Gadgets and Games

The Death of the Couch-Potato Gamer

An ad for the Playstation Move highlights the full-body interactivity enabled by the game controller.

An ad for the Playstation Move highlights the full-body interactivity enabled by the game controller.  (Sony)

In the world of gaming, the motion wars are in full effect. 

Now that motion-control game controllers like Sony's PlayStation Move and Microsoft's Project Natal are suiting up, jumping off the couch, and preparing to do battle with the best-selling Nintendo Wii, there's no place left for couch-potato gamers. 

Having spent quality time last year with Natal I was anxious to get my hands on Sony's glowing orb Move controller, which I did this week. And you can color me impressed. 

If you've seen a Nintendo Wii before then you already know how it works: You slap on a wrist strap, grab a virtual tennis racket, baseball bat, or sword and let the gaming begin. You'll find the games intuitive and easy to get acquainted, whether you're playing table tennis or gladiators. 

I have to admit I wasn't expecting to be wowed by Sony's Move. The idea of using a controller with a glowing ball on top of it seemed far a field from Microsoft's evolutionary Project Natal which ditches the Wii styled controller all together. But not so fast!

"Microsoft's Natal is really limiting," a Sony representative told me. "You can't get the full range of virtual motion in a 3D space with just a camera on top of a television." What about the massively successful Nintendo Wii, I asked? 

"The Wii controller can only be tracked based on its previous position -- it's jumpy, it's not smooth. The Sony Move controller is tracked exactly in 3D." 

 The game play was remarkably accurate and snappy, all in a 3D environment. Holding a sword, I was able turn it quickly in every direction imaginable: forward, backward, up, down, in, out, sideways, you name it. I felt like William Wallace in Braveheart -- without the biceps, tight abs and bulging pectorals. A boy can dream.

If you're used to getting away with those little flicking motions while playing tennis on the Wii, you'll be in for a rude awakening on the Move. Sony uses your full range of motion; no more phoning it in when you should actually be working your body. 

If you already own a Playstation 3 you won't need a whole new system. Simply purchase the new Move controller and the Sony Eye camera for the top of your television and you're up and running. The Sony Move is a promising step for a company that's failed to impress lately. Two words: PSP GO! 

The real question, though, is will a family that's already purchased a Nintendo Wii be compelled to purchase another motion-controlled system -- albeit one with better graphics and tighter controls? If Christmas sales are any indication, the Wii doesn't show any sign of slowing down. 

Now that motion-control gaming has been nearly perfected, I'm tired of tennis, ping pong and bowling. I hope someone's paying attention when I say this: I want a light saber game and I want it soon. And I'm not ashamed to admit that.


Clayton Morris is a Fox and Friends host and the tech godfather behind the Gadgets and Games show. Follow Clayton's adventures online on Twitter @ClaytonMorris and by reading his daily updates at his blog