Delayed PS3 Motion Controller Helps Microsoft, Saves Sony?

PlayStation Motion Control

Sony's PlayStation 3 motion controller isn't quite ready for the limelight, so the company says it'll bump the release date back two quarters. That's the takeaway from Sony's late-last-night press announcement that its ballyhooed motion-sensing peripheral would be delayed from spring back to fall 2010.

The downside? Sony scotches its headstart over Microsoft's motion-control alternative, Project Natal.

The more important upside? Sony hypothetically comes off the block stronger, instead of launching with a trickle-flow of software that might be less polished or tantalizing, subsequently vulnerable to months of critical nitpicking, and lacking the sense of "Hey, it's new!" freshness perhaps necessary to properly slug it out with Microsoft's radically different 'no-controller' angle during the holiday sales frenzy.

Yes, the Sony Motion Controller really was scheduled for a spring 2010 release. I interviewed the peripheral's creative lead Dr. Richard Marks (also of Eye Toy and PlayStation Eye fame) last July, and he confirmed then that the controller would be available to consumers sometime second quarter 2010. Microsoft's Project Natal by comparison was estimated to ship in fall 2010 late last year, a timeframe recently confirmed by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer at the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas.

Sony's rationale for the delay? According to a Tokyo-based spokesperson, it's not because development of either the controller or the software is late, but to ensure a broad selection of compatible software (not just new games, in other words). Unlike Microsoft's Natal, which only works with natively tailored games, Sony plans to let you interact with existing titles using the new control system.

Who knows if that means we'll be swinging our arms to perform dual-hidden-blade multi-stabs in Assassin's Creed 2 or just spinning laps with virtual wheels in Gran Turismo 5 Prologue, but if Sony's bearish enough to bump the peripheral's release back two quarters, you can bet the decision--and whatever cumulatively prompted it--was no small thing.

Poll time.

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