TotalRoundTable: Launch Moves

Moving into the future – and beyond.
Author: Marc N. Kleinhenz
Published: September 17, 2010
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After much pomp and spectacle, the hour is upon us: the PlayStation Move has arrived. But now that the sizzle has faded and the dust has cleared, what does the peripheral’s launch lineup tell us about Sony’s strategy, its intentions, and the reality that underlines them both?

Marc Kleinhenz, Sam Bishop, and Ryan Green – pinch-hitting this time for the out-on-assignment Gordon Wheelmeier – are joined this month by not one, but two guests of honor: the recently migrated Dave “Mr. Giggles” Clayman, formerly an executive editor with IGN, and Nintendo superfan extraordinaire Blake DiBari (and, no, he doesn’t have any t-shirts left over).

Marc N. Kleinhenz, features editor:

Sports Champions. EyePet: Your Virtual Pet. Kung Fu Rider. Start the Party! Racquet Sports. Plus the downloadable patches for MAG and Heavy Rain. These constitute, for better or worse, the launch lineup of the PlayStation Move.

So is it better or worse? Will the public, from jaded hardcore gamer to innocuous causal mom, be able to discern just what the peripheral will be capable of one year hence?

Ryan Green, senior editor:

Well, the catch is that the hardcore will not be happy because the hardcore is never happy; it is always mixed with support from blind followers (or justifiable ones) to a pack of insatiable war hounds. But if I had to pick where the majority will fall, it will be towards the angry commenter side of things.

None of the traditional "hardcore" game concepts are launching here. Sports Champions is Wii Sports, EyePet is being marketed as a family game, Kung Fu Riders doesn't have a very strong concept around it... the issues go on. You aren't getting Sorcery or Hot Shots Golf (with full Move support) or anything that looks to be a real risk because they have been mostly proven over on the Wii.

If we look at what they are doing with updates for MAG, Heavy Rain, and RE5: Gold, it is clear all over again what this launch is for Sony, and I can't disagree with it. This is their attempt to get people to adopt with some level of familiarity attached. Now you can play MAG by moving your stubby arms around. Your little brother can take a break from harassing the dog by pummeling a little monster that looks like Ryan Clements (and it is adorable). But nothing is revolutionary, groundbreaking, or risk-taking here. It is all an early-adopter entrance exam, and at just under $100 for most PS3 owners, it may or may not be a worthy investment right now, despite how simple Sony is taking this launch.

Dave Clayman, IGN contributing editor:

Wait a second – the Move costs a lot more than $100.

Motion controller: $49.99
Navigation controller: $29.99
PlayStation Eye: $39.99

Even if you already own the PS Eye, there's the software, and additional controller components if you want others to join in. Just like the Wii, once you add up all the little bits of plastic you need for family fun, you're doubling the cost of the console. But since Sony is trying to mimic Nintendo's road map to success, I suppose they know that price can't come between a family and its virtual tennis.

Here's what Sony also learned from Nintendo: nobody cares about hardcore motion games. Nintendo added motion to big franchises that would have sold well using any control scheme, but the new hardcore franchises have fallen flat.

So Sony gives the illusion of hardcore support with some patches and offers a smattering of games that look an awful lot like the best-selling titles on Wii. Their only big misstep at launch is not having a fitness and a dance game.
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