Sony barely mentioned pricing with their PlayStation Move motion controller, only noting that the combo pricing with PlayStation Eye and a game will cost less than $US100. But by our back-of-the-envelope calculations, the experience is going to be really expensive.
Our previous look was with the Wii MotionPlus, which clocked in at $US80 per person to be fully equipped. That was $US40 for the Wiimote, $US20 for the Nunchuck and another $US20 for the MotionPlus dongle. Now, you can get a WiiMote + MotionPlus bundle for $US50, bringing the one-person cost down to $US70, factoring in the Nunchuck. For four people, assuming you didn’t trash the bundled WiiMote and Nunchuck from your Wii console purchase, the cost would be $US230.
What about the PlayStation Move?
For the full PlayStation Move experience, each player needs two PlayStation Moves and a sub-controller. You also need one PlayStation Eye that services all four players. Let’s price these components out, hypothetically.
Suppose you started off by purchasing the PlayStation Move + Eye bundle – the one that Sony says will be priced at than $US100. This is a fair entry point to the experience, seeing as not many PS3 owners have the PlayStation Eye to start out with, since there aren’t very many supported games. Let’s price that bundle at $US80. The Eye by itself is $US40, so we’ll say that the Move is $US50, by itself. Here’s why.
To have a “full” experience, you need just one PlayStation Eye, but two Moves and a sub-controller per player. And since the sub-controller doesn’t have motion (but does have wireless), we’ll price it at $US30. The first player gets set up with the Eye and the Move bundle for $US80. He still needs another Move and a sub-controller, which is an additional $US80. That’s $US160. Every subsequent player only needs two Moves and a sub, which is $US130, in our thought experiment. That’s a total of $US550 for all four players. Holy shit.
What does this mean? Well, even if you factor in the low end pricing, you’re still going to have to pay more for controllers than you are for the actual console itself. This is true of both the PS3 (base console price: $US300) and the Wii (base console price: $US200), but the PS3’s is so much more expensive than the Wii’s. It’s a good thing that Sony is making it possible for you to play at least some normal games with the Move and the sub-controller combo, because imagine having to buy regular DualShock 3 controllers on top of this.
But, a-ha! Natal! Even if the base price of Microsoft’s Xbox 360 add-on is priced somewhere upwards of $US100, that’s all you’ll ever need to buy for motion gaming. You can add on a second, third or fourth player to your motion gaming with no additional cost! Microsoft isn’t going to charge you money for your limbs, as much as they probably would like to. But if they did, that would be the first and last acceptable use of the cliché about charging an arm and a leg for something.