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Motion gameplay dominates E3 Expo this year

Microsoft and Sony follow Nintendo in announcing new motion-sensitive gaming systems

Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo have all revealed new motion-sensing wireless control systems at the 2009 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) trade show taking place in Los Angeles, California.

Presented by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the annual event highlights the latest offerings from some of the biggest names in the computer and video games industry. An obvious trend this year was wireless gameplay with Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo all announcing new controllers that see systems respond to a user’s movements.

Microsoft’s ‘Project Natal’, compatible with any Xbox 360 system, is the world’s first to combine an RGB camera, depth sensor, multi-array microphone and custom processor all in one device for a fully hands-free control system. Unlike 2D cameras and controllers, Project Natal tracks full body movement in 3D, while responding to commands, directions and even a shift of emotion in a person’s voice. Although still in its early stages, Microsoft has already sent prototypes to the top game developers.

Sony unveiled its own motion controller for the PlayStation 3 console as well – also in the prototype stage, the PlayStation Motion Control will be available only by 2010. The wireless wand-shaped device can be used in conjunction with the PS3’s EyeToy camera for an enhanced gaming experience.

Nintendo, the pioneers of motion gameplay with its Wii console and wireless controller, is offering its sporty Wii Fit fans a little extra too with the new Wii Fit Plus that comes bundled with a more sensitive balance board.

Despite fears that the recession would dampen E3 this year, the event has seen some major announcements and product launches, including Sony’s new PSP Go console, as well as a host of new video game releases.