Motion controls are not the future

By BatRastered — August 24, 2010
Tags: blog hardware microsoft ps3 sony wii wildrant xbox-360

Do any of these "games" look fun? Let's not forget that this industry is about the games, not the control schemes!

We are nearing the release of the Sony Move for the PS3 and Microsoft Kinect for XBOX 360. This marks a dramatic difference from previous generations of console video games. Usually after 5 years, you get a slight redesign and you start to hear whispers, rumors, or teasers for the next version of the console (to be released about 2 years later). This time, while we have the slim versions, we are getting add-ons to the existing consoles and whispers that these consoles will be with us for quite some time to come.

Certainly, Nintendo has had mainstream success with the Wii, though I wonder if that's because of the motion controls or in spite of them and due simply to the significant price advantage the big N enjoyed through most of the Wii's lifecycle. I own a Wii, and it is rarely powered on compared to my XBOX or PS3. The reason for this is simple; games. Being an older gamer and an experienced gamer (I've played since the Atari 2600 days) I tend to enjoy bigger games and more mature games. Mass Effect (1 & 2), Red Dead Redemption, Halo 3, Batman Arkham Asylum, Uncharted, God of War III... all great games from this generation; none of those are available on the Wii. There is a large selection of casual games (Wii sports and the like) on the Wii, and that's great for a party, I guess, but it doesn't scratch that gaming itch for me.

What blows my mind though is Microsoft hard selling Kinect games at its E3 press conference that are direct rip-offs of 3 year old Wii titles. Do we really need "Kinect sports" and "Kinect Fit"? For what it's worth, I think the Kinect and a fitness program (note, I don't use the word "game") would make a great consumer electronics device for people wanting to work out in the comfort of their homes, but I want to play games on my XBOX. Is that so wrong? MS really failed to bring the games to E3 this year (at least to their press conference, there were plenty of 3rd party games on the floor). I'm still not sure how you make your car speed up with Kinect (the E3 demo used your hands with an invisible steering wheel, but controlled the accelerator for you, rubbish!). I like the idea of controlling the XBOX dashboard and DVD player Minority Report style or with my voice. But at $150 in addition to the system itself (which still retails for $199 in its base model), I can certainly live without that. Oh, and that Milo thing was bullshit. Pure bullshit.

Sony, to its credit, is at least trying to adapt the Move to more traditional games. (By witch I mean games I'd like to play). I still don't know how I feel about that, as it seems to me most of those games would be better played with a traditional controller, the lone exception being Time Crisis (light gun) type games. Indeed, most of these games are optionally controlled with move. It does seem that Sony at least has the right idea about motion controls.

Now Nintendo is trying to bring some of the hard-core gamers back with Metroid Other M (although they had to go to a 3rd party developer in Team Ninja to do so). This game uses a hybrid control scheme, standard style platformer, then point at the screen for first-person view and to shoot your missiles. I can already see myself dropping the controller at the most inopportune moments of a firefight while trying to switch. I really don't like the idea of trying to hammer new control schemes into classic games that already controlled perfectly well (IMHO). Super Metroid is one of my favorite games of all time, I'd honestly rather see a new Metroid use that style (with updated graphics and sound, of course) than cram the Wii-mote down my throat.

Of all the games I want the most that  can think of coming out in the next 12 months, none of them will require the Kinect or Move Nor will the Kinect or Move make any of them significantly better.

Someday, we'll all have holodecks in our basement for gaming*, until then I'll hold on to my controller, thanks.

*Okay, you're right, when holodecks are invented, they will be used mostly for porn.


Kinect Gouki Box Art

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Release Date: Nov 4, 2010

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