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Video Games' Motion Commotion

ЕЗ 2010 Video games' motion commotion REPORTING BY BRIER DUDLEY, Seattle Times technology columnist • GRAPHIC BY MATTHEW BAMBACH, Seattle Times news artist It's now a three-way battle for motion supremacy in the living room. At this week's E3 game conference in Los Angeles, Microsoft and Sony are taking on Nintendo's Wii with new motion controllers for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. There will be a whole lot of shaking going on, so here's a primer to keep track of the console battle royale. 360 ii PS3 Sony Microsoft Wi Kinect Wii MotionPlus PlayStation Move What is it? What is it? A motion and voice tracking system for playing games and handling media on the Xbox 360. Early versions were roughly 10-inch cylinders that connect to the console and sit adjacent to a TV. It was unveiled at E3 last June and goes on sale this holiday season, refreshing the 5-year-old Xbox 360, potentially broadening its appeal. What is it? The first major console based on a motion-control system, the Wii debuted in late 2006 and has outsold both the Xbox 360 and PS3. It's fun and easy controls appealed to new audiences, but Nintendo's trying to win back traditional gamers with a black version, more action games and a "Motion Plus" accessory to increase aiming precision. New motion-sensitive controllers for the PlayStation 3, giving Sony's console capabilities similar to Nintendo's Wii and perhaps more mainstream appeal. Sony's also characterizing the Move as bringing "3-D" control to the PS3, which is being upgraded this year to play 3-D movies, linking them both to Sony's 3-D entertainment push. How it works How it works How it works Pulsing light ball Controller PlayStation Eye sensor Motion Sensor bar MotionPlus sensors attachment Inside a roughly 10-inch cylinder, Kinect has microphones and three front-facing sensors, including a color webcam, a CMOS depth sensor and a light projector to adjust for different lighting conditions. It operates at 30 frames per second and uses its readings and motion analysis to calculate likely actions that players are taking in real time, with an algorithm using less processing power than a cellphone. The Wii Remote has motion sensors to detect players' actions, which are transmitted wirelessly to a narrow sensor unit mounted to the TV. An auxiliary Nunchuk controller also has a motion sensor, and connects with a wire to the Wii Remote. Up to four Wii Remotes can be connected at once and Motion is detected with a gyroscope, accelerometer and magnetic field sensor in the controller. It requires a PlayStation Eye sensor attached to the console as a receiver, and some games require a secondary controller. Players can choose a color for the ball on the end, which pulses to provide additional feedback during games. detected within five meters of the sensor. Price Microsoft hasn't said yet but estimates range from $80 to $150. Price The Wii costs $200 and extra "Motion Plus" remotes cost $40 to $50. Price A starter kit with a controller and Eye sensor will cost less than $100. Games Games Games Ricochet Super Mario Galaxy 2 Socom 4 Most studios are making Kinect titles, including Activision, EA, Capcom, Ubisoft and Disney. Microsoft's also creating Kinect games, in addition to the casual dodgeball and rafting games it has demonstrated. Some Kinect games could also incorporate Xbox controllers, for precise aiming of weapons, for instance. Hundreds of games are available for the Wii, including motion-controlled versions of Nintendo franchises such as "Super Mario" and "Zelda," the "Wii Fit" fitness system with a balance-board controller, and a set of sports games that come with the console. New releases coming later this year include action game "Metroid: Other M.' Announced Move titles include "Socom 4," "Brunswick Pro Bowling" and "The Shoot," a campy shooting game. Sony's also releasing "Sports Champions," an introductory set of games showing off the Move capabilities, including Frisbee golf, volleyball, archery, pingpong, bocce and "gladiator duel." Standing Kinect has drawn raves from people who tried prototypes, and Microsoft's built enough buzz and studio support to sell millions of units this holiday season. But it remains to be seen whether Kinect can Standing Nintendo has been secretive about its plans for the Wii, which has been a hit but is at risk of falling further out of favor with traditional gamers. This comes as Microsoft and Sony introduce motion-control systems and more entertainment options that take advantage of high-definition TVs, which have become mainstream since the Wii launched. Standing After a slow start behind the Wii and Xbox 360, the PS3 is finally hitting its stride with a strong lineup of beloved PlayStation franchises. The Move isn't as technologically advanced as Kinect and blatantly echoes the Wii. But the Move could have more appeal to hard-core gamers because of Sony's edgy, action games and because aiming and shooting are more precise with the Move's physical controller and buttons. broaden the appeal of the Xbox similar to the way Nintendo won over nongamers with its Wii. We'll have to see how Kinect performs in the real world, outside of Microsoft's carefully controlled demonstrations. Nintendo

Video Games' Motion Commotion

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Graphic detailing video game competition at E3 2010.

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