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Sony Steals Wii Controller Idea

As most of you know from our coverage of the Sony Press Conference, Sony unveiled the new PlayStation 3 controller, designed like the PlayStation 2, but with capabilities strikingly similar to the Nintendo Wii. Seth Schiesel, a video game reporter for the New York Times, talked about this on his blog from E3:

The major surprise news of the night was that the PlayStation 3 controller has an internal “gyroscopic’’ capability similar to that in the Nintendo Wii controller. That means that merely turning and twisting the controller can produce action on the screen, rather than the player having to press buttons or pull triggers. At first blush, that revelation appeared to be a major blow to Nintendo, which had been counting on making the Wii controller one of the stars of E3. But on further consideration it seems like there may be a bit less there than meets the eye, at least for now.

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That is because of all the games Sony made playable after the presentation, only one appeared to take advantage of that gyroscopic functionality: Warhawk. In introducing the controller, Phil Harrison, head of Sony’s global game studios, seemed to indicate that they have had workable versions of the system for only a few weeks. If that is the case, then it seems extremely unlikely that the gyroscopic function was part of the original design for the PS3. Rather, it seems much more likely that Sony got nervous after seeing the Nintendo demonstrations at the Tokyo Game Show last year and rushed to add a plausibly similar feature to its own system.