“Move”? “3D”? What is Sony doing?

image Recently, there’s been a fair amount of talk around Sony’s Playstation MOVE controller as well as their vocal support of 3D technology.  

PRECISION MOTION CONTROL + AUGMENTED REALITY = “WII MOTION PLUS… with a LIGHT BULB & A CAMERA?”
Based on the demos being done, the MOVE appears to be basically a Wiimote with optical precision around the location of the controller along with the ability to  represent the player’s image in the virtual universe.

Effectively, the benefit of the MOVE controller is that the PS3 knows precisely where your controller is in relation to your body so it’s able to provide an in-game experience by not only allowing you to interact with a game based on the position of the MOVE controller, but also place your body in the game and put objects in your hand based on the controller’s position.  This is often referred to as “augmented reality”.

…I’m sorry but I don’t consider this to be “game-changing” or very innovative.  It’s like a Sony version of the Wii Motion Plus – all of which has been done by Nintendo, with the exception of the globe for more accurate positioning & the incorporation of the Eye toy, which again, is nothing more than a camera. 
And augmented reality is not something that’s taken the market by storm despite its existence for several years now.  It hasn’t grabbed the world’s attention because it’s not really that exciting beyond the initial demonstration.  Perhaps there are simply scenarios that I haven’t recognized yet that might be exciting… but I’ve seen no practical evidence that would change my mind either.

————–

3D TV + HDMI 1.4 + 3D GLASSES + 3D CONSOLE GAMES = “NOT PAYING FOR ANY OF THIS”
At CES2010 this year, it was revealed that Sony is making a huge investment in 3D technology, particularly with regard to games.  This technology does 4 things: 

  1. RENDER TWO IMAGES:  Within a 3D video game, the console must render not one but two video image feeds of the same viewpoint then delivers them both simultaneously over the video port.  This likely requires twice as much GPU computational power to accomplish and twice as much video memory to generate.
  2. 3D-ENABLED PORT:  Both images are delivered to the video display using a new standard known as HDMI 1.4 to display equipment.  Standard Component Video cabling is not enough, much less lesser connective technologies.
  3. 3D TV or 3D INTERPRETIVE BOX REQUIRED:  The 3D image(s) must be delivered over HDMI 1.4 to something that can consume both video feeds for the left & right eyes.  This is predicted to be NEW TV displays, which you will see advertised as “3D TVs”.  Alternatively, one can buy a 3D ‘box’ which will consume the HDMI 1.4 3D feed and deliver them to an older non-3D capable TV.
  4. GLASSES REQUIRED:  One must be wearing 3D glasses that separates the two images displayed and isolates each feed to each eye, in order to view this image in 3D.

This is the equipment necessary in order for conventional users to play 3D games.  Obviously it requires a fairly significant investment on the part of the consumer – having to buy special 3D enabled games & 3D enabled TVs/display boxes.  This is one of the reasons that consumer electronics vendors – LIKE SONY – are so giddy about the potential of 3D technology:  It requires people to buy new TVs and/or new technology and that means new revenue for those folks.

…I think it should be obvious that I think this is all a giant ‘head shaker’.  Anyone that’s seen the 3D technology on parade at CES over the past few years knows that it’s not much of a paradigm shift, met with a lot of ‘ho hum’ by traditional consumers at the shows.  The experience isn’t very immersive because it just isn’t very natural.  I could be completely wrong on all of this but 3D doesn’t specifically make games more interesting because while stuff ‘flies out at you’ while you play, nothing you the player does naturally affects this 3D experience.

I might see a first person image (like playing Halo or Killzone 2) in 3D however if I change my own personal position relative to the TV it doesn’t change the viewpoint of the image on the screen.  If I have to change my point of view using the thumbs on my GAME CONTROLLER… that’s just lame.  The 3D experience still translates as fake in my brain and registers as non-immersive.  Ask anyone that’s played “Avatar – the Video Game” in 3D.

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