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PlayStation Move: like a Wii HD

Posted by A Gaming Moose

Reading through a ton of the E3 news, it seems that I called it when I said that the PS3 Move is exactly like a Wii (but just with HD and 3D). Gizmodo's Mark Wilson had a hands on of the PlayStaion Move and while the peripheral has it's pros and cons, it boils down to the first gen software.

If you have been living under a rug, the premise with the PlayStation Move (over the Wii motion controls) is that the PS3 can track Z motion (depth) and gives the player better control. So you should be able to stab somebody instead of just swiping at them with a sword. The PS3 Move is going to suffer from the same issues as the Wii has: Waggleware. Games that both console manufacturers should be sweeping under the rug. Who wants to wave a controller as fast as they can to move faster (PlayStations TV super star and Wii Sports Resorts).

The other downside to the PlayStation Move is noticeable input lag.

So I tried The Fight: Lights Out. This is game seemed like the antithesis to TV Superstar. It's gritty and violent, sure, but it also tracks two Move controllers rather than one, allowing you to punch an opponent into oblivion. Plus, the Move's camera would track my eyes, allowing me to rotate my position by turning my head (a good thing, since I was warned not to move my feet after calibration). I couldn't wait, even donning 3D glasses for the full effect. The combat? Laggy. And I never felt like my punches were registered the way I threw them onscreen. Rather, my uppercut registered a precanned animation. I understand that my punches probably looked too horrible to use, but a lag, combined with pure animation cues, stops you from feeling like you're fighting. Heck, even Wii's loosely controlled Punch Out! feels more like actual boxing.

While not everything is bad about the PlayStation Move (read more about the Eye pet, Sports Champions and SOCOM) I just don't see the need for more motion control in video games. While Mark Wilson says SOCOM is enjoyable using the Playstaion Move controllers, I don't see it as being comfortable for extended periods. Playing some of the "point and shoot" games on the Wii was great fun, but it gets tiring quick. It will be interesting to see if Sony can bring developers to write for the platform and produce games that use the controls in unique/innovative ways. Time will tell if Sony can capitalize on the more feature heavy control scheme.

Then again, once you look at the true cost of PlayStation Move, it may be hard for game developers to write for it. PlayStation Move pricing breaks down like this: $39.99 for the main controller, $29.99 for the sub controller (although you could just use a dual shock controller) and about $40 for the PlayStation Eye. High costs + optional peripherals will mean for low adoption and game developers being reluctant to write games.


PS3 Firmware 3.21 removes Linux support

Posted by A Gaming Moose

Sony is releasing the 3.21 PS3 firmware on April 1 and it's no April fools joke: PS3 owners will lose support for Linux and the 'OtherOS' install. The PS3 3.21 firmware does nothing else-no added features, game support-it just removes functionality. Sony is citing 'security concerns' but we all know that is a codeword for piracy.SCEA's Patrick Seybold explains that the removal of said functionality is necessary "due to security concerns ... [and] will help ensure that PS3 owners will continue to have access to the broad range of gaming and entertainment content from SCE and its content partners on a more secure system." I call bullshit on this one, Sony is out to squash the OtherOS exploit before it can be used for piracy.

If you wish to keep your Yellow Dog, or any other Linux install going on your older PS3 you will have to opt out of the 3.21 firmware update. The downside is that you lose the ability to play back DRM protected video stored on a media server OR play any future PS3 titles that require the 3.21 (or higher) firmware. PS3 owners who opt out of the 3.21 firmware update also can't sign into the PlayStation Network, which means no more online play or chat.

This reminds me of the constant battle that Sony has been fighting with home brew/piracy on the PSP. It seems that they update the firmware every other day to try and they still are unable to prevent people from using the PSP how they want. It's sad to see Sony start down this path with the PS3 and removing a feature because it MAY lead to home brew or piracy. Why not let patch the exploit in a way that still allows the OtherOS?

If you are looking for how to install Linux on your PS3 before the firmware update, check out Popular Mechanics.


PlayStation Move Shovelware: Slider

Posted by A Gaming Moose

No, it's not the awesome adaptation of Sliders, but the first PlaySation Move enabled game to come out from Sony's Japan Studios. Slider is also a good example of upcoming shovelware for the PS3 Move. Face it, the Wii is plagued by games with uninspired motion controls and now the Playstation 3 will get it's share of those games.

Joystiq has a hands on review of PS3 Slider and the game does seem to have charm; the game revolves around the concept of escaping from the Japanese mafia by using office furniture. While the concept is certainly zany enough to work, the downfall of PS3 Slider is the poor implementation of motion controls.

Waggling the controller moves the character forward, but to jump or duck you thrust the controller upward/downward. So moving forward, up and down use nearly identical motions; making for imprecise controls and frustrating game play. Just like Red Steel for the Wii (you had so much promise!). Joystiq failed to find the game enjoyable and correctly deduced that a casual gamer wouldn't be able to pick it up and play easily. This game probably could have used the SIXAXIS controller instead and been a much better game.

It's sad to see another avenue for poor (and gimmicky) motion controls used in another console. Good motion control makes a game more immersive in a way that normal controls cannot. Hopefully more First Party games for the PS3 get decent motion controls. Not to mention the amount of shovelware games that will be ported from the Wii to the PlayStation 3. Shovelware is never fun and makes for a poor purchase; worse, it's hard to tell how poorly a game has implemented motion controls until you purchase/rent the game. Thankfully there is always GameFly.


Why the PS3 Move is exactly like the Wii Remote

Posted by A Gaming Moose

Sony just unveiled their new motion based control scheme dubbed "PS3 Move". While Nintendo's Wiimote and the PS3 Move motion controller have different hardware, they are the exactly the same to the average person. Deep down inside the PS3 Move is just another Wiimote in theory. Both controllers share the same idea, but are executed in different ways. PS3 Move: mimic, gimmick or something new?

  • Initial games will be tech demos showcasing control schemes
  • They both use light to track where the controller is at.
  • Both the PS3 Move and the Wiimote have a secondary controller with a control stick (and both come separate
  • Extra Controllers for the PS3 Move and Wiimote are expensive.
  • PS3 fanboys call the new control scheme "gimmicky". Wait, that was just the Wiimote.

OK, while the fine details may not be the same for the PS3 Move and Nintendo's Wiimote; the basic premise is exactly the same. Both controllers give players a new way to control future games and-in the case of the PS3-some older games like Little Big Planet. The PS3 Move handles the motion control differently than the Wiimote though. The PS3 Motion uses a LED lit ball coupled by the PS3 Eye toy to track it. The Wiimote uses a passive IR light in the sensor bar and the receiver is in the Wiimote and if you paid for it, the Motion Plus adapter for true 1:1 control.

The problem with the PS3 Move is that it is a add on and add ons have a terrible adoption rate for consoles. Couple that with how expensive the PS3 Move is going to be: for the "full" experience, each person will need two PlayStation Move controllers AND a sub controller (which doesn't support motion gaming at all). Oh but wait, how many Moves does the PlayStation support? Sony told Gizmodo that the PS3 only supports-at most-FOUR Move controllers at once: or two PS3 Move controllers and two sub-controllers. So, for that full multiplayer epxeriance you are looking at just one PlayStation Eye, but two Moves and a sub-controller per player. Using Giz's napkin math, that comes out to about $290 bucks to get the full experience. So we have expensive hardware, limited multiplayer experience and the potential for low adoption rates; sounds like a recipe for disaster.

The PS3 Move motion controller does have better tracking and better motion sensing (think of it having the Wii Motion Plus adapter built in). Both the PS3 Move and the Wiimote are exactly the same idea and close in hardware. It comes down to the execution of that idea, and the PS3 Move is going to have issues moving forward. I look forward to see how the diehard PS3 and Nintendo fans clamor about how one control scheme is better than the other.

Until I can get my hands on it, I'd have to label the PS3 Move as a mimic of the Wiimote. Mainly because for regular buyers there is no way you can explain that this is different than Wii Remote controllers.

If you don't think the PS3 Move and the Wii remote are the same, tell me why I'm wrong in the comments. Or if you think it is, share your thoughts.