ps_move.jpg[“The Blue Key” is a bi-weekly GameSetWatch exclusive column from Connor Cleary. In this opinion piece, he shares his cautious optimism about motion-control, and the hope he gained for the future of the technology thanks to the PlayStation Move.]

I'll be honest here, I never had even the slightest interest in buying a Wii. When it was initially released I was at most cautiously optimistic about motion control. After a few sessions of messing around with a friend's my opinion was that the Wii was nothing more than a gimmick, and wouldn't be more than that until the technology took a significant leap forward.

Sure it was fun, but the significant lack of accuracy and consequentially unwieldy controls had me completely disillusioned with the whole idea. In my mind, it was an idea who's time had come, but who's technology hadn't.

At this point I should note that despite my reluctance to materially support Nintendo's new ventures (I was also unimpressed by my short time with the then-new DS) I was still in full support of them emotionally. Nintendo took a big leap with these projects, and I wholeheartedly applaud them for their boldness.

But I simply didn't like using the actual products. This isn't a new phenomena for them either, Nintendo has a history of releasing products before the technology is really there to support them – PowerGlove anyone? The Virtual Boy? So while Microsoft and Sony were duking it out over the sweet spot between Tech and Price Tag, Nintendo was looking for the next evolutionary leap instead, and it paid off.

The Wii has managed to tap a market that I think many gamers felt was un-tappable. Our moms, dads, brothers, sisters, grandparents, etc – many of whom often looked down on our hobby – suddenly wanted Wiis, suddenly wanted to play Wii Sports with us, and suddenly understood how fun video games can be. All it took was a new kind of interaction, one that felt more natural to non-gamers. But to me, it felt clunky – an interesting novelty but nothing more.

When my girlfriend got a PlayStation 3 Move Bundle this year, I had that same feeling of cautious optimism that accompanied my first experience with the Wii. At this point I was fairly convinced that the whole motion-control thing was just a hook to try and squeeze some money out of non-gamers, but I was admittedly curious to see how Sony would handle the technology. And I must say: While I am fairly underwhelmed by most of the implementations so far, I am extremely impressed with the technology itself.

Unfortunately I don't have access to a Wii with MotionPlus, so I am unable to compare my experience with Nintendo's upgraded system, but the PlayStation Move's accuracy is extremely satisfying. Being able to put back-spin or top-spin on a ping-pong ball with just a torque of my wrist blew my mind a little bit. The Move's accuracy, and ability to read extremely fine movements has renewed my hope in motion-control technology.

That hope remains cautious though, because I have yet to see much serious implementation of the new technology. On the PS3, most of the games that support Move functionality are small pick-up-and-play titles like Pain! and High Velocity Bowling. However, many of these titles just slapped Move support on top of a title that wasn't initially designed for it, and in the case of High Velocity Bowling the Move support is so poor that it seems like a pointless addition.

However, it should be noted that the bundled game Sports Champions is great fun, especially if you have a few friends over, and thankfully supports using a single Move controller for multiple players in the turn-based games, Bocce Ball and Disc (Frisbee) Golf.

Add one more Move controller and you can play head-to-head Ping Pong, fight in the Gladiator Arena, compete in Archery Matches – and if your ceiling is higher than mine is, you can play Volleyball too. I think these simple “party games” are really where motion control shines, and owning a pair of Move controllers will not be a complete loss even if this is all we end up using them for in the long run.

Some bigger titles like MAG and Heavy Rain have added Move support as well. In the case of the former it was a nice thought – and maybe gamers who are better with motion-control than I will disagree with me here – but it just feels like a maddening disadvantage against people using the (significantly more accurate) traditional controller. But in the case of the latter, it is such a natural addition to Heavy Rain that it feels like the realization of what the game was supposed to be in the first place.

According to Nick Chester of Destructoid.com ”[Quantic Dream] had originally designed Heavy Rain with a motion controller in mind.” He goes on to clarify that the developer didn't have the Move available – and even went as far as to design their own motion controller – but I think the original intention of the studio has lived on through the Move-supported version quite well.

There are still times where the controls are clunky and frustrating – like when it takes four attempts to successfully put your seat-belt on – but overall the experience is beautifully immersive. Heavy Rain really expanded my ideas about what motion-control can do, and while I look forward to seeing more innovative and well-executed implementations of the technology I'm not holding my breath.

As Gamasutra's Matt Matthews explains, it's difficult to get accurate sales data on accessories, but given that both the Kinect and Move have received at least moderate success across the world, it does appear that, there are a lot of people who want motion-control.

So it's probably a safe prediction that the motion-control sector of the gaming world will continue to grow. How fast or successful that growth will be – and how it will play out for each console – remains to be seen. As for me, I'm still only cautiously optimistic, but far more hopeful than before.