When I published my rant about the dangers Microsoft and Sony face in ensuring their motion technology is adopted by new and old consumers alike, I wasn't thinking about the impact the controls themselves are having on the industry and its users. As an industry, we tend to think about the short term. But what is the long standing impact of motion controls? What about the kids whose first console is a Wii?
I've never thought of it that way, but a 28-year-old father of three contacted me via e-mail this morning and threw me for a loop when he talked about his kids' perspectives on games. These are kids growing up in a Wii world and it's going to change things. Their nostalgia isn't Mario Bros., it's Wii Sports.
"I am sure I am not the first grown person to go buy a Wii to save their real game system from the little ones or just get the kids a video game system that will not bankrupt the family budget," he told me. "I would be willing to bet that accounts for a large portion of the Wii install base right there. All of our kids [are] learning to play video games standing up and twisting and waving around like crazed (well) kids. Which is a lot better than being a couch potato like their parents."
We already know that, right? But here's where he blew my mind.
"In the near future my sons are going to get tired of Mario and be ready for Call of Duty and SOCOM," he said. "They are very smart and will know the difference between that little box with its poor graphics and the PS3/360. But they will have no idea how to play a video game sitting on the couch and mashing buttons. They are going to want a gun that recoils and moves with them. They are going to want to dodge and duck and strafe with their bodies, because that’s the way [they] are learning to play today."
He could be on to something here.
While the vast majority of games are still built upon our classic conception of the game controller, the Wii introduced a new direction. Microsoft and Sony are following Nintendo's lead, albeit in different ways. While it's unlikely the idea of a physical controller will completely disappear, when you think about the rabid consumers who will be supporting the industry in 10 years, it's these kids playing Wii.
"In ten years I'm going to be telling my kids about the old days when all video games were played by sitting on the couch and pressing buttons," he joked. "They are going to make fun of me and call me an old man."
You know what, though? That's not a joke. That could very well happen. Does it scare you?
Have something to share and don't feel comfortable in the comments? Have a news tip? E-mail me.