Yesterday at the GDC Sony gave a more in depth demo of their motion sensing controller dubbed Playstation Move. Basically it’s a rip off of the Wii controllers with large glowing balls on top. Now I don’t really care for this type of gaming, sure the Wii was kind of cool when it first came out, but how many of you actually still play your wii? *chirp* *chirp*… Count me amongst those that bought a Wii when it first came out, played it for a month and then went back to real gaming on my Xbox 360, PS3 or PC. As much as I feel there needs to be some sort of new breakthrough as far as how we control and interact with game systems these days, I don’t think that these motion sensing controller wands are the way to go. And honestly I don’t think Microsoft’s Project Natal is necessarily the way to go either. I just don’t think motion sensing controllers of any sort, whether it has a wand or not, is going to get the hardcore gamers to put down the normal controllers that they are used to.
For one, based on demos of the Playstation Move and my experience with the Wii, there’s not the same sense of accuracy with a motion sensing wand that there is with a controller. I tried to play Call of Duty 3 on the Wii and just found myself getting a wicked headache due to the fact that my screen was constantly flashing red from getting shot at. Maybe I’m just bad at utilizing this type of input controller for a first person shooter, but it seems more of a distraction and annoyance to have to point and aim a controller at the screen to get your gun to aim… not to mention way too tiring. There’s no way I could sit there for hours and play a Wii game like I can with a normal Xbox controller, and this is going to be the same for Sony’s Playstation Move.
Didn’t Sony revamp their Dual Shock controller with motion sensing capabilities (or at least accelerometers) once they realized what Nintendo was doing with the Wii? How well did that work out? How many games out there actually utilize the accelerometers in the six axis controllers? I can think of one, Lair, and from what a co-worker has told me, it’s a little hard to control and there’s no way to turn off the movement control and just use the thumb sticks.
There’s also a problem with lag in these games, the Wii seems to handle it pretty well and is actually fairly responsive, but it’s still there. And now from what I’m reading and what I caught on G4 yesterday regarding Playstation Move, there is quite a bit of lag between when you perform the actions and when your character on screen reacts. This would totally kill the immersion into the game for me. The brief demo I caught on G4 yesterday, before going to dinner, was some fighting game that resembled something like Final Fight (I don’t know any recent fighting games, not a fan), but obviously a bit more updated. The movements that the guy demoing the game did were fairly accurately performed by the character on the screen, but about 1/2 second after the guy did them himself. That seems like a whole lot of lag, and while it could have just been lag from the fact that it was a camera recording a TV I still feel like there is going to be some lag in games like that.
I don’t know, overall I’m not a huge fan of this “motion sensing” gaming revolution that Nintendo started, but I am kind of curious to see where it will lead. I know there’s got to be a different way for people to interact with gaming systems, but I don’t think this is the way to do it. Maybe Microsoft’s Project Natal will come out and blow everyone away, but again from the articles I’ve been reading lag seems to be a bit of a problem, so we’ll see.
What are your thoughts on all of this motion sensing that is making it’s way into modern gaming? Do you feel like these companies are abandoning their roots and their original fanbase to try to cater to the more casual gamer? Obviously it’s a business so if they can round those people up and get them to buy a PS3 or Xbox 360 they are going to, but do you really see this as the next revolution in gaming? I mean the Wii has been out for years now and most people that I talk to don’t even play theirs anymore unless they are having a party or something, otherwise it sits and collects dust…. like mine.