Company gets jump on motion sensing controller

Sony will jump into the motion sensing game this September.

The company announced Tuesday at its E3 press conference that the PlayStation Move peripheral, in essence an enhanced version of the Nintendo Wii controller, will go on sale in North America Sept. 19.

Pricing is about where most industry onlookers were expecting, with the Move controller going for $49.99 (though consumers who want the accompanying navigation controller – basically the second half of the system – will have to shell out another $29.99). A bundle, featuring the Move controller, a camera to track movements and a game full of titles will run $100. And a complete bundle (including a PS3) will sell for $400.

Sony plans to have 15 games available at launch and as many as 40 available by the holiday season.

That pricing could be a concern. The PlayStation Move is meant to attract a casual audience – which is unlikely to spend $400 if they don’t already own a PS3. Those who get scared off by the pricing could easily gravitate towards the Wii.

Microsoft will have its own gesture-recognition controller on shelves this holiday season, dubbed Kinect. The company has not yet announced pricing for the system, however.

In the two hour presentation, Sony alsol touted the PlayStation 3′s ability to run games in stereoscopic 3D, showing off the action shooter “Killzone 3″ – due next February.

“What titles like ‘Avatar’ are doing for 3D movies, titles like ‘KillZone’ will do for 3D games,” said Kaz Hirai, Chairman and Group Chief Executive Officer of Sony Computer Entertainment.

Sony is also looking to monetize its online PlayStation Network, much as Microsoft has successfully done. Currently, players are able to compete in multi-player matches online and communicate with each other for no charge.

None of that will change, but with PlayStation Plus, Sony hopes to convince core gamers to pay $50 per year for early access to demos, priority invitations to game beta tests and discounts on products in its online store.

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