What is Move?
A few years ago, the heart of the competition in the video game industry was who could create the best story line for games and what console could provide the highest quality graphics. However, video games today have advanced to a whole new level of creativity. Aside from the notorious 3D technology, competition in video games today is also fueled by the onset of motion sensor games. Video game companies are still careful to provide excellent story lines and graphics, but the potential for the motion sensor aspect of gaming has really begun to sink in. Companies now will be competing with each other for who has the most responsive motion controller, and the cleanest 3D look along with the story line and graphics. Gaming as we know it is now on the road toward being revolutionized.
The first prominent motion sensor video game console was the Nintendo Wii, which captivated America’s traditional video game players and families alike. The console took gaming to a new level and allowed Nintendo to actively compete with Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s PlayStation 3. All three consoles generated large sales, but it’s obvious that the Wii has set a standard for motion sensor gaming now. Xbox 360 has created the Kinect motion sensor to compete in the market, which we will look at in another article. Our focus for now is on Sony’s new product, the PlayStation Move.
Sony originally attempted to approach motion sensor gaming with the Eye Toy for the PlayStation 2. The concept was great, but it is safe to say that the quality of gameplay absolutely failed. The response time is exceedingly slow, and the horrible game limitations are just a few problems among the many that exist. It was a bold move by Sony to try motion sensors, but this could negatively effect the Move. Due to the failures of the Eye Toy, some customers may be hesitant to pick up the next Sony motion sensor immediately because they fear that it may turn out like the Eye Toy. Most likely, the Move will crush the Eye Toy in every aspect, including hardware capabilities and developer support. It will probably generate large profits, but it still must compete with Microsoft’s Kinect. Both Microsoft and Sony have large communities, which will provide for a competition with interesting results.
Now, aside from the history and business information, let’s focus on the PlayStation Move itself. According to IGN, the Move has proven to be one of the most solid motion control items because it has utilized multiple motion tracking technologies that are very powerful. The fine points of the Move’s success are directly related to the camera, controller orbs, inertial sensors, and bluetooth.
The PlayStation Eye
The first large aspect of the Move is the PlayStation Eye, or the camera. Sony has attempted to create the most realistic gaming experience by adding special features to this camera. The camera allows the PlayStation 3 to create realistic applications, measure 3D spaces, and adjust to the customer’s surroundings. Along with these attributes, the Eye is equipped with a wide-angle lens. This lens is capable of not only a wide view, but a close-up view as well. While using the wide view the lens can capture a 75-degree angle as opposed to the 56-degree angle available in the close-up view. The Eye streams video at either a 640×480 resolution with a 60Hz refresh rate, or a 320×240 resolution with a 120Hz refresh rate. Keep in mind that these statistics will vary among the applications being used at the time. As you can see, when the resolution is reduced the refresh rate is increased greatly which provides a more complete motion capture. Finally, the Eye contains a microphone used for the voice-recognition feature. Similar to the Kinect, the Move will contain facial recognition abilities as well.
Fixed on the top of the Move controllers is a large orb of various colors. At first glance your question is: why? Well, Sony has included these glowing orbs for a variety of reasons that all enhance your experience with the Move. It uses LED tracking and edge detection to measure the distance between the screen and controller. Unlike the Wiimote’s infrared and inertial sensors used, this LED strategy is much more accurate. The system simply measures the size of the orb in the incoming video to help determine how far away the orb/controller/player is from the screen. Also, the orbs come in multiple colors for both looks, and to help the Eye recognize different controllers in multi-player situations. Not only do the orbs assist the Eye in calculating distance, but they provide us with easier pointer detection.
The inertial sensors inside of the Move controllers include a three axis accelerometer, magnetometer, and angular rate sensor. With all of these sensors working together the Move is able to detect tilt, rotation, velocity, and even the orientation of the controller. These inertial sensors that are implanted in the controllers are responsible for the realistic motion capture of video games, which are said to be “1:1″ or perfectly spatially correlated in the game to where the controller is in real life.
No cords are necessary between the Move controller and PlayStation 3 because of its bluetooth capabilities. The controller is able to send the motion tracking and input data straight to the PS3 through bluetooth, rather than through a directly connected wire.
The PlayStation Move is now available and may have gotten a leg up on the competition because Kinect is not due to be released until early November. The competition will still be an interesting one and I can not wait to hear the final results of this new generation of gaming. And don’t worry, as soon as we’ve got a review unit, you’ll be hearing our opinions on the real gameplay of Playstation Move.
So which are you more interested in? Microsoft’s Kinect or Sony’s Move? Tell us in the comments!
Source – IGN PlayStation Move
Source – GameStop PlayStation Move
Source – GameStop Microsoft Kinect