While it might not have made as big a splash as a certain Project Natal, the E3 announced PS3 motion control technology certainly has its fans and showed massive potential. Using the existing PlayStation Eye camera, which has been available since 2007, the new technology enables extremely precise 1 to 1 motion tracking from a new type of PS3 controller.
After the initial showing at Sony’s E3 2009 conference, details have been relatively thin on the ground about the new method of playing PS3 games. Well now, more details seem to be slipping through the net.
New head on Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, Andrew House, recently revealed in an interview with gameindustry.biz that the new technology has been in development since the original EyeToy for PlayStation 2 (launched way back in 2003). He also went on to say, in response to a question regarding the tech being bundle with new PS3s, “It is possible, but spring is a long way away”. This again confirms the spring 2010 release date and adds a distinct possibility that, unlike the original EyeToy, it could be bundled with new PS3 consoles.
In addition, according to documents acquired by Kotaku, Sony Computer Entertainment recently contacted developers with some interesting new information about the system. First of all, 4 controllers can be tracked at the same time. Developers will also be able to make use of the PlayStation Eye’s microphone to provide voice input and recognition. It will certainly be very interesting to see what uses this will have. Until Sony show this application in use, I will wait with baited breath as to whether or not voice control will provide an extra dimension to the gaming experience or just a gimmicky add-on.
The article continues with news that upon release, there will be support from a “range of first-party and third-party content” for the “casual to the core”. It is very nice to see that Sony has at least attracted a few third party developers to produce games for the system and it would seem that it will not be released with just one game to showcase the technology, but a broad spectrum of titles. This is essential for the new motion control to be the success that Sony is hoping for.
In addition, the new controllers will also support force feedback, like the current DualShock 3 and Nintendo Wii Mote currently do. Yet another, relatively small, detail that Sony failed to mention during their E3 presentation.
Finally, another rather interesting piece of information revolves around the idea that Sony are looking into using the new controllers alongside the current DualShock 3. The example given is using the “motion controller as a sword and the DualShock 3 as a shield”.
It all sounds very promising indeed, although Sony has not officially confirmed these details as yet. But all of these small details should add up to be something that I am very much looking forward to with excitement and enthusiasm. With voice control, rumble support and the possibility of using existing controllers, this provides Sony with an excellent tool to build upon and lots of new possibilities to produce original and innovative titles. Personally, I would like to see lots of small, casual games on the PlayStation Store targeted at younger people and families and then full block-buster motion control releases on BluRay.
Either way, none of this will be a success without a massive marketing push from Sony. Andrew House is from a marketing background, so let’s cross our fingers for fully fledged campaigns come spring next year. As always, be sure to check the TSA for further information as and when we hear anything.