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Sony botch chance to get ahead of Natal

Man I love Sony but COME ON GUYS!

In a statement made earlier today head Sony honcho Kaz Hirai has this to say on the new motion technology(current guess at the name have it as ARC)  from Sony :-

“We have decided to release the Motion Controller in fall 2010 when we will be able to offer an exciting and varied line-up of software titles that will deliver the new entertainment experience to PS3 users.  We will continue to work to have a comprehensive portfolio of attractive and innovative games for the Motion Controller, not only from SCE Worldwide Studios but also from the third party developers and publishers, whom we have been working closely with.  We look forward to soon unveiling the exciting software line-up that further expands and defines the PS3 platform as the ultimate entertainment system for the home.”

In my opinion Sony are about to shoot themselves squarely in the foot.  If Microsoft’s Natal works like they say it does then it will be the next step in the evolution of interactive gaming.  Regardless of the uptake and use it will be a far superior technology – based on what we are being told by Microsoft.  Now, at first, it looked like Sony would at least get a six month drop on Microsoft allowing them to establish a user base and a good catalogue of titles using their motion system.  OK so the technology was less impressive to look at BUT this would allow them to offer a strongly supported alternative to Microsoft’s new technology.  Now they are practically going head-2-head with Natal (unless it slips) which just won’t look good in comparison articles and press.  Not to mention the the 5th coming of Halo Jesus (aka Halo Reach) will drown out a lot of noise from any other product.

Sony had the chance to pull off what Microsoft did with the console release of this generation (ie get out ahead of the competition – all be it in a slightly lesser way) but instead they have botched it completely.  Sure they will have more software support available but their adverts will show someone waving a Sony branded Wiimote-on-steroids, where as Microsoft will show impossibly well groomed and smug families using gesture and facial technology to control their movies, games and music.  If you were “Jane and Joe Public” which would you think looked the best?  Regardless of the fact they both might be useless for most “real” games (seriously how long can you hold your arms out playing Burnout without fatigue setting in?) the mainstream press will compare the PS3 motion controller (aka glow stick and ball!) to the Wiimote but the Microsoft Natal system will be an all new wondrous achievement – even though 70% of what Natal is doing can be done with an EyeToy camera on a PS2 back in 2004.

It just erks me that this has happened.  Sure if the Sony motion stuff is not ready then it can’t be helped but it looks like SCE are about to plough more money in to something that people just won’t want.  Retailers are already building a backlash against the slew of piss poor shovelware mini-games appearing on the Wii as they are just clogging up their shelves.  It won’t be a whole lot different with the content coming to the PS3 and consumers are becoming increasingly bored of the whole “Wii phenomenon”.

The applicability of motion control and full body control within more mainstream gaming is a whole other subject that we won’t broach here fully.  Everyone has their own views on the use of this technology (much like the division on the current 3D craze).  For my part I can count on one hand the games that I have played that actually benefited from motion control (Boom Blox, Wii Sports Resort, Super Mario Galaxy, Tiger Woods 10, Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, EyePet etc) so my interest is far from piqued.  Let us know your thoughts in the comments and head to the forums to hurl more abuse my way – or maybe to even be nice… I’m sure it will happen one day.

About Zeth

Zeth is our EU Senior Editor and has been writing about video games since he joined BG back in 2008. He's pretty old and has been a gamer since he played Space Invaders as a young boy in the 80's. His genre tastes lean towards platformers, point-and-click adventure, action-adventure and shooters but he'll turn his hand to anything.

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