PlayStation Move Owners Had Best Prepare For Shovelware

By Adam Ma on July 20, 2010, 4:03PM EDT

It's taken a while for Sony and Microsoft to jump on the ship, but this holiday season PS3 and 360 owners finally get to get their share of motion-sensor action. But while new peripherals are generally things to get a little excited about, it's hard to really be pumped up for Move or Kinect. Looking at past and present Wii games, it's pretty easy to see how these new motion-control platforms may take the same route: a wave of uninspired, gimmicky, boring games trying to play off the limited success of a few select Wii titles. Kinect sits in a unique situation due to the 'no controller' requirement, but anyone looking to own a PlayStation Move may want reconsider. At least until the first wave of imitation Wii games have been announced.

Most companies are already working hard to start generating the same sort of shovelware that has filled the Wii, and whether or not Sony plans on keeping these games in check is in question. It's safe to assume either way, that the quality of these games is going to be somewhat questionable. It took a while for the Wii to really perfect the motion-control equation, and even today there are a lot of games which sit on shaky ground. Motion-control technology hasn't really reached a stage in its life cycle beyond discovery, and most developers just aren't willing to take the necessary risks.

Ubisoft's re-release of Racquet Sports is a fantastic example of this, as Gaming Union's preview of the current game build shows that existing motion-control systems aren't even compatible. Not only that, but having to constantly work on recalibration mid game when Move is only a few months away from launch is a little disconcerting. This may not be the case for games designed by Sony themselves, but third party support is going to be just as important to Move as games from Sony's first party studios.

I'm not the only one with these concerns either. BioWare has recently expressed similar concerns, stating that "Phase one of [motion sensor technology] is the dancing, fitness and party games, the sword-swinging games. The next phase is where it gets really interesting..." This isn't to say that Sony's Move has no promise, just at this point in time the quality of some games released is guaranteed to be low. There are only so many gimmick games that people will buy before the market is completely saturated.

The whole situation is vaguely reminiscent of the Wii's initial launch, a few stellar titles amidst a wave of relatively uninspired games.

Unfortunately for Sony most people are very aware of how little usage their Wii is getting in the long run, and current PlayStation 3 owners have most likely avoided the whole motion-control concept for a reason. Even current games on the PlayStation offer limited opportunities to use the Sixaxis, and those games must work hard to prove that their controls offer a degree of functionality that is beyond 'neat'.

Overall knowing who exactly Move is set to target and how aggressively Sony wants to regain their slice of the family market, it's safe to expect they'll make some of the same mistakes Nintendo has. For example, having a line-up of reasonably interesting launch games, followed by absolutely no mention of a real plan for Move's future. Limited support across some games isn't enough to secure a real reason to invest in Move, and knowing that, it's difficult enough to apply Sixaxis controller support to a game, having developers to take into account Move controls may be asking for too much. The result could be a lot of poorly designed, uninspired 'shovelware' games; and unless Sony does something big it could be all Move owners have to look forward to for a long time.

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