Sony's Move motion-sensing controllers for PlayStation 3 will hit the US market in September ahead of Microsoft's rival Kinect devices, as the firms prepare to battle for gamers' affections.
"We think the PlayStation Move is the device that will bridge the gap between core and casual gamers," Sony vice president Peter Dille said during a press conference on the opening day of the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3).
Move will hit the market in time for the year-end holiday shopping season and aims to tap into an enthusiasm for motion-sensing controls that made Nintendo Wii consoles marketplace superstars.
The Move controllers, which are reminiscent of small black flashlights topped with brightly colored orbs, allow gamers to control PS3 play with swings, jabs and other natural movements instead of the toggle-and-button commands that have been trademarks of play on PS3 and rival Xbox 360 consoles by Microsoft.
Microsoft's own motion-sensing controllers for Xbox 360 consoles are dubbed "Kinect," and will be available in the United States beginning November 4, a little less than a month after Move is released on September 19.
"Kinect" is the name for the new game technology developed by Microsoft under the code name Project Natal.
The device uses a 3-D camera and gesture recognition software to let people play videogames using natural body movements and spoken commands instead of hand-held controllers.
No price details have been disclosed by Microsoft.
Move wands will be priced at 49.99 dollars when they debut in North America. A smaller "sub controller" wand for use navigating characters in shooter games will be priced at 29.99 dollars.
Sony will combine Move controllers with Eye cameras and a videogame in bundles sold for 99.99 dollars. Adding a PS3 console to that bundle raises the price to 399.99 dollars.
PlayStation Eye cameras, which are needed to track movements of controller wands, will sell separately for 39.99 dollars.
Titles being tailored for play with Move include "Resident Evil 5 Gold Edition" and "Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11."
On Tuesday, Sony took swipes at Kinect, which made an enthralling debut on Sunday with the help of gymnasts from Cirque Du Soleil, a performance troupe known for magically combining acrobatics and theater.
"Am I crazy or did I just see a hundred French acrobats prancing around an arena the other night?" joked Jerry Lambert, the actor who stars in Sony television adverts as character Kevin Butler, in a pithy on-stage presentation.
He went on to quip that Move "has futuristic things called buttons, which really matter to people who want to play games that involve anything more than catching a big red ball."
Sony America President and CEO Jack Tretton emphasized the firm's insistence on retaining buttons along with motion-sensing technology.
"Buttons are critical," he said. "We are not trying to stir the pot here, but we think it is an important distinction. Buttons allow for precision."
Microsoft has touted Kinect as an advancement that will transform the videogame world by opening creative new options for software makers and eliminate learning curves for people interested in playing on consoles.
"It recognizes you; it responds to your gestures and it listens to your voice," Xbox Live division head Marc Whitten said during the unveiling of Kinect.
"With technology like this there are no barriers."
Typically a stage for new blockbuster titles, E3 this year has become an arena for Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo to do battle with their latest motion-sensing controls for rival PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Wii consoles.
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