Two things that got a lot of buzz at E3 were the new motion sensing technologies that Sony and Microsoft debuted. While Microsoft’s Project Natal uses a new 3D camera, Sony will couple their existing PlayStation Eye with a new wand-icecreamcone-thingamabob. More-or-less, both concepts seem to be just pushing the envelope of what Nintendo has been doing for years with the Wii. While these things were the rage to a lot of people at E3, I’m personally not impressed. Yet.
After a long day at work, I want to lay on the couch and play a game -- with a controller. At least with the Wii there’s not too much crazy jumping around flailing around, depending on what games you play, or whether or not you’re using the Wii Balance Board. I play games to relax and unwind -- not look like an idiot. I mean, don’t gamers have a hard enough time looking normal, anyway?
Project Natal for me is kind of a nightmare. I don’t want some big brother camera to recognize me or some snotty kid to talk to. Why the heck do I need to use a air-steering wheel to play Burnout Paradise or jump up to smack balls around? I don’t get it. The Minority Report-style navigation could be interesting, but I think the more casual set grasping the Wii’s interface will be put off by moving their arms around to navigate through their Xbox 360 content. I don’t think it would bring new people to the party, either. This would honestly scare the crap out of my parents; they’d much rather use a simple remote – like the one that comes with the Xbox 360.
Sony’s tech seems much like an extension of the Wiimote scenario; at least it’s got an actual controller. But I need more than just silly whip tech demos to get excited about it. We saw examples, but it seems like it’s just the Wii’s concepts on the PS3. I’ve done that before. Sony, you’re going to have to show me why I need to have this and why this will make a game experience better and more fun.
Even with the Wii, there hasn’t been many games that have compelled me to play them on the Wii instead of the Xbox 360 or PS3. To Nintendo's credit, Wii MotionPlus has made Tiger Woods and Grand Slam Tennis more fun and much more accurate. I actually play those games. But I’d rather play Punch-Out!! with a Classic Controller, instead of swinging my arms around.
With both Sony’s and Microsoft’s motion concepts, they’re just demos. Show me real games. Developers are seemingly jumping on the bandwagon, but I don’t think it’s going to be anytime soon before there’s going to be a game that’s so mind blowing it makes the experience notably better. I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think it’ll happen next year.
And for those of you that think I’m just lazy, I work out 4-5 times a week, walk to work on a regular basis, bike all over the place, and actually like to get exercise. I don’t have a problem with getting my ass off the couch, I just want a good enough reason to do so.