Can Motion Control Go Beyond the Mini-Game?
I hear people asking, “Can Sony and Microsoft get their motion tech to work as well as their flashy product demos?” I think that’s the wrong question. Motion tech works. I have no question that Sony can complete a working archery mini-game and Microsoft can deliver a dodge ball mini-game just like the ones that they demoed. I also think it’s a safe bet that Nintendo can keep pumping out more of the same motion-controlled mini-game compilations (like Wii Sports Resort) that made the Wii a hit in the first place.
The better question is how can the industry use motion tech to deliver an improved game experience beyond novelty mini-games?
Sony showed their motion wand used as a fancy light gun. Yet, we’ve had working light guns around for years, and they are universally ignored even though most of today’s games are centered around gun play. The problem with light guns is that the player has to look straight ahead at their TV as as soon as the player wants to move or look around, the controller falls apart and they have to use a traditional game-pad type device.
The tech demos all worked the same way: The player is standing still and looking forward and either shooting a bow and arrow, throwing a shuriken, swinging a whip, or whatever. But the player can’t look or move. This limitation works well for baseball, tennis, and mini-games, but for any action/adventure game, the player needs to look and move around a 3D space.
The big motion control killer-app may lie with head-tracking 3D goggles. If the player could explore a cave in Uncharted or an underwater world in Bioshock or spin around to face enemies in a stealth action game and experience the 3D world with his/her very own head and eyes, that would be a complete game changer.