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Why Natal and PlayStation Motion Control are Doomed to Fail

This year Sony and Microsoft plan on tackling Nintendo’s WiiMote with their own motion sensor devises. Microsoft’s Natal enables users to control and interact with the Xbox 360 without the need to touch a game controller. Sony’s still unnamed devise consists of a handheld wand that  will require  the help of the PlayStation Eye webcam to track the wand’s position, and inertial sensors to detect its motion.

Both companies are hoping these new peripherals will help them attract the casual market Nintendo has cornered this gen with the Wii. In my opinion, it’s a wasted effort. 

Lets look at the average Xbox user. Compare sales of titles like Halo, Gears of War, Call of Duty, and Borderlands to any other genre  found on the system and one might come to the conclusion that owners of Microsoft’s Xbox are  hardcore FPS/Action gaming  fans with  little to no interest in anything else.  The one genre  Natal may stand out is fighting games since Natal will offer full body control. Just be sure you have enough room for all those kicks and punches.

 Sony’s initial failed attempt with motion control for the PS3, the Sixaxis, didn’t impress that many developers. While Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune featured limited Sixaxis options, Naughty Dog dropped the option all together for the sequel. We all know what happened to Lair, a game that featured full Sixaxis support.  Game Republic’s FolkLore was  one of the few titles for the PS3 that featured a well adapted Sixaxis scheme for their game.  Some developers, like Metal Gear Solid mastermind Hideo Kojima, rejoiced when Sony finally added Rumble to their standard controller.

 Another thing holding them back is the fact that like any other peripheral there’s going to be an extra price  tag included on top of buying the system. Why pay more  for a PS Motion control, a PSEye, and/or a Natal when you can spend less than $200 on a Wii with a full library of titles for the system? As it stands now Resident Evil 5, Fable III and several other titles are set to receive or include some aspect of motion control support for the Natal and PSMotion.

I really don’t see the need for a motion control add on for  either Sony or Microsoft at this point. Both companies underestimated the market for it and missed the boat.  Sony could have made the motion control push with the PS2 and EyeToy years ago.  Early on developers may port Wii games to both systems to test the water. Seeing as how No More Heroes is currently being ported from the Wii to the PS3 and 360 this year with no sixaxis support, I don’t think developers have too much faith in motion control for HD systems.

My predictions are that both are destined to  fail due to lack of support by developers and lack of interest by gamers.  This gamer has no interest in motion control at all. If I did, I’d have a Wii.

Edit: Thanks to Nick for pointing out that Naughty Dog’s Uncharted 2 does infact offer Sixaxis support.