One of the main surprises at E3 2009 was Sony's announcement of its own motion-sensing controller to compete with the Wii and Xbox's Project Natal. Late last week, Sony let developers in on some more details of the system. Here's a partial-picture of how the system will work, in bullet-point form:
- Scheduled to launch in Spring 2010.
- It will hit market with a "range of first-party and third-party content."
- The new controller functions "with any games across all genres from casual to core."
- The "face-tracking and head-tracking capability already in the PS3 SDK" will offer developers "powerful tools for new types of user interaction."
- Works in tandem with the PlayStation Eye's built-in microphone array for voice input and voice recognition.
- Up to four of the new motion controllers can be tracked at once by the PlayStation Eye.
- Sony is considering combining motion control wand and PS3 controller functions. Here's the example Sony offers; "the motion controller as a sword and use DualShock 3 as a shield."
- It will use a lot of the PS3's power: "motion-tracking library has some SPU overhead and has an impact on memory as well, although these will be minimized."
I wonder if Sony and Microsoft are heading towards a huge iceberg here. Yes, the Wii sold a lot of consoles, but maybe that was because home motion-controlled video games were a total novelty. Maybe people don't actually like flailing their arms around when they're gaming, aside from the initial rush of the first couple hours of play.
Personally, when I play video games, I move as little as possible, preferring to sink into the couch and zone out. That doesn't work with motion control, and I wonder if these new schemes are going to ultimately fizzle when they hit market. On the other hand, you can't deny the "party appeal" of motion controls!
What do you think? Is motion control really the wave of the future, or will we look back on Microsoft and Sony's experiments in a few years and laugh at the absurdity of them?