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Sony Playstation Says "Move" Over, Wii


But with such a big price differential, will the Playstation Move attract anyone?

"The essence of the Purple Cow -- the reason it would shine among a crowd of perfectly competent, even undeniably excellent cows -- is that it would be remarkable. Something remarkable is worth talking about, worth paying attention to."
-- Seth Godin

The consumer-electronics world has very few purple cows. Most gadgets and gizmos fail to stand out in the marketplace simply because they don't change the way we do anything or improve our lives.

There are some exceptions in recent history. For example, the Apple (AAPL) iPod completely changed portable music. The original TiVO (TIVO) changed the way we watch television. Research In Motion's (RIMM) BlackBerry devices made email-on-the-go completely practical. And Google (GOOG) used a fast, minimalist interface to revolutionize search on the web.

However, if I had to name the purplest cow of the last decade, one product stands head-and-shoulders above the rest: the Nintendo Wii video-game console.

With the Wii, Nintendo completely ignored the Sony (SNE) versus Microsoft (MSFT) technological arms race and instead made a huge bet on something truly novel -- motion control. The Wii didn't have the snazzy graphics and blockbuster action games of its rivals, but it did offer a completely new experience that was friendly to non-gamers. The Wiimote was a breeze to use. Just move your arm, and you're playing! Even Grandma could do it!

The novelty of the Wii resulted in enormous mainstream media coverage, and the result was a complete shellacking of the competition despite having a lousy software library.

Fast-forward to 2010, and both Sony and Microsoft want in on this motion-control stuff.

Just today, Sony unveiled its long-awaited PlayStation Move, which will go on sale this fall.

In Sony's words, "The PlayStation Move platform, including the motion controller, sub-controller, and PlayStation Eye camera together with a strong lineup of software titles, will deliver an innovative and highly immersive experience on the PS3 system."

The cost of a starter kit including the motion controller and eye camera will be less than $99, but therein lies the problem: cost.

The cheapest PS3 costs $299, while the Wii is hanging in there at $199, complete with Wii sports. That price differential is even greater when you factor in a Move starter kit, which may not even include any games.

With its far lower price point, the Wii is still far more attractive to casual gamers and their families. We're in a recession, after all. (Forget the statistics, the heartland is miserable.)

Furthermore, Microsoft is rolling out its own motion-control system later this year, which could effectively equalize the motion-control factor for those choosing between an Xbox 360 and a PS3.

These motion-control systems are simply too expensive, and they're too late to the market.

Forget their technological sophistication -- Move and Project Natal are trying to do a job the Wii did years ago. The Wii made non-gamers into gamers. How many potential converts are left? And how many of those would go for a PS3 system with Move at double the price of a Wii?

I don't know.

My girlfriend suspects that I'm partially colorblind, but even I can see that Sony's cow just ain't that purple.
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