No surprises there, we're still reporting on rumoured names here in the PushSquare office, and aside from that very impressive E3 tech-demo, we have nothing at all to go on. But what effect will that delay have on Sony's new hardware? More time will ensure better prepared technology and a stronger line-up of games, but in the same time-frame as Natal, should Sony worry about the Microsoft marketing machine?
The Playstation Motion Controller was announced in a rush last Summer, probably in response to Microsoft's Natal technology. Thus, it was somewhat of a surprise to hear Sony talk about early 2010 launch dates. Since then though, aside from some simplistic demos at TGS, Sony has remained very tight-lipped about the peripheral, and it's no surprise to see it move back into Fall 2010. While it's possible we'll see some of the controller at this year's GDC, I reckon Sony will hold the big announcements until E3.
With such a huge pool of development resources, it's likely the Playstation Motion Controller will launch with a host of software. The delay will only enhance that. I assume that Studio London, Japan Studio and thatgamecompany are all working on the Playstation Motion Controller titles right now, with third-parties such as EA and Ubisoft in on the action (EA Sports Active and Grand Slam Tennis, please). A delay will only strengthen the launch line-up.
The delay also means Sony can tune the hardware. At TGS Sony showed the peripheral being used with half a Dualshock; not exactly the most pretty of combinations. Sure that lets Sony get the device out for cheaper (without the need for a nunchuck device), but it still sounds tacky to me. I wrote a while back that I thought the best method for the control scheme was to bundle two motion controllers as standard; allowing multiplayer out of the box for some games, but also ensuring all adopters could take advantage of a dual-wand control scheme. With a delay, it gives Sony the opportunity to better consider that option, and most importantly get the price down; something they'll have to do if they want the peripheral to be a success.
Most concerning for Sony though is that Microsoft's Natal control set-up is due to launch in a similar period as Playstation Motion Controller. Based on tech-demos that have been publicly shown, we really don't believe there's anything Sony should be worried about; their in-house development team is much stronger than Microsoft's and the potential usage videos of Natal have been weak at best. However, the Microsoft marketing team is as powerful as ever. Despite the device showing barely anything of worth yet, Microsoft has already made the Playstation Motion Controller look non-existent — a device which was praised moments after a very, very impressive E3 showing before disappearing. To be fair, despite showing much more than their competitors, Sony's still been pretty quiet about hyping up their Playstation Motion Controller; perhaps showing a confidence in their product that suggests, "When you see it, you'll be excited." But Project Natal does have heavy amounts of hype behind it. So should Sony be worried?
I think moving the controller into the same region of Natal suggests they're not. The initial announcement of a Spring release date suggested Sony wanted to beat Microsoft to it, but the delay indicates that the peripheral requires more care and attention than a rushed release may offer. Only those behind doors know exactly what Sony are cooking for the controller, but we'd imagine they know they have something pretty strong. After-all, Sony fiddled with devices similar to Natal and decided the implementation for the device wasn't there. They know the technology just aswell as Microsoft.
I'd hazard the Playstation Motion Controller delay is a message: Sony aren't scared of Natal; perhaps Natal should be scared of Sony?
Twiggy is an anonymous PushSquare columnist who has been spotted in three major cities across the globe. Its rumoured hes on the run from the British monarchy who accused him of treason.
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