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Motion-sensitive Controls: To Swing Or Not To Swing?

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#1 rscarrab


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Posted 17 May 2010 - 10:29 PM

As some or probably all of you have noticed, "Natal" and "Move" are getting closer and closer to hitting a living-room near you.
With "Motion-Sensitive" being a big buzzword in the casual gaming industry --a couple of years ago-- it seems to be slowly seeping down into the core, where, (excuse me for assuming as much) it is not necessarily wanted.

Unless the Playstation 3 or Xbox 360 can break the mold already set by the Wii, than I can see myself NOT looking forward to the new "innovative" controllers, or the games that accompany them.
Not just that, but I fear that the casual market will become the core, and those that aren't happy will either have no choice other than to adapt or "gtfo".

I would be very interested in hearing everyone's opinion on this (for or against), as I believe this topic can't be touched on enough. I think it will become more and more apparent as the two aforementioned devices are available to the mainstream.

What inspired me to post this was a blog entry that hit's home in almost every paragraph.
I decided to place it within this post, so that those of you who are interested don't have to click into it.

I respect a lot of the opinion's that have come from fellow X-S members and because of such, I post this here.
The opinion piece is entitled "Enough of the Gimmicks" written by Matt Izenson. (http://www.1up.com/do/blogEntry?publicUserId=6101734&bId=9023082)


"For any of you who are reading and would agree with me, we the gaming communities are absolutely tired of these “motion sensitive” controllers that are being thrust upon us by the game designers who are seeking a new experience. While the idea of innovation is great, I believe most gamers play the games that they do in order to relax and enjoy the story, more so than attempt to super impose ourselves into the game via motion controller.

While the idea is a novel one, and no innovative idea should be shot down, this step [seems to be headed] in the wrong direction and about as gimmicky as it gets. We, the community, wish for games to be taken as a serious art form, an expression of a wonderful story [through] a unique experience that can only be called one of a kind! I know the success of the Nintendo Wii has gotten a lot of Microsoft and Sony [exec's] wondering “hmm, now how can I jump on that money train and ride it all the way into cash cow city?”.

Well to start, you can look and understand what caused the absolute success of the console [from] a realistic stand point. The gimmicks [and/or] games they have the most success with are [due to] the simplicity of them! For example Wii sports allows the player to play their “Mii” in various sporting events, while Wii Resort Sport added to that, and Wii Fit (and Fit+) added new ideas to the Wii, however these ideas were never truly that successful when it came to telling the RPG story. While I do understand and truly enjoyed “Zelda: Twilight Princess” I felt the controls were odd and unnecessarily complicated (not to be confused with "too" complicated) and I do not feel that it added to the immersion of the game. Consoles companies should not be looking to this medium to add to the games because this truly does not add to the story elements of games at all. Even the first person shooters, its all about who has better hand to eye coordination more so than anything else.

While the novelty of the Wii earned it quite a place, the honest truth to the success of the console was the price. The fact of the matter is that during the “Wii vs. PS3” release period the Xbox360 had several months of circulation as the only available next generation console, and that allowed Microsoft to not only saturate the market, but take pure advantage of the higher price ($700 MSRB) at the beginning and then lower its price over time to lure in the more casual console gamers. Since this console had been out for a long time and that higher price had been breached and come down, for Sony to attempt to come into the market much later with that exact same lofty price, and attempt to generate the sales that Microsoft did was absolutely absurd. I do understand the added bonus of the Bluray player that was in the PS3, which is one reason I love my PS3 (I own all 3 consoles and a gaming PC for those of you wondering if I am biased due to [ignorance]) However the lofty price and the availability of the same games on a console priced about $200 less, it made sense that this situation would not work.

Now! The reason for the success of the Wii, for a second console it was priced very low, $250 (I believe, could be wrong) which gave it an absolute edge to the PS3 when it came to people looking to own a second console, especially because it had that gimmick idea behind it and offered games that tickled the nostalgia of even the most extreme gamers out there. The innovative controllers were interesting to a majority of the gaming community, however I believe that most people who purchased the Wii, would have purchased it regardless of whether or not this gimmick existed.

Onward to the point, the gamers that look to consoles to provide entertainment do not look for a gimmick that will over [complicate] or simplify the controls to a rather unneeded point. Gamers have been very comfortable experiencing their games with a very basic “control sticks to move, buttons to do stuff!” while this has been evolving over the years in a great way, I do not think dumping it all off for this new idea is the correct course of action. Perhaps making controllers more intuitive, as has been done over the years, or moving towards a more futuristic end (anyone for the holodeck?).

My last point to this, most gamers who enjoy gaming on a very casual or even hardcore level do so as a stress reliever at the end of a long day. We aren’t interesting in jumping around like crazy people or swinging our arms wildly, attempting to emulate our favorite hero, because typically we are looking for a way to relax and get lost in a wonderful world written by brilliant writers. Or perhaps we just want to blow stuff up [and frag] with our friends (no better way to show your buddies respect, than blowing them up!). Either way its not about making gamers jump around like crazy people and through hoops to enjoy the game. At best this is merely a distraction to suck money of people who more than likely will stop using it a month or two after the novelty wears off."

What do you think? Is this just an alarmist attitude? Will those who look for depth and prettier graphics get side-lined? Or is there enough space in the gaming community for both (styles of gameplay) to co-exist peacefully?

Edited by rscarrab, 17 May 2010 - 10:40 PM.

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