PS3, Xbox, Wii: The war over motion control heats up

Sony motion control? Two Wii MotionPlus devices? Project Natal on Xbox 360? Which is best?

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    As foreign press swoops into the Tokyo Game Show, Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony are making the case that their motion-control scheme is best.
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First came a round of price drops, as each of the three major video-game consoles slashed prices. Sony released the PlayStation 3 Slim. Wii confirmed this week that its best-selling Wii console will be $50 cheaper, bringing the price to just under 200 bucks. And the high-end Xbox 360 Elite dropped in price recently, and offers an extra $50 rebate until Oct. 5.

Now, the battle moves to the annual Tokyo Game Show. And the smack down is over motion controls.

'Sports Resort' now packs in two Wii MotionPlus devices

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Nintendo's MotionPlus accessory offers an upgraded sense of control compared to its original Wii controllers. The added dongle clicks into the bottom of the Wiimote, instantly upgrading its sensitivity. The accessories will soon be easier to buy, according to USA Today. Nintendo revealed this week that "Wii Sports Resort," the first game to take advantage of the improved controls, will soon have a special-edition bundle packed with two MotionPlus extensions. The game originally came with only one. This jumbo version will cost $59.99, or $10 more than the normal game.

New details on Sony's motion controller

Sony showed off its upcoming motion controller at the Tokyo Game Show this week. It is a wand, similar in style to the Wii's, but wirelessly connected to a camera that observes your movements. "Together with the PlayStation Eye camera for PS3 which can accurately track the absolute position of the controller, the controller can detect the natural and intuitive movement of the hand and reflect the precise movement on to the game," says the marketing material. "The sphere placed on the top of the controller is not only used to track the absolute position but can also give visual feedback to users by changing the colors or the illuminating patterns of the sphere." Sony's wands do not have an official name yet, but they will come out in Spring, 2010. Here's the original pitch video:

Microsoft's Project Natal

As we wrote earlier this year, Project Natal does not try to mimic the Wiimote. Instead, Microsoft’s new Xbox 360 addition throws away controllers altogether. Natal is a box that sits atop your TV and reacts to your gestures. It’s got two cameras, an array of microphones, and special software to gauge depth, movements, even voice tone.

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