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One-Liner: Controller Disconnected on Game and Player

One-Liner: Controller Disconnected

Ed Kirchgessner  //  February 21, 2010

What do motion controls mean for us?


otion control seems to be all the rage these days: Nintendo started the ball rolling with the Wiimote; Microsoft's Natal should be out by year's end; Sony even has a motion controller in the works (despite the tilt-sensitivity already built into its SIXAXIS). While these products do a lot to enhance casual experiences, what potential do they hold for improving the gameplay in more hardcore titles like first-person shooters and traditional action games?

What's your take, core demographic? Does Natal have you excited or worried? Will motion control usher in a new era of action gaming, or will it result in a market flooded by lackluster casual titles?

Michael Ubaldi // February 21, 2010 // 11:08 AM

My skeptical take is that certain laws of manual operation can't be ignored. Vehicle and appliance designs, especially those like cars and airplanes where proper function is critical, have not abandoned the mechanical interface. Until they do, we should assume that the most effective means of input is physical; whether binary (buttons) or potentiometric (joysticks/thumbsticks).

So while Natal and other motion-control products may have successful applications, they shouldn't replace hand controllers anytime soon.

jason // February 21, 2010 // 11:28 AM

i think natal is a good option for people who want gimmicky games like the wii offers, but don't want to buy a wii. i don't think (and i certainly hope it doesn't happen) that all games will be natal controlled, but offer some gimmicks or alternate ways to do things if you have natal. Like in a FPS, you could either move the right thumbstick to peek around a corner or just lean your head if you have natal.

I think companies like ms and sony are coming out with motion controls because nintendo did it and they want another bullet point for their marketing material.

Joseph Powell // February 21, 2010 // 11:54 AM

I think a lot of motion control game fall into the gimmicky catagory and don't provide much long-lasting or challanging entertainment. Hopefully Microsoft and Sony can turn a new page with their motion controls. The demo Sony showed at E3 wow'd me, so I have high hopes for what they can develop with it.

Adam Bogert // February 28, 2010 // 1:33 PM

My excitement about the technology is not tied so much into gaming. The hands-free interface and voice command tech have been basic components of science fiction for a long time, and the seemingly Minority Report-induced menu navigation aspect of NATAL sent a shiver down my spine.

As far as gaming goes, I think NATAL demonstrated an excellent advance in immersion. Granted, the Milo demonstration was just as much about advanced AI as it was about the camera technology, but I consider the chance to interact "realistically" with a digital character to be very intriguing.

I agree about the need for physical feedback (that was Sony's response to NATAL), but I don't think NATAL has to be a gimmick. Take a game such as, say, Halo, and combine it with the Milo demo. Now you can shout to marines, ask them for intel, signal silently when you want someone to inspect an area, etc.

I don't know. I'm just not as pessimistic about it.

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