[GDC 2010] Move It or Lose It

We finally get to go hands-on with Sony's motion controller, but how did the Move's debut treat us?
Author: Sam Bishop
Published: March 24, 2010
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Over a decade in the making. Seemingly bazillions of prototype videos. An announcement, a handful of promised titles and then... nothing -- until the original Spring 2010 release date was pushed back to Fall. For a while there, it almost seemed like Sony much vaunted Motion Controller wouldn't ever see the light of day. And then, finally, word started to creep out about things finalizing. Patents were filed, names were rumored (and, of course, none of them were right), and developers began to chatter quietly about the possibilities.

"It just... works. Exactly like they said," one dev had quipped to us a few weeks prior. To say that we were excited about finally seeing what all those years of R&D had wrought would be an epic understatement. As the days leading up to the Game Developers Conference ticked down, even more news escaped. Unannounced titles -- lots of 'em -- were going to be on show. Hype around the TPS offices was palpable. And then the presentation finally began yesterday at 4PM to an audience full of editors eagerly waiting to see what Sony's version of Motion Control would mean.

The name and final controller design was revealed almost instantly: PlayStation Move was coming, and the plan was to have it hit for under a hundred dollars for the Move controller itself, the required PlayStation Eye and a game. For the next 45 minutes or so, the word "precision" was uttered no less than a dozen times. Demos were trotted off and then scooted of stage in rapid succession.

And all we could think was... "that's it? That's what we were waiting for?" Luckily, in the next room waited more than a dozen kiosks with which to finally experience the thing for ourselves. So we did. We decided to Move. The results, unfortunately, didn't do a whole lot to sway our earlier impressions; for the most part things were still very much in the tech demo phase of development. Granted, every single product we played was in some form of alpha or even pre-alpha phase, meaning plenty more time and effort would go into things like presentation, tweaking of the input the controllers offered, performance of the games themselves and everything else that goes into cleaning up a game before it hits the "launch window."

It wasn't until we got to spend a little more time under more controlled lighting conditions with just a bit more actual hands-on experience that things started to come together. All that talk of the much-vaunted "precision" and "accuracy" that peppered the presentation yesterday? It's true. It's all absolutely, 100% true. To actually use the controllers -- which are surprisingly light yet don't feel cheap in the slightest -- that was the selling point. No, the games weren't expressly better a day later, but we were nonetheless a little more confident that not only the PR mouthpieces but the developers using it for a few months now touting the controller's marked improvement weren't just shining us on.

It's real. It works. And we're incredibly excited about the potential. There's just one problem: we still haven't seen any games that we'd like to spend some serious time with at this point. Party games and glorified tech demos are intriguing, but they aren't doing much to support the claims by Sony that this is a controller aimed as much at the hardcore as it is casuals, and there's a creeping feeling that the Move is being positioned as a kind of two-pronged attack against motion controls elsewhere (yes, the Wii) and an attempt to advance the tech people are familiar with now.

So let's get to some actual impressions, yeah?
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