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Sony Move: Z-axis detection offers "absolute best tracking"

Move has 10 hour battery life, external port and 60fps precision, says Sony

Sony has revealed a number of details on the PlayStation Move, including its battery life - around 10 hours - and the existence of an external port located on the underside of the controller - which it says licensees can ask it about.

According to PlayStation R&D manager Richard Marks, the controller - which uses both motion sensors and the PlayStation Eye camera to track movement - offers the "absolute best tracking".

Detection of the Z-axis is the only way a motion controller can work convincingly in 3D games, Marks told Kotaku.

"You can punch in Z," he said, adding that the Wii allows that too, but that the PS3 actually enables players to reach into a 3D world and manipulate objects.

The Move can be detected in the Z-plane at all times, he said, and with 60fps precision based on the Eye's detection of the position and relative size of the controller's coloured sphere.

Hinting at future possibilities for the Move, Marks highlighted the external port on the bottom of the controller, which hasn't yet been used in demo.

"I think there's a lot of options with having this thing being part of another peripheral, with something bigger that you would hold," Marks explained. "We've had a lot of talks with our licensees about what would make sense for this... We do have this USB cord [at the base of the wand] which is how you charge it. We also have this external port which is proprietary. Our licensees can talk to us about it."

"We don't use it right now for anything, but it has data and power, I guess I can say that much."

As well as confirming a battery life of around 10 hours before the controller would need re-charging via the USB port, Marks said that the Move will work in perfect darkness, although admitted that bright sunlight or a sudden change in light conditions could cause it problems.

"Dark is perfect," he said. "Dark is great." Direct bright sunlight on the camera would cause problems, he said, but he pointed out that people don't usually play games with the sun shining into their televisions.

"For a typical little bit of clouds going past the sun and stuff, you wouldn't ever need to re-calibrate that," he said. "In a case where it's really strong sunlight versus not-sunlight, you probably would have to re-calibrate that."

Marks also said the Move is significantly more sensitive than its competitor controllers.

"You could spin it all the way around eight times in one second," he said. "You can't [physically] do that, but in a short time you could get a burst [that fast]."

The Eye captures at 60fps, he said, while the rate of the data transmitted from the Move is "much higher".

He added that the Move can be used from between three and 10ft away from the PlayStation Eye camera.

"The kind of sweet spot everyone uses for the games is five to 10 feet," he said. At 10ft, the Eye can capture footage 12ft across and has a field of view of 75 degrees, he added.

The first Sony Move games - as well as the controller's official name - were unveiled at this year's GDC. Sony also revealed the Move controller's 'sub-controller', which works similarly to the Wii nunchuk, and a sub-$100 price tag. The hardware is due to be launched this 'fall'.

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