Microsoft may have the edge on rival Sony when it comes to press buzz surrounding its upcoming motion control peripheral Project Natal, but Sony thinks the Arc doesn't need any fancy-schmancy PR to win over audiences.
You'd be forgiven for thinking that Microsoft has the leg up on Sony when it comes to debuting their fancy motion control devices. After all, there's a ton of buzz surrounding the House of Redmond's Project Natal, whereas Sony's motion controller (what we're calling Arc) doesn't even have an official codename (not even a truly outrageous one). Analyst Michael Pachter thinks so: He predicted that Natal would outsell Arc 5-to-1.
When IndustryGamers spoke to SCEA Senior Vice President of Publisher Relations Bob Dyer, they called the executive out, bluntly saying what we're all thinking: Natal seems to be winning the fight thus far. Naturally, Dyer doesn't think so - he sees the "PR barrage" around Natal as being all bark.
"From Sony's perspective, rather than go out and do a whole PR barrage to give everybody the 'happy, happy, joy, joy' news, we're going to show up and have a line-up of products to show people rather than having a lot of great statements to say, 'This is what's going to happen,'" said Dyer. "And rather than us go there and pat ourselves on the back, and send out press releases talking about this, we're going to be Missouri; it's going to be 'show me.' And that's the deal."
Dyer pointed out that the Arc was similar to existing motion control like the Wii, meaning that existing software could be more easily ported over to the PS3 unlike Natal, which would require completely new code. But the Sony executive doesn't believe that this will result in a flood of shovelware like the one plaguing the Wii. "I can assure you that's not what you're going to see. The fact that we use a camera changes everything. I think the press has forgotten that Sony has been using a camera [for a long time] ... I think Natal will have some great games on that system that'll work well without implements, and we're going to have what we think are better games because we have a lot more learning from [the camera]."
Nor does Dyer worry that the foray into motion control will alienate the hardcore. According to the man, Sony's research has shown that if the motion control makes sense for the game, then it absolutely makes sense to include it in a title like Uncharted - and that's what consumers want.
[T]here are probably certain franchises that should never ever use the motion controller. But then there are some where you might go, 'You know what, this would be pretty cool if I had a real gun' or if I could really swing a baseball bat, or swing a golf club. When you get MLB and play it with the motion controls, it'll be like an epiphany. Angels will start singing and you'll have a very different experience.
Big talk, Mr. Dyer. Let's hope Sony can back it up - we're likely to see more of what the Arc and Natal can do at next month's GDC '10.