PlayStation Move: we saw it 10 years ago

PlayStation Move was only really unleashed on the gaming media at E3 2010, which represented the first chance for journalists to flail around with a wand in their hand playing the likes of The Fight: Lights Out, SingStar Dance and Sorcery.

You might be surprised, then, to discover that at least part of the Move tech is kind of old news. Like 10 years old.

Sony had publicly demoed a fairly basic version of the Move technology at the now defunct European game trade show ECTS back in the summer of 2000. Take a look at the below screen. Recognise that big bulbous wand thing he's holding?


Above: A precursor toMove being demoed over10 years ago

Reported in the premier UK edition of Official PlayStation 2 magazine in September that year, Paul Holman, then-Director of Technology at SCEE described the system: "It's all part of a move away from traditional controllers into new areas."

The demo involved plugging a webcam into a USB port (remember, this is way before EyeToy) which analysed and tracked moving props held by a player, which were transformed into in-game objects. Tech demos showed at the time included 'Dungeon' which allowed players to wield a medieval sword and mace, and ‘Flying’ which had you flapping your arms like wings and flying through a fairly empty desert environment. It's easy to surmise these were the roots of Move - even though Sony's first baby step attempt at motion control with EyeToy was to come first.


Above:Dungeon -a tech demo to illustrate howit could work


Above: Flying - a boring shot, which was the backdrop to, er, a flyinggame

Holman also spoke of the possibility of incorporating a digital avatar of the player into a fighting game (he used the example of Tekken, then a Sony exclusive) and the player controlling it through actual kicking and punching, and then went on to suggest that, "One day you might be able to speak to your PS2 and it will react." Which is somewhat ironic, given that these features are far closer to the direction Microsoft has taken with Kinect.


Above:The Flying game was closer in control to Kinect, not using a wand

Clearly, new technology has been added since, and the system will undoubtedly have been refined numerous times, but still, it's interesting to think Move has effectively been in development for at least 10 years.

June 22, 2010