Rumour: Sony to launch motion controller wand?

Sony’s inevitable contribution to the world of gesture control finally has some concrete details to go along with it. The ‘Motion Controller’ – a working title, Sony assure us – has only seen light of day at trade events thus far, but expect that to change now that the peripheral has a release date of Autumn 2010. That would put the device in direct competition with Microsoft’s Natal motion controller so expect the hype machine to hit overdrive just in time for Christmas.

The controller, resembling a microphone in shape, comes equipped with two motion sensors, three axes gyroscope and three axes accelerometer that can detect the controller’s angle and movement while held in the user’s hand. Sony promises that this technology, when combined with the PlayStation Eye camera, will accurately track the absolute position of the controller for an accurate, adaptable experience.

The sphere placed on the top of the controller is not only used to track position but can also give visual feedback to users by changing the colours or the illuminating patterns onto the sphere. Physical feedback meanwhile is provided via similar rumble technology as currently employed in DualShock 2 pads.

‘We have decided to release the Motion Controller in fall 2010 when we will be able to offer an exciting and varied line-up of software titles that will deliver the new entertainment experience to PS3 users,’ said Kazuo Hirai, President and Group CEO, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.

All big words from the Sony chief but so far the confirmed catalogue of games is a little on the thin side, a new Ape Escape game being the most illustrious of Sony’s launch date offerings. That said it seems the device will be compatible with already released games, titles such as Flower, PAIN and Eyepet all set to receive patches that will incorporate motion controller functionality.

There is no doubt that the success of the Nintendo Wii has paved the way for gesture control on home consoles, but a key part of that success has been down to the Wii’s competitive pricing and catalogue of so called ‘casual games’ so appealing to traditional non-gamers. Whether the public will be willing to invest substantially more for the promise of the PS3’s tighter motion control and high definition visuals remains to be seen.