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Plugged In

Playstation Move 101

Plugged In

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Playstation Move

Starting this week, the Wii won't be the only game console touting a
motion control system. Sony's Playstation Move hits stores on Sept. 17,
bringing a new range of controllers and an accompanying selection of
motion-enabled games to the Playstation 3. We've spent some quality
time with the system; since we're guessing you've got questions, here
are a few answers.

How is this different than the Wii?

In theory, it's not. This is Sony's response to the Wii's success; Microsoft's, named "Kinect," will be out later this year.

But Move is considerably more advanced than the four year-old Wii
control system. In addition to a suite of gyroscopic motion sensors,
Move can employ head-tracking, voice recognition, and positional
tracking of the controller. It's unquestionably more accurate, more
sensitive, and more high-tech...but in the end, it's all about getting
you playing games that have you jumping about in front of your TV.

Like the Wii.

What do you need to get started?

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Playstation Move

At the very least, you'll need one Move controller -- the one with
the colorful sphere on the end -- a Playstation Eye camera, and a
Move-compatible game. Coincidentally, that's exactly what Sony is
offering in its main Move bundle, which includes a controller, a
camera, and flagship game Sports Champions. If you want to get the most
out of the system, though, budget another $50 for a second Move
controller. Some games work best with one in each hand, to say nothing
of the two-player possibilities.

If you're the type who has to have everything, Sony's also selling
what it calls a "Move navigational controller," though it's really just
a trimmed-down Playstation pad that fits in one hand. It doesn't have
motion sensing capabilities, but it is just right for controlling games
like first-person shooters. There's also a charging station that'll fit
two Move controllers, although they also charge over USB just like a
regular PS3 pad.

How much is it?

The basic Move bundle -- which we recommend, unless you already have
a Playstation Eye camera -- costs just shy of $100. Separately, one
Move controller retails for $50, while the optional navigational
controller is $30. Most of the launch games are $40.

How do you set it up?

It won't take long: if you can set up a Wii, you can set up Move.

Tuck the camera either above or below your TV, pair the controllers
with your PS3, and, uh, you're done. Every time you play, you'll have
to do a brief calibration dance -- hold the controller up by your
shoulder, down by your side, point it at your belt buckle, do the
hokey-pokey and turn yourself around -- but that'll be second nature in
no time.

Why does it have a glowing ball on the end?

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Charging Station

For starters, because it looks cool. Of course, there's a bit more to it than that.

The camera uses that glowing orb to pin down the controller's
location in 3D space. It lights up when the controller's in use in a
color that will best stand out against the background, which helps
greatly with its accuracy. Additionally, some games can flash the ball
different colors to give you feedback. One thing to note: if you get
your body between the controller and the camera or do anything else
that obstructs its view of the glowing ball, you'll confuse the system.

How well does it work?

Remarkably well. If you've been disappointed by the Wii's
sensitivity with sword-fighting games like Red Steel, Sony's system is
what you've been waiting for. Compared to the Wii, it's seriously
impressive how sensitive Move is to even the smallest of motions.
There's no perceptible lag, and none of that characteristic wobbliness
of the cursor you see on the Wii. In short, Move is the real deal; it
delivers on the promise of motion control in a way the Wii has never

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