Game changers by the Bay

Developers unveil new products at confab

The videogame biz’s biggest players typically unleash major announcements at June’s Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles. But San Francisco’s Game Developers Conference is starting to steal some of its thunder.

Sony announced at last week’s confab that it will call its new motion-sensitive controller, which has Nintendo’s Wii clearly in its sights, Move.

It was the first time Sony unveiled details of the system since introducing it at last year’s E3.

The system’s controller resembles a microphone with a ping-pong-sized ball mounted on the tip, and is intended to give players a more realistic feel of holding a gun, sword, bow and arrow or golf club when playing a game. The $100 system, which launches this fall, will include the controller, a camera that connects to a PlayStation and game.

Elsewhere at the show:

¦ OnLive, which will enable users to play high-profile console games without need of a PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 or Wii, announced that the service will bow June 17. Subscribers will pay $14.95 a month to access titles from Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, 2K Games, THQ and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. The fee does not include the cost to rent or buy the games.

OnLive unveiled the streaming videogame system at last year’s GDC. It was expected to launch late last year, but was delayed to improve the service and make sure it works with consumers’ current highspeed Internet connections. Because it’s technically still winter, OnLive CEO Steve Perlman said the service will be just “three months late” now.

¦ InstantAction, owned by Barry Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp., said it would give gamemakers control over pricing of rentals or purchases, with the service taking a 30% cut of what a game generates. Either way, the company is expected to serve as another source of revenue for publishers, given that InstantAction will allow games to be embedded on any website. The first games are expected to bow this month.

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