Tuesday, 18 May 2010 19:37

Sony: Hands on with Move and PlayStation 3D gaming

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Sony announced a video download service for the Australian market today in Sydney, but they also gave a select few (including myself) the chance to try out the new motion controller, and check out Sony's PS3 based 3D gaming.


Without doubt, for content starved Australians, the highlight of today's press event was the announcement of the PlayStation Network Video Delivery Service, delivering movies into households - something Microsoft's Xbox 360 has been doing for a number of months, but it is good to have competition, and Sony is certainly stepping up heat in this area.

At the press event today, Michael Ephraim, Managing Director of Sony Computer Entertainment Australia and New Zealand spoke about the rise of the PlayStation 3 since the introduction of the Slim model, importantly at a new price point.  According to Ephraim, since that September 9th 2009 point in time, the PS3 has seen the highest unit increase in the gaming console industry.  These figures were boosted by the give-away promotions such as the Bravia TV deals done during this period.

With 853,000 PS3's now in the Australian market, 60 percent connected to the PlayStation Network, the local Sony arm was able to swing being part of the second wave rollout of the movies on demand feature already available in North America.

The other playthings on show at todays launch included Sony's entrant in the motion controller world, the PlayStation Move.  In conjunction with the PlayStation Eye I got a chance to try out the PlayStation Move motion controller with a couple of titles.

The archery demo used two Move's, one for putting behind the head, to take an arrow, one to represent the bow, and with a drawback action and releasing the trigger, watching the arrow fly.  Graphically this looked great, and the feeling was accurate and worked well in the demo.

The other game used a single Move controller only - I did not see the third component, the Sidekick at the demonstration.  In this game I got the chance to swat bugs on the screen, with my hand (holding the Move) turned into a tennis racquet.  

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This game highlighted the slight lag between actions and on-screen reaction, Sony says this is 22 ms, and it is a little noticeable.  On the plus side however the accuracy of movement puts this motion controller above the Wii experience.

Twisting the wrist shows an impressive corresponding flick of the faux tennis racquet, but the game itself was a little underwhelming, it was a tech demo more than anything.  Mention should also be made of the rumble feature in the Move, it feels more buzzy than I expected.

The Move demo was impressive overall, and the software on display has more work to be done before release.

Ephraim says; 'PlayStation Move launches in Australia later this year, and will provide a high definition games experience like no other.  It puts you right at the centre of the entertainment action; with unmatched accuracy, speed and precision provided through the unique interaction of the motion controllers and the PlayStation Eye camera.  A broad range of titles are in the pipeline that will appeal to every genre and taste plus it's fun and it's social'

Donning a lightweight pair for active shutter 3D glasses, I had a go at Sony's 3D gaming experience.  Whilst the patched version of MotorStorm on display was initially pretty impressive fun.  But whether it was the lighting or the pre-3D enabled Bravias it was soon apparent there is a little work to do.  The HUD display was too ghostly and the image not as clear as one would expect.

The PlayStation arm of Sony is waiting on the TV division to announce a release date for 3D enabled panels.  While the PlayStation 3 is game ready for 3D, with new titles, plus promised patches for existing titles to allow gamers to move dimension, it won't be until the TV announcement before the PS3 gets the firmware upgrade to enable 3D Blu-ray fun.  Upgradability does set the PS3 as a Blu-Ray player apart from most of the competition.

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Mike Bantick

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Having failed to grow up Bantick continues to pursue his childish passions for creative writing, interactive entertainment and showing-off through adulthood. In 1994 Bantick began doing radio at Melbourne’s 102.7 3RRRFM, in 1997 transferring to become a core member of the technology show Byte Into It. In 2003 he wrote briefly for The Age newspaper’s Green Guide, providing video game reviews. In 2004 Bantick wrote the news section of PC GameZone magazine. Since 2006 Bantick has provided gaming and tech lifestyle stories for iTWire.com, including interviews and opinion in the RadioactivIT section.

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