PlayStation Move: Can it satisfy the hardcore gamer?

PlayStation Move features all the types of games that have been popular on Nintendo's Wii: bowling; tennis; golf; even exercise. Will more sophisticated software follow?

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    A visitor plays a new 3D game on Sony's PlayStation Move motion-sensitive controller at Tokyo Game Show in Chiba, east of Tokyo on Sept. 16.
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The launch lineup for Sony's PlayStation Move features all the types of games that have been popular on Nintendo's Wii: bowling; tennis; golf; even exercise.

That might be great for some, but hardcore gamers want more. The PlayStation 3 is more technologically sophisticated than the Wii. Will Move games follow suit?

"Can you imagine a real-time strategy game on this?" Sony's Richard Marks said during a Move demonstration last month. He had been asked about the possibility of using the technology to play a complex strategy game such as "Civilization." He responded by calling up a 3D map, zooming toward and away from it, flying over and under it, and finally folding it up.

Marks, manager of special projects in Sony's research and development unit, said the Move controller "is a great input device for 3D." It's so precise, he said, "it's like a really good mouse."

"You'll be able to truly reach into a virtual world and interact in 3D with what is there, in so many different ways," he added. You could "pick up a rock and hurl it at the legs of a charging monster, or cast a fireball into a crowd, or build a barricade to take cover behind."

Some of these projects are already in the works for next year. The role-playing game "Sorcery" will let you wield the controller as a magic wand. Shooters such as "Killzone 3" and "SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs" turn it into a machine gun or sniper rifle. And the PS3's high-definition graphics make the sense of immersion even stronger.

But I'm particularly looking forward to "Echochrome II," the sequel to Sony's innovative 2008 maze game. This time, platforms hang in front of a white wall. You use the controller like a flashlight, angling it so the shadow of the platforms creates a cohesive path.

A simple idea, sure, but one that tickles the brain in unexpected ways. And that could be the key of the Move's success: whether its games provide mental as well as physical stimulation.

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