The Playstation Move is a Wii clone – but it's awesome

The Playstation Move is just what it looks like: a Wii clone. It feels the same, looks the same, and works the same. That’s a good thing, though. Everyone and their grandmother has played Wii bowling and knows how it works. Sony isn’t reinventing motion control with the Move. They are, however, seriously improving it.

A long time ago — about four years — Nintendo introduced the world to motion controlled video games. There was a period of time when the world wasn’t sure about it. Wii Remotes were flying through TVs and gamers actually had to get off the couch to play. But then it started to sell out and companies like Sony and Microsoft took notice. Microsoft went with full body tracking while Sony kept it simple and developed the EyeToy add-on, the Move (originally rumored to called the Wand, Gem, and other names).

I’ll say it again: the Sony Move is a Wii clone, but it’s a Wii clone that utilizes the powerful PS3 and the already-familiar Eye camera. That’s the only difference in reality and like Sony touts, the PS3 does everything. Because the PS3 is infinitely more powerful than the Wii, the games are more intense, immersive, and realistic. The experience is like what we always imagined the Wii could be.

The games range from the fun and casual (Sports Champion) to the FPS (SOCOM 4) to the puzzler (Echochrome 2). All of these have Wii counterparts, theme or control-wise: Sports Champion features short field games like Wii Sports, SOCOM is just like any of the Wii FPSes, and Echochrome 2 is your simple yet deep Wii puzzle game. There’s no shame in this. After all, the Wii has been out for four years and there are games of nearly every genre utilizing motion control. The difference is that the Move flavors bring better graphics and far more precise tracking, which results in a lot better experience.

My favorite was Sports Champions, actually. The field games of archery, table tennis, and even a comical sword fighting mode really showed off the Move’s versatility. The controls are different from the Wii; you have to follow through on swings for one thing. That’s a big difference; many of the Wii Sports games are better played with small, quick flicks of the wrist. The Move requires real-life movements, which surprisingly, generates real-life results. The harder you swing your sword, the harder it hits. It’s not a game you can play from your couch like Wii Sports.

I played a half a dozen Move games at E3 2010 and walked away satisfied. No, the system doesn’t blow me out of the water, but that’s because I’ve played the Wii and the novelty of this controller scheme wore off a few years ago, even though the Move does motion control so much better than the Wii. Perhaps that will be a stumbling block for the Move, at least initially. People have seen it before, but the Xbox 360 Kinect is something totally different — and novelty sells.

The Move, however, with its traditional motion controller abilities can easily build upon what Nintendo started. True gamers will appreciate the more intense games found on the PS3. Casual gamers should find the more accurate tracking and dramatically better graphics refreshing.

Hopefully Sony has learned from Nintendo’s mistake and made the Move in a way where developers will easily find success. 3rd party games need to be a big part of the Move and that’s something that the Wii hasn’t been able to do. The vast majority of the Wii’s best titles are right from Nintendo. The Move needs all the help it can get.

The Move will never sell as many units as the Wii, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be successful. It will no doubt sell well to the dedicated PS3 crowd and will probably even convince some Wii owners craving a deeper experience to make the expensive upgrade. Is it better than Kinect? I’m not sure — but it’s definitely better than the Wii.