June 4, 2009 A day after Microsoft took the wraps on its Project Natal motion control system at the E3 expo in Las Vegas, Sony Computer Entertainment has followed suit, showing off its own motion controller prototype for the PlayStation 3. And while the announcements have been popularly characterized as something of a “controller wars”, they're really a signpost pointing the way gaming has been heading since Nintendo stole the show with its Wii motion-sensing game console in 2006 – the need to capture the hearts and minds of the growing gaming audience, especially the moms, dads and similar less hardcore gamers.

Sony showed off its wand-like controller during the launch of its new gaming titles for 2009 at E3. A glowing knob on the end of the wireless controller is used by the PlayStation Eye camera to track – within 7mm accuracy – the position and movement of the controller, which enables players to play and interact with items on the TV screen.

The controller also incorporates buttons that transform the controller into a virtual weapon. During the E3 demo, the wand was used as a sword, gun and bow and arrow. According to Sony, the emphasis has been on trying to produce a controller that mimics real-life experiences.

At the moment, it’s too early to say when the controller will be available commercially.

Paul Best

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