E3 2009 was a landmark event for a number of reasons but mainly because it was at here the two big players announced they were going to enter the motion control market that Nintendo seemed to have sewn up. At the time the Kinect was called Project Natal and burst onto the scene with impressive display of its futuristic technology, eliminating the need for a controller altogether.
Sony had to respond and in what seemed like a concept they had just slapped together, the Move was born, the initial on stage display introduced the motion controller to the world and to say it underwhelming is an understatement. What seemed like little more than a Wii controller with a glowing orb attached was shown off and while the features show remained very basic, the show ended with everyone very much in the belief that it was a bit of a joke and would be little more than a brief gimmick to cash in on Nintendo’s market.
Fast forward a year to E3 2010 and gamers all over the world tuned in to see how the Project Natal had evolved into a the game changer it promised to be, already seemingly writing off the PS Move. What happened next no one expected, Microsoft rebranded the Natal and called it Kinect, they then went all out with an over the top display full of dancing, spraying water and mechanical elephants, but importantly they failed to show off anything particularly interesting on the software front. A pre-recorded demo was played with real actors attempting to jump and dodge in time with a series of party games but failing miserably. Hardcore gamers were left scratching their heads as to just what Kinect had to offer them and just what Microsoft had been working on for the last year.
Sony on the other hand had done something very different and gone away and worked on games, the controller itself had not changed much from the tech demo last year but the software had, a brand new list of games including Sorcery, Socom 4, Killzone 3 along with a ton of sports games like Tiger woods and Sports champion where shown off and of course Kevin Butler added his own personal touch. Suddenly it looked as if the laughing stock of last year’s show was now the one to keep an eye on.
After all the promises of the previous 2 years both products hit the market with a whole host of party games and to be fair neither set the world alight initially. Then in the following few months the Move controller started to gain the advantage in the software market, at first through updates for games already on the market such as Heavy Rain and Resident Evil 5. Then the brand new titles started to emerge, the Move took titles like RUSE a RTS previously impossible to play on console and made it not only playable but at times easier to use than a mouse and keyboard.
Then in February something amazing happened, Killzone 3 was released fully playable with the Move controller. Suddenly the Move had a FPS game worthy of its precision, although it still felt a little strange in your hand. In steps Zipper and Guerrilla games who had been working on a gun attachment called the Sharp shooter, a far cry from your old cheap Wii plastic add-ons. The sharpshooter was a controller in itself. Now players had a life sized gun with fully mapped buttons and a shooting experience to drool over. This was the moment the Move controller made its mark.
Rather than being a novelty add on that gives a small amount of enjoyment, the Move has the ability to take games to a whole other level, Socom hit the market to a mixed response, but using the Move instead of the controller increases the enjoyment so much so that I could forgive a lot of the faults.
The Move now boasts an impressive line-up of games as mentioned Resident Evil 5, Heavy Rain, RUSE, Killzone 3, Socom 4 have ensured that the hardcore gamer is not only catered for but his gaming experience has been enhanced by the new apparel.
Often considered a commercial flop the Move is far from it, perhaps the perception stems from the limited advertising that was done when you hold it up against the $½ billion Microsoft spend promoting the Kinect, but the Move has gone on to sell 8 million units. It’s is still selling and people every day are finding out that it really can offer you a totally new gaming experience.
Not to totally discount the Kinect it still has huge potential but if it is to appease the hardcore gaming it needs a triple A shooter and the only way it can do that is to abandon the button free concept and bring out its own version of the sharp shooter.
When you think back to those E3 promises when we thought the Move was little more than a Wii + controller and the Kinect was the future how wrong we were. While Move gamers play Killzone 3 and Ruse, Kinect gamers are still running on the spot or riding pigs in a series of little more than Wii-esque party games.