Sony PS3 Motion Control Bundle Costs a Bundle

I’m not in Germany for GamesCom, but Sony’s big announcement from the video game trade show was a Playstation 3 bundle that includes the Playstation Move camera and motion control wand, one game and a 320 GB hard drive, for $400.

Interesting strategy. By opting for a motion control bundle with a bigger hard drive and price tag than the standard PS3 model, Sony is sending a clear message: This is motion control for the devoted gamer. Come for the roomier hard drive, stay for the fancy new peripheral that lets you play real-time strategy games on a console.

At least I hope that’s the message. After all, a $400 console is twice the price of Nintendo’s Wii, and $100 more than the Kinect Xbox 360 bundle Microsoft announced last month. Sony’s kidding itself if it thinks the occasional gamer is going to sink $400 into a game console, especially now that so many cheaper options exist.

So, hardcore gamer target audience it is, then. I don’t have a problem with that, but I’m a little confused by the bundle’s inclusion of Sports Champions, the Playstation Move’s token imitation of Wii Sports. If the intended audience doesn’t care about the Wii, why bother? R.U.S.E., a real-time strategy game that will support Move, might be a better choice, but I understand if publisher Ubisoft would rather sell the game at retail.

Again, it comes down to Sony (and Microsoft, to be fair) not having its best motion control games ready at launch. The lineup of Sony-made launch titles are decidedly casual, and games that are retrofitted to the Move, such as Resident Evil 5, are pointless to folks who are perfectly comfortable with traditional controllers. Sorcery, Sony’s most promising attempt at a full-length motion-controlled adventure, won’t launch until next year.

The Wii has already made motion control skeptics of people who spend a lot of time and money on video games. To capture their imagination again, Sony still has a lot of work to do.

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