How motion controls have affected modern gaming
Published: Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 11:04
Motion controls have had a lot of influence on this current generation of video game consoles. The Nintendo Wii was the best-selling console of this generation, and one of the best-selling consoles of all time. It’s not hard to see that, at least for a time, motion controls were a technology that people wanted.
The appeal of motion controls is not difficult to see. By using them, players can feel like they are really swinging a sword or wielding a lightsaber.
In theory they could be the most accurate controllers yet for first person shooters. Yet despite their potential, motion controls have a divided audience.
The Wii was the first console of this generation to use motion controls and it paid off for Nintendo immensely, at least in the beginning. For the first two to three years of the consoles life it was almost impossible to get ahold of one.
Oddly enough, even as popular as the console was, people were complaining about the motion controls.
Complaints included claims that the motion controls were a gimmick in which you only had to use “waggle” controls to play any game, and that the controls were unresponsive and made it hard to get the game to do what you wanted it to do.
Developers who made games for the Wii all seemed to try to find a new way to implement the motion controls. This led to a host of games which were little more than just a compilation of mini-games.
Games such as “Rayman Raving Rabbids” and “Carnival Games” seemed less like actual attempts at making video games and more like attempts to cash in on the new motion-control craze.
Nintendo responded to criticisms of the lack of good controls by announcing the Wii MotionPlus. An add-on to the Wii Remote, MotionPlus made the controller sense movement that was absolutely 1:1 instead of just recognizing jabs, swings, or “waggles.”
But even so, some people think motion controls still aren’t that great yet. Tony Ham, a computer science major said, “If used correctly, motion controls would be just fine. But currently they aren’t really being used well”
Later on in the generation, Sony and Microsoft started to introduce their own motion controllers for their consoles.
Sony introduced their answer to the Wii Remote called the Move at E3 2010. The Move is a controller that looks similar to the Wii Remote all the way down to even having a nunchuk-like attachment.
Around the same time, Microsoft introduced its own version of motion controls which it called the Kinect. The Kinect was a controller-less system of playing games on the 360.
These new peripherals showed a lot of potential for future games. The Kinect made promises to break the barrier between the games and players, while the Move promised 1:1 control of any future games they would release.
With all these new ways to play games, a lot of people were excited. People who hadn’t played video games much before or “casual gamers” were the main market for these peripherals and they sold very well.
Not everybody likes motion controls, though. Some people want to play games with a good normal controller. At the end of the day sometimes you just want to relax and play a fun game without having to move around.
Some people still like the classic mouse and keyboard combo for their games. “There are more options with a mouse and keyboard,” engineering-major Daniel Albers explained. “You can customize how you play more than you could with any controller.”
The future of controls is still not very clear at the moment. Nintendo revealed their Wii U console at last years’ E3. It sported a tablet-like controller with a touch screen, but the tech demos they showed indicated that Nintendo wasn’t giving up on the Wii Remote just yet. It looks like the controller will still play a major role in their next console.
There is no telling if Sony and Microsoft will go a similar way and implement their controllers in the next generation of games. Microsoft has been trying their hardest to sell their Kinect and trying harder to implement it into more games at each E3. This makes it hard to imagine them just letting the controller die.
Whether you enjoy Motion controls or you hate them, they look like they’re going to be a part of gaming culture for many more years to come.