A Wii Challenge from Sony

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Sony has a new message for Nintendo Wii gamers: Come join us.

The Japanese maker of the PlayStation 3 unveiled Thursday its highly anticipated motion controlling system, as it takes aim at Nintendo's dominance in the gaming sector. With the "PlayStation Move," Sony hopes to lure gamers who have outgrown Nintendo, which launched the Wii in 2006 and became the first to introduce motion-detecting controllers.

Peter Dille, senior vice president of marketing for Sony Computer Entertainment, credited Nintendo Co. for "introducing motion gaming to the masses."

Now it's time for them to graduate to the PlayStation, which offers a new experience for both casual and hard-core gamers, he said at a press conference in San Francisco.

"The migration path from the Wii household to the PlayStation 3 household is a pretty natural path, partly because of the experience that you can get on the PlayStation Move but also because of the content that we find on PlayStation 3," Dille said.

Used with the existing PlayStation Eye camera, Sony's new wireless motion controller can track players' body movements. The controller, in turn, has on its end a light-emitting orb that is recognized by the camera.

"Nothing has ever been this precise," said Shuhei Yoshida, president of Sony Computer Electronics Worldwide Studios.

The PlayStation Move will go on sale this fall. Complete details of prices have not been released, but a starter bundle including the PlayStation Eye, motion controller and one game will retail for under $100, Dille said.

Major game publishers such as Activision Blizzard Inc., Electronic Arts Inc. and Square Enix are developing Move-compatible games.

The latest announcement comes as both Sony and Microsoft Corp., maker of the Xbox 360, attempt to gain ground on Nintendo. Since the Wii first hit stores, it has consistently outsold rivals by attracting casual and nontraditional gamers like women and seniors.

Microsoft is planning its own offensive this year as well with its "Project Natal."

Natal, which combines a camera, depth sensor, microphone and processor, eliminates the need for any button-mashing device. Microsoft is expected to release Natal in time for the Christmas shopping season but has not set a specific date.

Although demand for the Wii has slowed in recent months, it remained the most popular console among Americans in January with 465,000 units sold, according to market researcher NPD Group. Microsoft sold 332,800 units of the Xbox 360, trailed by 276,900 PlayStation 3 units.
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