Sony Move Tech Demos Practically Prove Peripheral’s Prowess

Our friends over at CVG were recently lucky enough to be treated to a private demo of some of the Move’s most interesting features, likely in an attempt by Sony to convince the skeptics how impressive the technology really is. Surprisingly, they’ve succeeded.

The differences between the Move and Wii’s MotionPlus have never been more apparent than they are throughout this video. At the outset, Sony’s Research and Development head Dr. Richard Marks shows off how the glowing sphere on the controller interacts with the camera, a feature that the Wii lacks. It’s very clear that the tracking is closer to 1:1 than any other peripheral on the market, and when Marks alters the camera’s perception of the sphere, the motion tracking is affected in predictable ways.

For example, when Marks squeezes his fingers around part of the sphere, making it appear smaller, the camera thinks it’s gotten further away. This demonstrates the camera’s integral role in interpreting the z axis, or depth of movement. Later on in the video, Move can tell the difference between a sideways movement and a forward movement when Marks is throwing a fireball. It’s really quite impressive, much more so than many of the game demos we got to play at E3.

One of the most interesting aspects for hardcore gamers is how the Move may be able to bridge the gap between console controllers and a mouse in games that rely heavily on PC controls, like the real time strategy genre. Other features, like the way the Move detects controller angle to a startling degree of accuracy, could be used in RPGs to open a scroll, read a map, or simply customize characters, weapons and other items.

Marks also highlights one of the ways in which the Move can be integrated with 3D technology by explaining how a marionette, pushed outward from behind by the player’s in-game sword, can really appear to be popping out of the TV. “If you combine Move and 3D display,” he says, “you get one of the most compelling virtual reality experiences you can imagine.”

Watching the video actually gives one a sense that Sony may be taking the right approach to this whole motion control battle. Within the confines of these tech demoes, at least, the Move is much more versatile than the MotionPlus, and infinitely more responsive and accurate than Microsoft’s Kinect. It’s also clear that 3D displays will enhance the effectiveness of the controller immensely by allowing players to experience all three planes of movement with their eyes as well as their hands. Hopefully developers will be able to come up with interesting concepts based on the Move, though, because a few more Table Tennis and boxing games definitely aren’t going to cut it.