We so wanted Sony (NYSE: SNE) to have a good shot at this year's Christmas season. But Sony has an incredible talent for shooting itself in the foot. The PS3 Move may be the best example yet.

I had doubts about Sony's Move ever since it was announced. The concept just did not feel right from a time-to-market perspective. Before its release, it looked like an attempt to copy Nintendo's (OTC BB: NTDOY.PK) Wii controller and add some Sony touch to it (read our thoughts from E3 here).

A few days ago, I walked into a Best Buy and bought the controller. My opinion has not changed. There are a several giveaways why Move just does not work in its current stage.

This thing makes the iPhone look like a bargain!
I bought the very basic equipment, the starter pack with one controller, the PS3 Eye camera, and the Sports Champions game as well as one extra controller, to enable two-player gaming. In the end, this is a social gaming concept, right? The cost? Try $162, including tax. Bam!

Yup, that would be $162 for essentially two controllers and a cheap game. Did anyone say Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT) $149 Kinect for four players is expensive? Hey, and I didn't even buy two extra controllers, which you would need to play to the controller's full capacity with just two players (some games support two controllers per player). I got no navigation controllers, no fancy attachment, and no charging station. The $162 is the bare minimum -- in some games, that means that you are playing and friends and family members are watching.

There isn't even an extra USB charger cable included. Apple's iPhone is a bargain in comparison.

I am still trying to figure out what makes this controller exactly a $50 controller and nearly twice as expensive as a Wii controller. Honestly, I have no idea. Maybe it's the glowing light-bulb feature that's necessary so that the Eye camera can detect your movements in the dark. If you are on a budget, this is definitely not the controller tech for you. A completely decked-out four-player system will cost you about $400.

It's too complex
Fun was the ingredient that has made the Wii controller a success. I can't see that with the Move. It is essentially the same idea and the same functionality, but it feels too complex, it's over-loaded, and it's over-thought. The controller detects more movements much more accurately, but it left me wanting more. Response times are similar to the Wii.

Sports Champions is not more than Sony's interpretation of Wii Sports. A Wii Sports with more realism, better graphics, and great physics. But is it as much fun as Wii Sports? No. On Sony's PS3, the controller concept feels more limited as well. It appears that archery, bocce ball, volleyball, table tennis, and disc golf pretty much exhaust the moves you can do with this controller.

A constant annoyance is the need for recalibration every time you start a new game. When have you ever needed to calibrate the Wii controller? Exactly.

Kids hate it
My kids have been, so far, dead-on as far as predictions of game trends are concerned. I tend to watch how they adapt to new technologies and how they use it. There are five of them in this household, between the ages of 8 and 11, and they all love our Wii, Microsoft's Xbox 360, and the PS3.

The Move controllers had the advantage of novelty when I brought them home, and the kids were eager to try them. But that novelty wore off after about 30 minutes, and they are now back to playing Wii and using the regular controllers for the PS3.

It turned out that the Move controllers were way too complex for them and they were too inconvenient as game controllers in the end. If they are too complex for the kids, then there is a good chance that there are many more out who will think the same. Perhaps Move just hasn't found the right game yet and there is no title that exploits its potential. If that is the case, then Sony has just screwed up Move's launch. And that is a best-case scenario: It is much more likely that Sony will have to considerably drop the price of Move to turn it into a success. That would mean $100 for a complete system for four players, not $400.

I am not sure what exactly happens in those sales meetings at Sony. If there was someone with a slight touch of reality, Sony would have realized that asking $400 for a controller system is insane.

If you are looking for a novel game-controller concept this Christmas season, Kinect may be the way to go. My recommendation? Wait until Kinect is out and read the first reviews. If Kinect is not what it's promised to be, you can still buy Sony's Move. My bet is that Microsoft will cream Sony this Christmas season. Nintendo is a big question mark.


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