The other news is more concrete. At the Game Developers Conference (and specifically, on March 11th) there will be a session called "Introducing the PlayStation 3 Motion Controller." Hopefully there'll be no NDA covering the session and we'll learn a lot more about Sony's answer to the Wii Remote & Project Natal. Like, what is it going to be called? Is Playstation 3 Motion Controller the official name? Rumors have suggested both Playstation Arc and Playstation Gem as possible names. The description of the session says:
The soon to be released Motion Controller for PlayStation 3 will allow developers to create new game play experiences, by allowing players to interact with their console in high definition using their bodies. The Motion Controller uses 3D position and orientation tracking, camera input and a controllable RGB LED to bridge the gap between camera, motion and traditional interfaces.
Originally of course, the Motion Controller was supposed to be launching this spring, which would have given it a good six month head start on the (seemingly) more ambitious Project Natal from Microsoft. Now it seems like the two new controllers will launch at roughly the same time, and I think Sony is going to face quite a challenge during that showdown. Thinking back on last year's E3 demo, the precision of the pointer was pretty impressive and (again) I like hardware buttons, so I'm excited to get my hands on Sony's Controller, but Natal definitely has it beat on "Gee Whiz!" factor. Maybe we'll see something at GDC that'll tip the scales. But on the other hand, Microsoft will be at GDC too. And I'm sure they'll be bringing Project Natal with them.