:54 a.m.

    @Stalpph Fanboy reCAPTCHA:waste tests wtf how
  • Stalpph - April 17, 2010 12:12 a.m.

    I'm getting Playstation Move on release date.
  • Stalpph - April 17, 2010 12:09 a.m.

    OMG all the Nintendo and Xbox fanboys commenting on this saying that Playstation is copying the Wii better get a reality check because Playstation came out with the whole motion control thing with the PS2 EyeToy. Anyway even though Wii is beating PS3 Playstation will always be superior to Nintendo and Xbox. They made the best selling console of all time (Playstation 2, 120 million units worldwide) AND the second best selling console of all time, the Playstation one (100 million units wordwide). Nintendo have only got the best selling game of all time (Super Mario Bros. 3 or whatever it was) and thats it. And Xbox? What have they ever done?
  • sleepy92ismypsn - April 16, 2010 5:08 p.m.

    it vibrates...well i guess it really is a dildo. but i will still get one probably not launch day but when hardcore games start using the tech. i just hope my girlfriend doesnt hog it lol
  • adamasunder - April 16, 2010 1:45 p.m.

    I found the bit in the article about cross platform releases between the wii and ps3 interesting. Hopefully it'll raise the quality bar on the Wii as reputed companies will put more effort in knowing they have a greater chance at recuperation. The most likely outcome is that the ps3 ends up sinking under a deluge of shovelware. 90% of the Wii catalogue is drivel.
  • philipshaw - April 16, 2010 1:05 p.m.

    Read this already in this months PSM3 and it's a good read
  • EnragedTortoise1 - April 16, 2010 12:08 p.m.

    sorry to be a perfectionist, but the wiimote's d-pad is ABOVE the a-button.
  • Howetzer - April 16, 2010 11:53 a.m.

    Hey way to go gamesradar! I never would have expected you guys to be putting out a sort-of semi prasing article about sony's move. Did anyone tell microsoft? Hope no one gets grounded!
  • FreekinIdiot - April 16, 2010 11:41 a.m.

    Meh, I don't really see anything new here.
  • 4fromK - April 16, 2010 7:25 a.m.

    " Sony haven’t tried to compromise form for function." that reads as "oh yes, we've gone for style over substance here. the move is gonna LOOK awesome."
  • jmcgrotty - April 16, 2010 6:28 a.m.

    I'm a huge fan of Sony and have to say that I hope with all my heart this crap fails. And I am 99% sure it will.
  • super0sonic - April 16, 2010 5:53 a.m.

    I just don't understand. the 6axis is kinda underwhelming and now they make something that's so much a wii knockoff that if it was not on the Sony website i would call bullshit.
  • sgloomy - April 16, 2010 4:39 a.m.

    I think Ill wait until I hear more about it to be optimistic. I have a wii and a ps3 and if you are a gamer, you'll know the difference between the two consoles. not that im saying the wii is bad or anything, its just that i don't see games like god of war or uncharted playing too well with this. its good that they have games specific for it but I guess we'll just have to wait and see, same thing for Natal, it could be very cool, but at the same time it could fail very miserably
  • JeffGoldblum1 - April 16, 2010 4:03 a.m.

    Haha you might want to look for a more recent picture of Jeff.
  • Cwf2008 - April 16, 2010 3:24 a.m.

    it looks like a wii remote with a giant ball and the PS3 buttons though...well we'll see how good it is
  • El_Hombre11 - April 16, 2010 2:40 a.m.

    What I see here is the PS3 attempting to steal the Wii's currently unbeatable sales. If it works, more power to 'em. If it fails, then it fails, people forget, and Natal better take that as an opportunity to kick some ass!!
  • JC182 - April 16, 2010 2:02 a.m.

    why are all the companies trying to copy the wii i would rather use a controler to play video games