It's not uncommon for game retailers to get new products a day or two early and keep them stored away until launch. That makes Sony's approach with the Playstation Move motion controller all the more refreshing.
With retailers getting the Move ahead of the official September 19 launch date, Sony gave the green light to start sales Friday. This may not make for the cleanest launch -- Sony spokesman Al De Leon told MSNBC that the Move should be in stock at retailers nationwide, "for the most part" -- but at least people who are anxious to get a Move can spend the whole weekend with it.
I'm not reviewing the Move, but the journalists who have are mostly pleased with the technology, as they should be. Four years has passed since Nintendo introduced the Wii, so I would think motion control had enough time to properly mature beyond a rudimentary set of accelerometers with an infrared pointer. And most critics are praising Sports Champions, the Move's pack-in game, as a step up from Wii Sports and its enhanced sequel, Wii Sports Resort.
But I think these reviews will have little bearing on the Move's success or failure. Even with perfect technology, the Playstation Move, and for that matter Microsoft's Kinect for Xbox 360, are not necessarily more attractive products than the Wii. They have the initial burden of being peripherals, rather than core parts of the console, and they must compete against a Wii games line-up that is four years in the making. Price is a concern particularly for the Move, which costs $100 at minimum, but another $80 for the full experience (some games require an extra wand, at $50, or another accessory with a thumbstick, at $30). And that's just for one player.
I'm not a motion control naysayer. My Wii library has plenty of memorable games that execute the concept brilliantly, including Trauma Center, WarioWare, and Bit.Trip Beat. Though I gravitate towards the joystick, motion controls have great potential, and the Wii only scratched the surface. For that reason, I hope the Playstation Move succeeds, but it's not going to be easy.
This story, "Playstation Move Arrives" was originally published by Technologizer.