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EXCLUSIVE: Behind the Scenes with SCEA Research & Development (Part 1)

Chris Morell's Avatar + Posted by Chris Morell on Aug 28, 2009 // Senior Social Media Specialist

During E3, we showcased a prototype for a new controller launching next year. We know you probably have a lot of questions, so we sat down with Richard Marks and Anton Mikhailov, two of the main brains behind the new controller, to get some insight on the E3 demo, the back-story behind development, and the future of this new technology.

Today, you’ll get an inside look at our R&D team—more specifically, who they are, what they do and how they took camera technology to the next level with the new controller. Check out the video below.

We’ll be posting more interviews with Rick and team over the next few weeks. Expect more info here soon…

//Add Your Own

200 Comments

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151

+ TRIX_BOL on August 28th, 2009 at 5:43 pm said:

Awesome!!!

I can’t wait to feel how this controller will work with God of War III. (#1 game to use motion controller with, in my opinion.)

Besides, the feature of changing it’s bulb color is excellent, indeed that ability never came to my thoughts.

I am Looking forward to it. :-)


152

+ aone_09 on August 28th, 2009 at 6:02 pm said:

How about talking to lucasarts in producing a starwars game that could be online as well! Hmmm! lightsaber battles with anyone in the world! I dont know about everyone else but that sounds cool to me plus it would assist with the ailing sales of the eye! That was the first thing to pop into my head when i saw this! Im looking for a job SONY!


153

+ aone_09 on August 28th, 2009 at 6:04 pm said:

Has to be motion-sensing technology that essentially should put nintendo in a bad position! Sorry nintendo, but I do own one.


154

+ UNCLEBEATDOWN on August 28th, 2009 at 6:06 pm said:

Sony Motion Controller + Great Star Wars Lightsaber game = next generation domination, must buy, system seller. Make it happen SONY/Lucasarts!!!


155

+ Techni on August 28th, 2009 at 6:23 pm said:

Please tell me it has a built in rechargeable battery like Dualshock does. Charges via a standard USB mini port, and lets you connect other devices to it like the wiimote does (into that same usb port)


156

+ Ashitaka96 on August 28th, 2009 at 6:39 pm said:

I think they both have limitations. Nether are guaranteed successes until the software that uses them are released. I personally feel Natal has more limitations as it stands right now.


157

+ Erniejpan on August 28th, 2009 at 7:10 pm said:

@7

lmao have you seen the demo? Natal looks ridicolously funny.

The menu thing seems cool and the driving game but the rest were LOl. The Sony’s motion control was real and good, not a trailer like natal.


158

+ Uhyve on August 28th, 2009 at 7:44 pm said:

Okay, I don’t usually respond in the hopes that a developer will hear my cries, but I really think that you need to hear the cries of the people here. So, a few things:

Point number 1
Since I’m guessing these are going to be rechargable, please tell me you have some sort of dock planned. If we have a controller per hand and there are four people (since you’re going to be making party games to compete with the Wii I hope), that’s a whole lot of mini-usb cables that are going to be messing up the living room.

Point B
PLEASE put analog sticks on the controllers. You’ve said before that the design isn’t final so PLEASE add them. Have you ever tried controlling an FPS by pointing at the edge of the screen? It makes playing competitively completely impossible since it takes 5-10 seconds to turn around and catch your bearings. I’ve also tried using tilting to turn (using my Wiimote on Half-Life 2 using some cool little drivers), this also, does not work.

You’ve been doing well lately Sony, you’ve been listening. Analog sticks have been mentioned a fair bit in this comments section. Please listen again, I promise I’ll buy at least two of those controllers if you do :D


159

+ TakiFuGu on August 28th, 2009 at 8:21 pm said:

If the final design have that glowing tip. You guys can forget it. The Sony wand looks like a dildo.


160

+ Chuckbait on August 28th, 2009 at 8:24 pm said:

I can’t wait for these sweet controllers to come out. I just really hope it launches with a variety of games.


161

+ KSPRAYDAD on August 28th, 2009 at 8:40 pm said:

@Violator,

Turn prefetching off…that may help.


162

+ KSPRAYDAD on August 28th, 2009 at 8:52 pm said:

@158…

Um…never seen one with a glowing tip but if you say so.

SONY has said this isn’t the final design multiple times. It will have a glowing tip though as the EYE is tracking the SIZE of the ball to gauge distance. If it truly can gauge sub pixel movements that ball can be reduced in size. The original patents show it tracking the LEDs on the front of the SIXAXIS but I can imagine they can be THAT small and still track depth.

Dear SONY marketers…you may notice that NATAL is getting ALOT more press…it is because YOU HAVEN’T NAMED YOUR TECH. Please do it quick.


163

+ ivanramon on August 28th, 2009 at 9:45 pm said:

This IS the complete system…the best of the three…


164

+ FredNation on August 28th, 2009 at 9:58 pm said:

OMG I want that so bad!


165

+ lswanson1 on August 28th, 2009 at 10:02 pm said:

Wow, I have a masters of engineering in applied and engineering physics and I would love to work in the sony R&D division. That would be a kick ass job.


166

+ Jeigh on August 28th, 2009 at 11:08 pm said:

You know the funniest thing about this? These tech demos themselves probably have more graphical power in them than the entirety of some Wii games. Ah, I’m going to love pointing that out. XD


167

+ Ca5torTr0y on August 29th, 2009 at 12:11 am said:

i can’t say which is better between the 360 and PS3 motion controllers from hands-on because i have none, just like the rest of us here. at the same time, i can say that past experience with Sony games without controllers leaves you missing something. even from what i have read about Natal playing Burnout, the lack of steering wheel may be the deal breaker. human interaction needs something to hold and touch. if i were to predict a possible outcome, i would say that Natal may lose a chunk of possibility and accessibility because of the lack of something to physically hold.


168

+ Ca5torTr0y on August 29th, 2009 at 12:19 am said:

also, i agree on Star Wars. imagine a game where you walk around normal, (analog stick being on the wand in this example), and then you light up your saber and the wand glows red. epic. even without the analog stick, the wand going from simple white to green would be fantastic.


169

+ seniorfrito on August 29th, 2009 at 12:42 am said:

I’ve got one question. When can I give you my money so that you give me the controller?


170

+ ECKILLZONE on August 29th, 2009 at 1:05 am said:

yeah i gotta say sorry but i still don’t like that damn glowing sphere i’ve tried to look at it as being useful but it just looks annoying and distracting, but other than that the project itself looks really neat.


171

+ Yevon on August 29th, 2009 at 2:55 am said:

Sony said that they would only package 1 controller, I think it is a very big mistake, it could damage very seriously this project


172

+ Yevon on August 29th, 2009 at 5:34 am said:

Wow, I would like to see videos like that more usually. Good job. Why there is just going to be packaged just a controller instead of two? it will limit developers creativity and affect directly to gameplay.


173

+ ADR143 on August 29th, 2009 at 7:28 am said:

dam nice make sure add a strap for safety like wii


174

+ snaggdadon on August 29th, 2009 at 7:38 am said:

sorry but that wand thing is ugly and impractical i love my ps3 but i wouldnt want that thing any where near it..i havent seen any demonstrations that have impressed me yet..i was interested in eyepet until i saw the presumed price..not worth 39.99 to play with a virtual pet!!!!
come on sony!!!!!


175

+ Alex19Escobar on August 29th, 2009 at 8:36 am said:

How can you people suck up to this
sony hasen’t made anything good in
a while thats including the slim ps3
so far sony is disaponting mabe xbox can
be a better choice.
Just a another wast of money


176

+ Crazyguy5466 on August 29th, 2009 at 9:00 am said:

I have to say that the wand looks kinda cool. But are people going to use it a lot. I see this being mostly for two people. Its not like your going to get bored of a game and say “Hey i think I’m going to use my wand and just play that for a while” But if has games like the wii instead of the games we saw here then ill get it. Hell ill get 2. Don’t think i don’t like Playstation, i love it. But Microsoft has the “Natal” that uses your body as a controller, Sony needs to start making thing better then that damn 360. The PS3 will always be better.


177

+ MGO_Count on August 29th, 2009 at 9:31 am said:

Er, did he just mention that you can squeeze it and it vibrates >_>


178

+ AlphaVirus2g on August 29th, 2009 at 9:32 am said:

To all those saying Natal > PS3 Wand, search for “PS2 EyeToy”, nuff said. Actually there is a vast difference, one came out 10 years ago while the other is being hyped up in tech demos but still fails, search for “Natal BAM”.

The R&D should find a way to only have an addon that attaches to the sixaxis, this would reduce costs for customers to attain one. I love the idea for a lit top, one of the problems with cameras is trying to use them in low-lit rooms. If you want to play at night you have to turn on several lights to provide enough light for the camera to recognize you. The light ball negates this issue.


179

+ Peppino7 on August 29th, 2009 at 10:38 am said:

These guys are incredible. Can’t wait to enjoy the experiences!!!


180

+ limanima on August 29th, 2009 at 2:06 pm said:

I usually don’t pay much attention to motion controllers and stuf (I’ve tried almost all Ye Toy/PS Eye games and mostly are : mew) but I have to admit that this looks promising. And for what I’ve understanded, this will actually work better in a dark room which is great. The backgroud won’t matter either. Backgrounds are a big problem with the PS Eye games. I just don’t understand what will happen when the light is hidden by our body.


181

+ SHINSPIKES on August 29th, 2009 at 3:15 pm said:

Thanks for lettin us watch the streams in HD now. I hope they make great fightin/boxing and shootin games with this. And, all purpose and general functionality for the ps3. I just wished that yah went with the original plan from many e3′s ago, where the camera was a portable camera and you can record and take pics anywhere, then send it to your ps3 over the internet. Yah said somethin like havin your own travel show or travel blog. That was a cooh idea. But probably too expensive. If it did that and the stuff now, oh mang.


182

+ jimmy903 on August 29th, 2009 at 3:46 pm said:

I am all over this. Just show us some software already.


183

+ timalan42 on August 29th, 2009 at 4:12 pm said:

Wow This is a great video interview. I hope you guys keep interviews like this coming!


184

+ jedix_ on August 29th, 2009 at 6:08 pm said:

That sounds like a really really cool job.

I expect the squeezing of the trigger will allow you to do things like detect if you pick up something too hard, it will break, etc.. I can’t wait for this to be available to the public.


185

+ halophiliac on August 29th, 2009 at 7:08 pm said:

Sony should make a video of an artist using motion control to paint a mona lisa or something. Compare that to Microsoft’s “paint-chucking” demo. BAM


186

+ Johnson-Nick-55 on August 29th, 2009 at 9:01 pm said:

I remember when you guys had a demo of sphere tracking with the Eye Toy on the PS2. It was in one of the demo discs that came with Playstation Magazine. You could like cast spells with it, haha. But it was hard to find an object that the camera would actually track.


187

+ TooLVolta on August 30th, 2009 at 12:23 am said:

This is going to be so much better than any other motion controller!

8)


188

+ Gekidami on August 30th, 2009 at 1:39 am said:

So does the wand have an analogue or D-pad then? The core gamers like myself wont be happy if theres no way of moving in 3D.


189

+ The3DGalaxian on August 30th, 2009 at 9:46 am said:

The motion controller has so much potential. I thought grand slam tennis on wii was a good step forward but if used to it’s potential, this could dwarf it in every way.

The only real downside I can see is that you don’t have a nunchuck style analogue in the other hand, and controlling where your character is on screen is really important. I suppose maybe you could hold a dualshock 3 in your free hand and use that analogue stick but it might be hard to grip and uncomfortable one handed.

But for games using one hand, it will be fantastic.


190

+ Mohammed9876 on August 30th, 2009 at 12:58 pm said:

shut up guys, this is gonna own project natal! first of all ps3 will relese there tech way cheaper than microsoft and second of all no 1 likes payin for wifi and live gaming, and as for da controller…. wel u need a controller imagine playing halo with out a controller 2 switch thru weapons and krap

GREAT WORK SONY!!!!!!


191

+ MACS_PAIN on August 30th, 2009 at 3:34 pm said:

Will someone at Sony please RESEARCH this 80029780 error some of us are getting and DEVELOP a fix.. PLEASE?! It’s starting to piss me off tremendously. I can’t play any purchased games on this new PS3 you guys sent back to me. Nor, can I activate it. I know it’s happening to people that just purchased a PS3 slim too. Search 80029780 in Playstation forums. You’ll see I’m not the only one. Please fix it.


192

+ gamerboy845 on August 30th, 2009 at 5:02 pm said:

this looks good (better then natal wich did not work when i tryed it)

is there a analog stick?

and will there be a big amount of games for it?

will there be one with all the buttons or will there be two like the wii?


193

+ StormXBlast1 on August 30th, 2009 at 11:36 pm said:

They really are going somewhere with this technology, it’s the most accurate motion controller coming out. I can’t wait to try this and use it in mainstream games.


194

+ Transient on August 31st, 2009 at 12:23 am said:

It looks cool, but it’ll really depend on whether or not any quality games can put it to use. Personally, I don’t see any of this replacing the traditional controller, but hey the more peripherals the merrier.


195

+ Roach721 on August 31st, 2009 at 1:06 am said:

Great video,now make a Bluetooth mouse so that we ps3 owners can play Starcraft 2 & Diablo 3 without Devolopers complaining about fitting the controls into a controller..PEOPLE HELP ME PUT OUT THE WORD>


196

+ mayed10 on September 2nd, 2009 at 12:37 am said:

I was more expecting another controller for movement I wanna sword and a shield with LEGS


197

+ mayed10 on September 2nd, 2009 at 12:38 am said:

I wish that they create a new controller with an analog stick but still not give away the old controller and have each controller for it’s games


198

+ QWERTY-HHH on September 18th, 2009 at 9:17 pm said:

cool. haw many buttons and triggers and stuff does the current prototype have?


199

+ QWERTY-HHH on September 19th, 2009 at 2:01 pm said:

@jaratt:
no. the ps eye can’t track the sixaxis controler, so it wouldn,t work.


200

+ azncycotypeb on September 24th, 2009 at 3:28 pm said:

I agree with loadstone007. Natal is going to eat us alive. Facial recognition and scanning is both really cool and something our tech doesn’t offer. However, I think that having a physical controller in hand gives us players more options.


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