Sony PlayStation Move Controller
Sony has finally unveiled its first motion controller for the PlayStation 3 — here's what to expect when it hits the market later this year.
Sony announced an official name for its motion controller (the PlayStation Move) and released further details about it at the 2010 Game Developers Conference. The controller will be released during the 2010 holiday season and will be sold in a variety of configurations that include a game (currently thought to be Sports Champions), the PlayStation Eye and the Move controller. Full bundles will likely cost under US$100 and will work their way down from there. Sony stated that more than 20 games will support the PlayStation Move controller by 31 March 2011.
The optional Subcontroller was also announced during GDC 2010, but no price point was given. The secondary device is similar to Nintendo's Nunchuk.
Sony showed off a few games during the event, including Sports Champions, Move Party, EyePet, Motion Fighters, SOCOM 4, Little Big Planet, TV SuperStars and The Shoot. Peter Dille, SVP of marketing for SCEA, said that "virtually every major developer" is making PlayStation Move games right now.
The PlayStation Move controller communicates via Bluetooth 2.0, like the DualShock 3 and also features a Lithium-ion battery that's rechargeable via a mini-USB port. Built-in rumble provides force feedback for the Move motion controller. Sony's PlayStation Move controller can detect motion in the X,Y and Z planes, and can also detect rotation about those planes independently.
The PlayStation Move functions by using a combination of accelerometers, gyrometers and magnetometers. Sony determined that the sensors alone are not enough to accurately track movement. As a result, the lit bulb on top of the controller works in conjunction with the PlayStation Eye to help it do so.
The colours of the bulbs are activated by a combination of LEDs and are fully customisable by game developers. The colours can also change shade to help the PS Eye better track movement in case a particular room environment has similar colour schemes.
Data processing for the PlayStation Move controller is handled by the PlayStation 3's Cell processor. A single SPU handles data from the controller's sensors and images from the PS Eye. Up to four controllers can be tracked at one time. Furthermore, Sony indicated that the Cell is rather adept at image processing and does so with little memory overhead and minimal impact to overall performance.
The PS Eye's camera system generates images at 60 frames per second with a resolution of 640x480. When combined with the PlayStation Move controller and the Cell processor, the set-up can accurately measure millimetre differences in movement and is accurate enough to detect one-degree shifts in angle.
Calibration of the controllers will likely take place when a gaming session begins and according to Sony's researchers, it shouldn't take more than half a second to accomplish. Should conditions change sufficiently (for instance, if someone turns on the lights or the sun sets) in order for the set-up to accurately determine movement, gameplay will automatically stop and the player will be prompted to recalibrate the controller.
Aside from providing motion control, the PlayStation Move controller has a large analog trigger (T button) on the bottom, an extra-large action button on top, and the usual square, triangle, circle, cross and PS Home buttons.
The Subcontroller has a full D pad, an analog stick, a trigger, and X, O and PS Home buttons. Sony didn't have too much to say about the device, nor was a price point mentioned. Games like SOCOM 4 make use of the Subcontroller for walking around and other functions. Sony also confirmed that the device would be entirely optional and that the DualShock 3 controller could be used as a substitute.
The bottom of the PlayStation Move controller features two ports. The larger of the two is simply a mini-USB plug that can be used for charging. The smaller port, titled "EXT", remains a mystery. We're speculating that it will be used for controller accessories.
The Subcontroller has one port on the bottom, a mini-USB port for charging.