Sony delays new motion controller for PS 3 until fall

Sony is eating crow tonight as it announced it has postponed its new Motion Controller from the spring until the fall of 2010.

The new controller is a step up from the motion-sensing controller currently selling with the PlayStation 3 game console. This new wand-like device, showcased at the E3 show last June and paraded in front of fans in September, is much more accurate in its detection of body movements. Combined with a PlayStation Eye motion-sensing camera, it can thus be used in shooting, sword fighting, and other fast action games.

It was a cool demo, but few at E3 believed that Sony would be able to deliver its Motion Controller on time for a spring launch, mainly because game developers were just beginning to learn how to make games to go with it. This delay suggests Sony needed more time to develop good games and get its technology right.

Now Sony’s launch will be in lockstep with Microsoft’s holiday 2010 launch of Project Natal, which uses a 3-D motion-sensing camera to detect your entire body movements. Microsoft hasn’t delayed Natal, but at least it has set a more realistic schedule for getting games done. Microsoft’s launch plans were known for a while, but it didn’t really confirm that Natal would launch in the fall of 2010 until earlier this month at the Consumer Electronics Show.

This is a little egg on the face for Sony in terms of its ability to execute, but there is nothing worse than launching a new technology that isn’t ready. Nintendo can breathe a sigh of relief, as its Nintendo Wii game console won’t looked old fashioned anytime soon, as its rivals are far behind having anything that matches Nintendo’s motion-sensing Wii controller.

Sony says the new controller will be able to detect the natural and intuitive movement of a hand. The Motion Controller is, thankfully, a temporary name. There isn’t too much more to Sony’s announcement. It looks like PS 3 fans will have to keep playing games with their old fashioned controllers for a bit longer.

Be sure to check out our latest announcements on GamesBeat@GDC, our video game conference taking place March 10 in San Francisco.

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