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The Future of Motion Control: Looking Forward To The PS Vita, Wii U and More!

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Posted October 26, 2011 - By Jonathan Deesing














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Playstation Move vs Microsoft Kinect: The Future of Motion Control

The concept of motion control has been embedded in every gamer’s mind since the first person jerked an NES controller in a desperate bid to keep Mario out of a pit. From there, various companies tried (and failed) to create a viable motion controlled game/system. It wasn’t until Nintendo released the Wii in 2006 that the industry finally realized there was a juicy new opportunity still ripening on the vine.

Only years old, the Wii’s influence has reshaped the face of the industry. What some see as a bubble—a fad at best—still resonates through the daily workings of video games. New motion controlled games promising to push the limits of the medium are announced with regularity. But just how far can it stretch? Will people continue to patronize games that make them get off their couch and dance around or will these games remain party favors?

To many people the future of motion gaming looks bright. After PlayStation and Xbox joined the fray with the Move and Kinect, it was all but certain that motion controls would be a staple in any major gaming platform. Realistically, the only way for motion controlling systems to succeed is if they host a number of great games. As such, the future of motion controlled gaming is in the hands of game developers as much as the customer. So put your right foot in and shake it all about while we tell you all about the future of motion gaming.

Sony Ships 1 Million PlayStation Move Units To North And Latin America

Move

Hosting possibly the most uninspired moniker in video game history, the PlayStation Move still has yet to host a title that draws significant praise. Its inclusions in regular console titles like Heavy Rain and NBA 2K12 represents a commitment—albeit minor—from major studios to boost up its limited usage. Unfortunately, the Move is still associated with words like “incorporate” and “support” leaving all of us waiting for a great Move exclusive.

Although most studios seem to be hedging their bets by producing games that are playable on with either the Move or standard PS3 controller, folks with a Wii Remote Move wand collecting dust shouldn’t worry quite yet. At E3 this year, Ken Levine announced that BioShock Infinite will include limited Move support and with what we’ve seen so far of the gameplay, this may turn out to be insanely cool. With the PlayStation 3’s power, I wouldn’t be surprised if bigger studios who have given up on the Wii’s lackluster hardware won’t try their hand at adding to the paltry collection of Move-exclusive titles. There is a lot of potential in the Move, but don’t expect to see anything significant from it over the next year.

Defining feature: Being tied to the monster machine that is the PS3 alone ensures that the Move has endless potential.

 Playstation Move vs Microsoft Kinect: The Future of Motion Control

Kinect

While the Kinect was a large gamble for Microsoft, it’s on the cusp of being appreciated beyond a simple party favor. Sure, dancing around the living room is fun, but I don’t see Michael choosing Dance Central over Arkham City anytime soon. However, Twisted Pixel’s most recent title The Gunstringer proved that with a little creativity—and a whole lot of lying— the Kinect has quite a bit to offer developers.

The Kinect is subject to the same rules as all other consoles and needs a steady stream of good titles to remain afloat. Fortunately for Microsoft, they have a much more reliable upcoming schedule than the PlayStation Move. Likely the biggest Kinect-only title on the horizon is Fable: The Journey, the fourth installment in the Fable series. The fact that Lionhead Studios is entrusting their beloved IP to the Kinect speaks volumes for its future. Other studios like Double Fine have also more than dipped their toe into the deep end. And even the upcoming Halo: CE remake promises to use Kinect support. Hardcore gamers won’t be stuck prancing around their living room much longer. If all else fails, Microsoft can just sell the leftover systems to, you know, brain surgeons or something.

Defining feature: The Kinect seems to garner greater developer support than just about any other motion control system on the market.

Wii U E3 2011

Wii U

Having the distinction of being the most ubiquitous motion control machine—and perhaps video game console—in the world, the Wii’s name alone is guaranteed to give the Wii U a massive jump on competitors. However, the Wii’s ongoing identity crisis regarding its audience may result in Nintendo once again dropping to third place in the market share.

Fortunately, the number of high-profile badass titles promised for the Wii U almost guarantees at least its initial success. A port of Arkham Asylum may turn out to be pointedly awesome and an unnamed Assassin’s Creed project from Ubisoft is sure to wow people. If Nintendo can manage to keep the price of the console reasonable, it will stand a decent chance of recovering the core gamers the Wii worked so hard to alienate.

Defining feature: Once again, Nintendo has made the most unique controller on the market. Whether it’s fun to use is yet to be seen.

iPhone 4S Details

iPhone

Being fundamentally opposed to anything Apple; I still can appreciate just how incredible of a machine the iPhone 4S is. Vastly improving upon the iPhone 4’s graphic chip, Apple believes the newest iPhone can produce graphics seven times faster than before. Further, the A5 processing chip promises to make the phone up to twice as fast.

So it’s an incredible piece of hardware, but can it game?

The short answer is yes. The iPhone 4s’ capabilities as a phone that can do everything logically make it a video gaming device that can do anything. Taking a much more aggressive approach to making the iPhone gaming device, (that is to say beyond Fruit Ninja and Angry Birds) Apple is counting on the success Chair Entertainment’s Infinity Blade saw. Further, Gaming Center is set up in such a way likely to attract larger studios to the iOS side of the Force. Add to this a touch screen, motion sensor, and voice control—something drastically underutilized in other handhelds—and you have yourself a serious gaming machine.

Defining feature: You probably have one in your pocket right now. No? Check again.

Nintendo 3DS Getting An 'Ice White' Color Option In Japan, No Word On U.S.

3DS

Following a significant price drop, Nintendo has filled more and more pockets with 3DS (3DSes?). It’s not surprising that at $169, the impressive handheld has moved as many units as it has. What is surprising, however, is the lack of good games to keep people from just throwing it under their bed. An unfortunate amount of large studios have cancelled titles that could have been the turning point for the system, including an Assassin’s Creed title and a Saint’s Row game.

Unfortunately for those who just dropped some coin after the price reduction, the 3DS doesn’t look very promising. Though dozens of games have run the3DS gauntlet, none have come out very clean. Further, none have really made an effort to exploit the motion control offered by the system; instead myopically concentrating on its 3D aspect. Perhaps the 3DS will someday excel as a handheld. But as a motion controlling system? Don’t hold your breath.

Defining feature: Nintendo has its hands on a lot of great IPs and you can’t really go wrong with a Pokémon or Mario game.

PS Vita

PS Vita

Having just been given a release date, the PlayStation Vita is hot on everyone’s minds, as well it should be. The Vita is quickly shaping up to be the motion control handheld of everyone’s dreams. With a front and back camera, gyroscope, touchpad and monster processor, its uses range from portable console to video chatting machine. The touchpad and motion sensor give the system even more options for buttons and controls than a standard console controller.

The PSP already has a strong history of great games so at the very least, the Vita can just be used as a PSP with video chatting, 3G, and web surfing. If no one makes a single game for the system it will still be worth buying. But the icing on the cake is the very real potential for augmented reality games utilizing the Vita’s camera, microphone and spectacular graphics.

Defining feature: The Vita has all of the tools in its belt to create some seriously cool augmented reality games. Say hello to defending your home town from space invaders.

Razer Hydra

Razer Hydra

Representing a smaller but still significant segment of the motion control industry, the Razer Hydra controller has the distinction of being the only major PC motion controller. Utilizing two controllers tracked by a small magnet, the Razer Hydra provides a surprisingly natural and confortable alternative to a mouse and keyboard. Using buttons as well as actions makes for a sharp learning curve that, once surpassed, is easy and fun. The Razer is optimized for over 100 current and upcoming PC games including big titles such as Portal 2. If there is to be a future in motion controllers for the PC, Razer Hydra may just be it.

Defining feature: It’s just about the only show in town for PC motion controls, and an upcoming wireless version is just that much better.

Nationally unacclaimed freelance writer Jonathan Deesing has been writing about video games for dozens of weeks. His professional knowledge ranges from skiing to Peruvian history and of course, anything with buttons. If you can't get enough of his musings, check out his Twitter feed.

 

The Future of Motion Control: Looking Forward To The PS Vita, Wii U and More!
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