iWaggleVR

Understanding Move Games Packaging Labels

Since the introduction of PlayStation Move one and a half years ago, covers of supporting games have been featuring special blue labels with words like “Required”, “Compatible” and “Features”. But what do they actually mean?

The easiest to understand is of course the “Required” one, since games labeled as “PlayStation Move Required” are those than can only be played with the PlayStation Move. Pretty straightforward.

Below you can see an example of a “PlayStation Move Required” game package as it looks like in Europe (left) and North America (right).

As you can tell, albeit different in style, both covers unequivocally state the Start The Party! requires the PlayStation Move, going as far as telling you what exactly is needed in order to play it.

Unlike the EU cover tho, with its “YOU’LL NEED THESE” bubble, the North American one shows the required equipment in a more elegant and less obscuring way by displaying smaller icons within the blue bubble itself.

Now, when it comes to “Compatible” and “Features“, things start to get a bit more complicated.

First of all, there is no difference in what “Compatible” and “Features” refer to. They are simply the terms used by SCEA and SCEE respectively to describe Move supporting games sold in their territories.

Basically, there are only two different kinds of Move games labels per territory, not three. In North America they can either be “Required” or “Compatible”. In Europe they can either be “Required” or “Features”. There is no third category.

Here is an example of how a Move supporting game looks like in EU and US (SOCOM 4 is known as SOCOM: Special Forces in Europe).

It’s worth noting that when it comes to European games featuring optional Move support, the “YOU’LL NEED THESE” bubble we have seen before is dropped and replaced by some other Move-related phrase, which is specific to the game (in this case “Command squads with full motion control”), but doesn’t really tell you anything about the required equipment. The US packaging, instead, does still provide that information. (Note: The EU packaging does specify the required equipment, but only on the back).

The reason behind the omission of such information on EU covers is pretty obvious. Imagine a game with optional Move controls displaying the “YOU’LL NEED THESE” bubble on its cover. That would sound rather contradictory.

It goes without saying that the more subtle icon-based solution adopted in US for informing about the required equipment wins this fight, as it allows the US packaging to be equally informative across “Required” and “Compatible” games.

Then again there is an ambiguity both the US and EU packaging share in the very terms chosen to label games featuring optional Move support.

As you know, not every Move compatible game is necessarily fully playable with the motion device. Virtual Tennis 4, for example, relegates Move support to a quite limited “Motion Play” section which only grants access to exhibition matches and some mini-games.

And yet, it’s labeled as a Move Compatible/Features game.

As for the recently released Ninja Gaiden 3, while you can finish it with the PlayStation Move, you can only do so at the lowest difficulty setting, and you can’t access any other content (multiplayer, trials etc) without switching back to the DS3.

And yet, it’s labeled as a Move Compatible/Features game.

These are just two examples. More generally, there is nothing on either the US and the EU covers of Move compatible games that educates the Move users about the degree of said compatibility.

Since the extent of Move support may vary significantly from game to game, it is understandable why neither arms of Sony Computer Entertainment adopted a third classification term.

You’d say they could have both adopted “Required” (for Move-only games), “Compatible” (for fully compatible games) and “Features” (for games with limited Move compatibility). But then again there are some games which might legitimately be described as fully compatible even tho Move is not supported across every bit of content. Killzone 3, for example, definitely a fully Move compatible title, does not support the device in split-screen mode. How would you call it on its cover? A “PlayStation Move Compatible (at 95%)” title?

It’s quite obvious that the decision to adhere to a strictly dichotomic “yes/no” logic in labeling Move compatible games (that is, games do either support the Move or not, no matter what the extent of the support actually is) was motivated by the understandable desire to avoid opening the proverbial can of worms.

That said, it’s rather interesting to note that while SCEE went for a more “conservative” term (“Featured”) for labeling all games supporting Move, SCEA adopted a more “optimistic” one (“Compatible”).

At the end of the day, if you are not sure about what a given game does with the Move, you have no better option but to check the iWaggle3D Move games list. It’s not perfect (I don’t like having to deal with worms either), but it does still provide some extra information compared to what you get by just looking at game covers.

One last thing that needs to be said with regards to Move labels refers to the equipment icons SCEA puts on its covers, as it relates to a question I get asked all too often: “Is the Navigation controller required to play [random Move game]?”.

Here is a picture of them taken from the official PlayStation website.

Take a closer look at the bottom-right icon. Notice that it puts the Navigation controller among the “required” accessories. That’s actually incorrect. The DualShock 3 can be used in its place by operating its left analog stick, the D-Pad and the L1/L2 buttons with your left hand.

Of course holding the DualShock 3 like that is somewhat uncomfortable, if not unkind to left handed people (who might rather hold it with the right hand, but only the left side works as a Navi replacement), but still, the Navigation controller is not required. “Recommended” would be a better word.

That said, if you are considering playing a shooter using the Sharp Shooter attachment, you might very well need a Navigation controller as that’s the only one fitting into the dedicated holder (highlighted below), while also providing access to the functions associated to the X and Circle buttons (which are theoretically accessible on the Move itself, but de facto inaccessible since the Move is located on the barrel).

It goes without saying that all of the above also depends on the type of shooter you are considering playing with the Sharp Shooter. If it’s an on-rail one with basic light-gun controls, like Time Crisis or The House of The Dead, there is no need for a Navigation controller. You might need the DS3 to navigate the menus tho.

And this is it. If you have any question, feel free to ask in the comments section!