PS3 Wand: Put it away, Sony!

Crit Eye1

We’re finding it hard to get excited about the PS3 ‘Wand’.

The device itself has the appearance of a chunky microphone with a neon coloured top, making it look like a cross between a raver’s glostick and a pervert’s sex toy. That’s not so much a problem for us. We care about how the thing is used, not how it looks; and besides, what we’re talking about here is a prototype, which could theoretically differ almost completely aesthetically from the final product. So no, the laughable look of the thing isn’t what’s dampening our enthusiasm.

What is, is that it’s basically just a Wii remote wearing an unconvincing moustache.

This presents something of a problem to Sony fanboys. Forum crawlers who previously spent hours typing badly spelled criticism of the Wii and its control system, now find that one of the ‘proper’ (sigh) consoles is to embrace the idea of a handheld motion sensing stick. Insecure people with an unhealthy attachment to their PS3 are now saying a) that Sony will show Nintendo how motion sensing ought to be done, or b) that Sony have betrayed them by following Nintendo’s lead. Of course, the issue is much more complicated than either of these ideas.

The Wand was demonstrated at E3 (as seen in the video above) by a chap named Anton. The Wand that he was holding was transformed into various objects such as a tennis racquet and a stop sign on – screen in the tech demo. Despite the fact that Anton would have spent hours practising with the hardware and software prior to appearing on stage, he missed the virtual ball he was supposed to be hitting time after time after time. This despite the comedy sizes of both the ball and whatever he was using to hit it at the time. Whether this was down to technical issues or Anton’s incompetence was unclear; but it certainly didn’t get the demo off to a particularly impressive start.

Nonetheless, the demo’s audience gave the demo and the man demonstrating it almost constant, and completely unwarranted, laughter and/or applause. You might be mistaken for thinking that the footage we’ve posted here has had the soundtrack from a Big Brother eviction night, or possibly one of Hitler’s rallies, spliced into it. Sycophancy? Sony plants? Sitcom audience mentality? We’ll probably never know.

There was also a Sony minion narrating the demo, who at one point waxed lyrical about the Wand’s 1:1 movement. “You’ve never seen this before” he whooped. Erm, maybe he hasn’t, but we’ve seen the Wii MotionPlus. 1:1 motion tracking will be old news by the time the Wand makes it into stores; but kudos to Sony for ensuring this level of accuracy will be available straight out of the box.

This is Anton. Hello Anton!

This is Anton. Hello Anton!

The second part of the video is the slightly more interesting one, where our good friend Anton wielded two Wands at once to use a sword and shield, and then bow and arrow, on – screen. He seemed to genuinely be having fun, which is what video games are (or at least should be) all about. The problem is, all the ideas for the Wand shown at E3 have already been used in Wii games. It’s nothing new. In addition, there are several problems Sony will face that Nintendo don’t, that nobody seems willing to discuss.

|First of all, there’s the problem that Nintendo have been there first, which we’ve emphasised quite enough already. Secondly, there’s the issue of cost. The Wand is tracked by the Playstation Eye, which means you have to buy two pieces of kit in order to be able to play Wand only games. And of course, if some games require two Wands per player (on the Wii, the cheaper Nunchuk usually plays the role of a second remote), the prospective cost to the consumer goes up still more. This problem could be easily sidestepped by making the Wand and the camera incredibly cheap, but come on people – it ain’t gonna happen

The camera’s tracking of the Wand presents another potential problem. Many gamers like to sit close (too close sometimes, like us) to the TV while they play. Though it may be hard for those too scared to play a Wii game to believe, we’ve never come across a Wii title that couldn’t be played just a short distance from the TV. Will the Playstation Eye’s small lens, in comparison to the Wii’s wide sensor bar, mean gamers will have to sit or stand further from the TV than they’re comfortable with? Time will tell. It’s not healthy to play too close to the screen, which may end up being Sony’s primary defence against criticism if this becomes an issue.

A big question is: who, exactly, will actually buy a PS3 Wand? Some fanboys will throw their money at Sony every time they release so much as a new replacement game case. Others will never touch the Wand with a barge pole, their existing anti – Nintendo prejudices having now put them off the idea of a motion sensing controller forever. Less idiotic PS3 owners will now be carefully watching what games are announced for the thing , and this is of course very much the dark horse of the whole business. The only thing anyone can confidently predict is a tidal wave of mindless mini game collections, designed to milk the casual gamer cash cow. But how many casual gamers own a PS3? Not many at all, judging by the relatively small selection of such games currently available for Sony’s latest console. When the Wand is released, there will still be the standard Wii set available at £180 or less, offering them everything they need to start playing in the box (though they’ll need to buy another remote to play with somebody else, and at least one nunchuk to play boxing). The standard PS3 set will almost certainly be more expensive, plus they’ll need to buy a Playstation Eye, at least one Wand, and a game.

We’ve doubtless come across as a group of grumpy old men who take great pleasure in breaking children’s legs with their walking sticks. Nonetheless, we do believe that the PS3 Wand gives cause for optimism. Despite its worldwide dominance of the video games market, the Wii doesn’t enjoy a huge library of games developed by western companies. If western developers tend to prefer making games for ‘hardcore’ gamers, then perhaps the Wand will encourage them to explore motion sensing. More developers could mean we start seeing this control method used in ways we’d never thought of. This, combined with the new found wiggle waggle control competition, should poke Nintendo into action, once again putting time and energy into exciting new IPs. Meanwhile, this theoretical competition between Sony and Nintendo would hopefully encourage Microsoft to distinguish themselves as the console manufacturer with the most new and exciting joypad based games.

It does though, doesnt it?
It does though, doesn’t it?

That’s a helluva lot of ifs and buts. With only one demonstration to go on – live, but carefully choreographed – it’s far too early to make a judgement of any value on the PS3 Wand. What we certainly can say however, is that the E3 presentation didn’t promise enough to make us want one.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Written by Luke K

Luke plays lots of videogames, now and again stopping to write about them. He's the editor in chief at Critical Gamer, which fools him into thinking his life has some kind of value. Chances are, if you pick up a copy of the latest Official PlayStation Magazine or GamesMaster, you'll find something he's written in there. Luke doesn't have a short temper. If you suggest otherwise, he will punch you in the face.

33 comments

  1. That Anton guy is clearly Danny Dyer!

  2. I enjoy playing the wii for short periods when at my relatives, but no where near enough to actually buy one. If htis is wii like I get to play Wii games, if it isnt then sony will have done a great job and incorporated the controller into some of their games. Although I doubt many 3rd parties will. 🙁

    Plus I’ll be able to buy it without shame “oh its for my 7 year old brother”

  3. KrazyFace /

    The control system on Zelda wasn’t perfect but it kinda worked. On Metriod however, wow. It’s by this standard and in these genres I think Sony should be looking to ventre into if they feel they need to get on the wiggly-waggly bandwagon.

    I’d look forward to a game in the vein of Oblivion if these controls were properly implemented, here’s hoping that they manage to stay away from the dreaded mini-game shovel ware wave that suffocated the Wii.

  4. Mindbendo /

    2010 is packed with exclusive PS3 games, so I don’t mind Sony to invest time and money in good motion controls. Seeing the size of Sony Wordwide Studio’s and the capabilties of the PS3 I’m convinced they will create really cool, mature games using the wand(s), not just mini&partygames. Yep, I for one can see myself wearing 3D glasses dodging zombies with a chainsaw in one hand and a Seperator in the other. Oh, the possibilitiez=)

  5. Mindbendo /

    What’s wrong with you people anyway? By the end of next year there will be ONE reliable Blu ray equiped HD gameconsole offering motion control, 3D gaming & free online, backed by a large group of proven gamedevelopers…and all you can say is ‘meh’? For 299,- (plus a whole lot more) that has the potential to become AWESOME! Might as well change it to negative gamer, I’ll be sure to check on your Natal coverage, which I happen to like too by the way. Because it may provide good games, couldn’t care less if it’s new or original, although I’m not sure if nót holding something will work. I think I’ll prefer a wand or two, and I know I prefer my G25 wheel.

  6. Jeez guys, you complain about the appearance of the Sony Motion Controller yet fail to do your research properly – it’s a prototype!

    The final product won’t look like that, this article is trolling more than anything…

  7. dylantalon /

    the writer of this article is clearly an idiot. sony ps3s wand shows 1:1 motion tracking with ultimate precision in 2d and 3d space which the wii mote cant do. if you know about the wii mote and think it’s better, youre a fool..

    xbl/psn- dylantalon

  8. So what about Natal? Basicly it’s just a Eyetoy wearing an unconvincing moustache.

  9. koga_hiroyuki /

    The WiiMotion + is not true 1:1 motion. The Wii motion plus moves in every direction, but it is markably slower than the wand. The precision of the wand is much greater which you will see if you compare the two.

    The PSEye can actually see the whole room despite its smallness also better than the Wii sensor bar. The Eye also has voice recognition and is much sharper than the Wii’s motion sensing tech. Take these reasons and add HD gaming and you get a better motion controller.

    Take my word, I was furious when they first announced the wand, with the slow awkward talking at first… but when I have seen it more times its actually not so bad at all. But they really need to have a major good game for the Wand at launch. Its not likely it will sell so much.

  10. It looks like that so it works like that! I love the way people get all excited by Natal when its precision can only handle buckets of paint being thrown at a canvas when this can go sub-pixel!

    I think that both are deemed to be small time ideas but Microsoft stands the strongest chance at success because they will do all the right marketing to make sure of it (and Americans are programed from birth to keep it in the family)

    This article will only get hits from mainly fanboys who are broke and have already chosen their ‘allience’ (lol) with their favorite piece of plastic so this really serves no sales potential and has been added to my blocked sites list. One hit wonder then…

  11. complain about natal instead

  12. ImeanIt /

    This site serious?

    theres been one showing of the thing and, sony should put it away? because of these stupid reasons?

    Obviously your not a sony fan, I really hope your “Natal, Microsoft put it away” article is coming, as its just a wii,mote, without the controller, same as anything anyone makes is like something else with/without “insert innovative idea”.

    This article has massive fail written all over it

  13. What I want to know is – why on earth do you label people who use vibrators as ‘perverts’?

    How old are you, 12?

    There is not an adult female out there that doesn’t own a rampant rabbit.

  14. The Wii motion plus needs to be recalibrated every so often and tends to lose it’s accuracy overtime. The PS3’s EYEWands will not because it uses a light and camera to track. So you are visible at all times, even in low light conditions and it’s always accurate, more so than the Wii Motion+. Sony’s only mistake is not to bundle two controllers together as a standard so developers make games using both. Having one is far more limited than the Wiimote & nunchuck. Hardcore games will require both to really work… Sure it’ll be more expensive but it’s better in the long run… and since when has a more expensive price ever stopped Sony? Having two controllers as standard lets us utilize both in one game or even allow 2 player casual games that use one each.

  15. The wand is really not much different then the Wii remote in size and shape, and i don’t hear anyone complaining about it. In addition, i’d rather have some form of controller in my hand, then just be waving my arms at my TV like an idiot. *cough* Natal *cough*

    Long story short, get over it. I didn’t read your whole article because the entire thing just comes across as a jab at Sony by a Microsoft fanboy.

  16. RuddigerPez /

    So obviously you’ve never used Wii Motion Plus. It’s still not 1:1 and its still not accurate. Either you have games like Tiger Woods 10 which shows a delay in the motion or you have Wii Sports Resort which needs to recalibrate every 10 minutes to be accurate and if you move the controller too fast it just comes unglued again. Nintendo hasn’t been able to improve on the controls seen in the original Wii Sports, and no other developer has either, despite motion plus. So I’d say either Sony or Microsoft get a win if they just create something that works as promised. But until then, of course, I’m not stupid enough to wager much more of an opinion about hardware that hasn’t even been released yet. I mean, that would be truly idiotic. I don’t know if there is anyone out there that stupid. Seriously, you’d have to be a real moron to do that. Do you get my point?

  17. Matthew /

    The “sensor” bar for a wii isnt a sensor bar. It does nothing but emit infer-red light. You dont even need it. You can use two candles instead. The wiimote is where the sensor is, transfering the possition of the player and the wiimote to the wii by bluetooth (correct me if its not by bluetooth). Research goes along way. The wand emits a frequency of light that the ps eye can pick up and track to the mm. It can pic up multiple wands whereas the wiimote cant pickup one, three or more infer red lights. One isnt enough to determine the possition of the tv to the remote, and three is too much and will confuse the wiimote. If the technologies were the same ( which they basically are but not to the point where claimed. (a camera pics up light, magic happens, stuff happens on the screen corresponding to the light.)) then nintendo would have made millions off of sony, and sony wouldn’t have been able to patent the wand.

  18. “it’s far too early to make a judgement of any value on the PS3 Wand.”

    then y did u write this stupid article in the first place… wait till they release it then u can write about the dam thing

  19. Crybabies in here need to STFU, Jesus Christ.

    Every piece critical of the PS3 you morons show that you truly are the biggest butt-hurt loser fans of all consoles.

  20. The wand is an engineering prototype, which you will know if you bothered to listen to what Richard Marks said in the video. Wait until you see the retail design, cost and games before you start ranting on about how awful it is.

    PS Mark (above), yeah right, because XBots never ever complain about criticism of their chosen platform. Get the f**k out of here you troll.

  21. Interesting…

    Maybe mixed with the polarized 3D goggles that they are going to release, the wand will make it a rather IMMERSIVE gaming experince…

    Too bad Natal will be better! OH! BAM! OUCH! STOP HITTING ME! OOOOWWWW!!!

  22. You do realize Wii Motion Plus isn’t really 1:1, right? Watch any video of it and you will see that it isn’t as close to what Sony showed off with this demo.

  23. KrazyFace /

    Holy Sweaty Man Boobs Fanboi-Man! I came back to see what people have said on this thing, and all there is is a bunch of sad, little boys going ” How DARE you speculate in an article” and “Just you wait Mr.Writer man, Sony’s gonna kick your M$ lovin’ azz”

    Please boys, grow up. Oh, and to the tool who thinks every woman on the plannet owns a vibrator: Maybe you should go learn how to really please a woman cause if every woman you’ve met needs a vibrator, YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG!

  24. Patrick G /

    Imagine that a journalist isn’t aloud to speculate, look at all the hate from the sony defense force what a bunch of ignored children that can’t take criticism.

  25. I shan’t waste precious seconds of my life pointing out the many inaccuracies in the vitriolic comments posted here and on N4G.

    I’ll just say, thank you very much everyone for the hits, you’ve done us all a huge favour. Please come again!

  26. how did i know that was going to be the number 1 complaint.
    “it looks like a sex toy”
    ITS A FREAKING PROTOTYPE CHRIST!
    do you really thing the eyetoy or the playstation eye looked how they do now when in prototype mode?
    christ!
    and looks are not everything, ive learned that over the years.
    i use to buy things that looked cool and boy did i regret that.
    i bought the motorola V3 because it looked cool, had so many problems it was the WORST! phone i ever owned.
    i bought a asus laptop because it looks sleek and cool, boy was that a mistake it runs hotter than a freaking boiler. its a laptop meaning it sits on the top of your lap….. well not unless you want your legs burned even through a blanket and thick pants it still burns my legs.
    ive replaced the screen 4 times due to dead pixels the power supply has blown on me causing the freaking DC port at the back of the laptop to start smoking.
    i bought a custom made case for my PC over a Antec one because it was cheaper and better looking, boy was that a mistake it uses more bloody power than my whole house and is constantly overheating.
    see my point?
    1 looks are not everything, as long as it works, does what it promises and is reliable it can look like a bloody donkey d**k for all i care.
    2 good looking things are normally good looking to overcome their cheap crappy design.
    the PS3 slim is one UGLY ^%$#%$^%$# but its the best purchase i have ever made, extremely quie,t small and runs so cool its unbelievable.
    not to mention natal is no Jessica Simpson

  27. and you sir obviously have done no research wii motion plus is NO WHERE NEAR 1:1.
    even natal suffers from lag, anyone want to see what the bottom of a avatars shoe looks like BAM!
    yes bam indeed the avatar completely had a spaz attack.
    i dont like any of the motion controllers, i want games to stay the way they are with original normal good old controllers, none of this waving your arms around like a escaped mental patient.
    i guess its ok if they keep this to the casual games or have a option for motion or normal, but than the big 3 are wasting money on that instead of games i want to play.
    example sony stopped development of 8 days and the getaway for eyepet, 2 games i would kill for got canned for a motion controller game?
    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!

  28. Truth hurts James, get over it. You losers couldn’t even stop crying when G4 gave Killzone 2 5/5, PATHETIC.

    I play my PS3 a more than most fanboys, you tards make me laugh.

  29. Just a few things: Firstly in my oppinion a sign of a good artical is one that gets everyone talking and has got content that not everyone agrees with but everyone reads. I think we can all safely say job well done.

    Secondly anyone that thinks this is a biased artical writen by a 360 fan boy then they sould read the anti natel clinic artical by the same person befor making a comment.

    Thirdly put your hands up if your a PS3 fan that said the Wii was nothing but a gimick and motion controls was a fad for kids and grannies.

    and finaly if you’re a PS3 fan and you can’t handle critisisum then i suggest you get used to it because i think there is a lot more to come.

    I can’t say that i agreed with everything in this artical but i do think it was very well writen and this one oppinion was put across very well so for that thank you i can’t ask for anything more i will deffinatly be back to check out other articals on this site.

  30. Very funny. You will not point them out, you will just remove them. It is hilarious that my previous comment was removed. I guess it just does not feel good to be a hyprocrite! Next time you write an article and point out that people spell incorrectly, please, please use your spell checker before you post your nonsense. Thank you. P.S. You obviously did no research before you wrote this. You are welcome for the hits, it still will not save you from being an idiot.

    YOUR PREVIOUS COMMENT WAS REMOVED FOR OFFENSIVE MATERIAL.

  31. ^ Of course they can’t handle criticism, they’ve been on the defensive since “$599 US Dollars” 3 years ago, LMAO.

    All they read was the title.

  32. wow know I know why the call it n4g and not News for gamers like its ment to be called. You guys cant read….

    “We care about how the thing is used, not how it looks; and besides, what we’re talking about here is a prototype,”

  33. You said that my previous comment was removed due to offensive material?! I said nothing short of what anyone else here said. Idiot, which is in my posted comment, was the same thing I said in the previous one. I think you just didnt like the fact that I actually pasted your mistakes in my comment. Doesnt really matter, just saying. When the motion controllers actually release, I hope that you write an article about it again. If by any chance it blows you away, at least refer to this article as being pure nonsense.

Leave a Reply