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Should you buy a Move controller for PlayStation VR while they're still cheap?

It might be a good idea, and it might not

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Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Virtual reality is unequivocally better with motion controllers in your hands, which is why the HTC Vive is a cut above the Oculus Rift right now. It's a good thing for PlayStation VR, then, that Sony already had a motion control platform in PlayStation Move.

Sony doesn't have to worry about producing new motion controllers for PlayStation VR. The headset requires a PlayStation Camera, the mostly forgotten $60 device that was released alongside the PlayStation 4. That camera is already compatible with Move, which debuted on PlayStation 3 in 2010. In addition to offering the stand-alone PlayStation VR — sans required camera — for $399.99, Sony took pre-orders for a $499.99 "launch bundle" that includes the camera, two Move controllers and the pack-in PlayStation VR Worlds.

Some PlayStation VR games support the use of two Move wands, such as Until Dawn: Rush of Blood. You may not have picked up those motion controllers for PS3 games like Johann Sebastian Joust and Sports Champions, but even if you do have some Move wands lying around, they may not be in great shape.

Sony announced at E3 that PlayStation VR will launch Oct. 13 in North America and Europe. That'll be just over six years after the debut of Move, and Sony said this week that it will sell a bundle of two Move wands for $99.99 this fall alongside PlayStation VR. If that seems expensive for six-year-old technology, well, it's true that you can currently buy Move wands for about $30 at Amazon. (Sony did not respond to a request for comment about the upcoming bundle's price.)

As soon as Sony announced Move compatibility for PlayStation VR, people began rushing to buy Move controllers at their current, relatively cheap price. They probably figured that Sony would reissue the accessories at a higher price — and they were right!

But here's the problem with buying Move controllers from the existing stock (or even used ones). For one thing, we don't know if Sony ever stopped producing the devices between 2010 and today. So it's unclear how long the available controllers have been sitting on store shelves or in warehouses.

Move controllers contain rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, which have shelf life of a few years. So if these wands were manufactured more than a couple of years ago — even if they're "new" and in their original packaging — they may not hold a charge for very long. (The Move wand's battery life is rated at a maximum of 10 hours, according to Sony.) And obviously, the battery life will be even worse for used Move controllers.

All of this is to say that you might be better off just waiting until Sony releases its two-controller package this fall, or buying the PlayStation VR launch bundle, since those wands will presumably be fresh off the assembly line. But of course, if you already own Move controllers, it's certainly worth busting them out of the drawer they've been hiding in and trying them out with PlayStation VR.

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