We sit down with SCE Move developer Anton Mikhailov To talk about the status of PlayStation's motion-controller platform since its launch and why it's not just Kinect with a controller.
Q: What is your opinion of the launch so far?
Anton Mikhailov: I think actually it went really well. We are exceeding our predictions which is always a good thing.
Q: In terms of sales?
AM: Yeah. Well actually a couple of things. We're legitimately bound by supply which is great, that's always better than being artificially bound [laughs]. The other good thing is a lot of people are buying a second controller which is also awesome because one of the things we really want to enable is a two-handed experience. So we always wanted our launch to be pretty much playable with one controller so we don't alienate anyone and we have a low priced entry but we found that a lot of people after playing Sports Champions - that's the US bundle - they went out and got a second controller to play either two-player or two-handed gladiator duel.
Q: What about in a critical sense? A lot of people have criticised the fact that so far the titles have been so casual.
AM: Well there's been both sides. I think some of the hardcore people have complained in the sense that - well they always complain, right? They always say "why is Sony wasting their time on this and not making more shooters?" But actually a lot of people have liked using the Move in shooters like MAG, SOCOM, the Killzone 3 guys, so we're getting a lot of good feedback from that. We definitely have the casual titles like EyePet and Start the Party, but a lot of people playing Sports Champions have actually complained that it's too hard. It wasn't so much the complaining but it's like they tried the game and they thought they were pretty good and they switched it to like Gold difficulty and tried to hit the ball, and they're like "Eugh! My arm hurts!"
Q: Do you think those complaints about the casual games is indicative of Move or of the developers who are making these games?
AM: I don't think it's because of Move. Because I haven't seen anybody complain about the Move hardware yet. I haven't seen any reviews that say "Oh it glitched out" or whatever. I don't think it has anything to do with the Move platform. I think what's happening is because Move is different you're just going to have different players and the players that don't like motion games are going to say the Move is not a good thing. It's like some people like to play shooters on consoles, some people like to play shooters on PCs, and there's tons of PC folks who will never touch an analogue stick controller. So I think you're just going to get that no matter what, no matter how good your hardware is going to be.
Q: So do you guys have a specific kind of player in mind for Move then?
AM: What we really want to do with Move is make something that's like a platform level controller. For example EyeToy is more of a peripheral model: you buy EyeToy and then there's games for EyeToy and there's lots of genres that are well-tailored for the EyeToy. Like exercise games, we had EyeToy Kinetic, party games, that kind of stuff. You make a game for EyeToy and it's not really playable with something else. But there's not really games you can work that into. So for example you'll never be able to really do a shooter with EyeToy, you're never going to be able to do a strategy game etc. So by platform level I guess we mean it needs to be on a level of Dual Shock where you can do lots of different genres and you can also integrate it with lots of different games. I think that actually helps it have a broader appeal so that way we can be useful in many areas and I think we have no plans to sort of shove Move into games where it's not useful.
So when we put the Move into a shooter it's because we did user testing and we found that somebody likes it. It doesn't necessarily have to be everyone flocks to it, but somebody out there considers value in that proposition. So I think that's pretty good from that strategy, I think it's a much smarter strategy than "from now on all games will be Move games".
You know, I think strategy games before couldn't even be done on console. There's just been a couple that have tried and they just didn't really work out, but I think with the pointer that you get with the Move you can actually do a pretty good strategy game. So R.U.S.E. is doing pretty well and Under Siege on PSN.