Sony Moves Eight Million Motion Controllers to Challenge Xbox's Kinect

Sony has sold more than eight million units of the PlayStation Move motion controller, revealing that while it continues to trail Microsoft’s Kinect, it may be beginning to catch up.

In March, Microsoft said it had sold 10 million Kinect sensors in the first four months. But it was evident that sales could be slowing after a huge spike during the holidays.

The two accessories are slightly different but serve the same purpose of extending the life of the videogame console by widening the audience it serves from the hardcore segment to the more casual player.

The Xbox Kinect uses a camera to track the movements of players, so they don’t need to use a controller at all. Generally, the best use case for it so far are games that mimic dancing, but recently, Xbox has started integrating the technology into other services, such as Netflix.

In contrast, the PlayStation Move, which uses a camera and a controller, is more similar to the Nintendo Wii.

Because the player must hold a controller, Sony claims, actions can be much more precise, making the system appropriate for a wider selection of games. There are also peripherals for the controller, such as the Sharp Shooter, which allows a user to simulate shooting a gun. Sony said despite limited supply, 40 percent of the time the Sharp Shooter accessory sold alongside Killzone 3 at key retailers.

During the holidays, Microsoft had a difficult time meeting demand for the Kinect, but supply has since caught up. Today, Sony also reported shortages of the Move.

In a statement, Bob McKenzie, SVP of merchandising for GameStop, said: “Due to the demand for the PlayStation Move motion controller, we’ve been struggling to keep units in stock in our U.S. GameStop stores. With big franchise titles set for release throughout the year for the PlayStation Move, we expect the remainder of 2011 to be a period of continued sales growth for PlayStation Move.”

Sony also said the PS3 has now sold 50 million units worldwide and has more than 75 million registered accounts for the PlayStation Network, which offers downloadable games and entertainment.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik