E3 2009: Sony demos PS3 motion-sensitive controller
The prototype PS3 controller is able to track precise movements, and even recognise the speed and power of gestures.
Sony’s controller uses a PlayStation Eye camera to communicate with the controller, which has a glowing sphere on the end that the camera uses to triangulate the position and movement of the wand. The controller was demonstrated as Sony unveiled its forthcoming line-up of video games at E3 2009.
It also features buttons which can double as a trigger, to turn the wand in to a virtual weapon, and internal motion sensors which give it the ability to track movements to an accuracy of within 7mm.
“Motion-control gaming has been a phenomenon over the last few years,” said Jack Tretton, president of Sony Computer Entertainment of America. “This technology will continue to grow in many ways. We’re trying to create an experience which is much closer to real life than anything you’ve ever seen.”
The engineers behind the motion-control project said they had been working on the interface technology for several years, and hoped the device would bring a new set of experience to PlayStation 3 games.
In a demonstration of the prototype wand, an engineer was able to wield a sword, shoot a gun and fire arrows at enemies. Sony emphasised that the wand wouldn’t just be useful for more fun, casual games, but would also provide a “fantastic” experience for hardcore gamers who enjoy first-person shooters or driving games.
Sony gave no indication of when the wand would be commercially available, but the demonstration comes just a day after Microsoft revealed its own motion-control technology, codenamed Project Natal.
Microsoft’s system requires no controller at all, and instead uses a camera to map the movements of players on-screen.
Both Sony and Microsoft are keen to appeal to a more casual audience of gamers, who have previously been attracted to Nintendo’s Wii console, which uses a motion-sensitive controller. Nintendo said it had sold more than 50 million Wiis worldwide since its launch in 2006.