Is the PlayStation 3 the ultimate entertainment device?
The launch of Move on Friday adds another thing to the PS3's already impressive bow
Sony’s latest weapon in the battle to take over our living rooms is launched tomorrow. The PlayStation Move is a new motion-sensing gaming system for the PlayStation 3, which, while similar in many respects to Nintendo’s hugely popular Wii, promises greater accuracy and precision.
The Move uses wireless, wand-like controllers with glowing ping-pong ball sensors on the end, and tracks a player’s movement using a small camera before translating those gestures in to on-screen action.
Sony’s decision to take follow Nintendo’s lead is hardly surprising – after all, more than 70 million Wiis have been sold worldwide since the console first went on sale in December 2005 – and it has been credited with bringing a new audience of women, families and young children to video games.
Microsoft, too, is repositioning its Xbox 360 games console in the hope of hoovering up some of this so-called “casual gaming” market – in November, it’s releasing Kinect, a gaming system that goes one better than the Wii or the Move by removing the need for controllers altogether.
Instead, a camera captures the movement of players and replicates it on-screen.
For Sony, though, Move is merely another string to the PlayStation 3’s bow.
Despite modest sales in its first few months, thanks mainly to a hefty price tag and a lack of compelling launch titles, the PS3 has gone on to become one of the best all-round entertainment devices.
Its capabilities as a games console are, of course, a big part of that. A firmware update to the PS3 also means it can play 3D games, if you have a 3D television and a pair of silly glasses.
And the addition of Move could help to extend the PS3’s appeal beyond its traditional fan base.
Its Blu-ray high-definition DVD player is as good as some stand-alone units on the market, and it will even 'upscale’ your ordinary DVDs to create the illusion of a better picture.
The PS3 can also be used as a media streaming, which means you can 'stream’ music, videos and photos stored on your home computer over the wireless network to the PS3, to view on your television.
And because the console itself is internet-enabled, it provides access to a solid range of on-demand content through Sony’s web portal, the PlayStation Network.
You can, for instance, access BBC iPlayer through your PS3, a service that is also available on the Nintendo Wii.
And you can download or rent movies through your console to watch on your television from the PlayStation VideoStore.
The living room is undoubtedly the new battleground for consumer electronics companies.
As gadgets become more and more portable, and a growing volume of content and services are delivered via the internet, then everyone from computer manufacturers to set-top box makers can sense an opportunity to make their systems the dominant force in home entertainment.
Earlier this month, Apple unveiled a new Apple TV, capable of streaming content from the internet to the television.
And Google is thought to be just weeks away from launching its Google TV service, which aims to combine the best of the web with the traditional television schedule.
In an age where a proliferation of set-top boxes, DVD players and music systems under our televisions means we need to think carefully before adding to the tangle of cables, the PlayStation 3 is an elegant solution.