The Problem with Motion Controls

Everyone is amazed by the new technology coming out of E3.  The Kinect and the Move are really pushing the body as an input device in place of a traditional controller.  But, what if a controller would make the game better?

 What do you think about that, flailing Kinect lady?

We are in the gimmick stage right now as far as software goes.  The technology, as presented to us, has yet to be refined and mastered.  High quality products usually start being released about a year and a half into a new console's lifespan.  I'm expecting a similar timeline with the Kinect and Move.

One of the reasons everything is so gimmicky is because none of us have any kind of context for this type of game.  Someone jumps and their on-screen avatar jumps too.  Yay!  Amazing!  Oh My God!  It Works!  Ok... now what?  Does that make for a good game?  Does the appeal of flailing around last for longer than 10 minutes?  I really can't say.  No one, not even the press, has had much hands on time with the technology, so they can't say either.

The thing I'm really worried about is having Xbox 360 and PS3 software turn into Nintendo Wii software.  Have you looked at the things that come out for the Wii?  95 percent of the games are junk.  They're shovelware.  I would hate to see current AAA titles try to incorporate motion controls when they don't need them.  I'm afraid that our games are going to be diluted by the fact that everyone thinks they need to have motion controls to stay on the cutting edge.  Game series like Halo, Assassin's Creed, Mass Effect, and Fable do what they do well and they have an established formula that people love.  It would make me sad to see key series laying broken in a gutter a few years from now, all because they tried to incorporate motion controls.

I want to see developers starting brand new intellectual properties.  Don't touch the tried and true games, because core gamers will be pissed.  What they should do is create shiny new game universes where motion controls make sense.  There is already some evidence of this.  Lionhead games, the creators of Fable, haven't announced any motion controls for Fable 3.  Instead, they created a new game centered around interactions with an on screen person based entirely on speech, facial expressions, and body motions.  This is a prime example of what the industry should do.  Go to the drawing board and start a new game from scratch.

Whatever ends up happening with the Kinect and Move I think we will discover that companies who leave their key franchises intact will still have a massive audience of core gamers.  I would love to see new genres emerge because of our advances in technology.  But, in the end, as long as I don't have to look at rows and rows of shovelware titles at the store, I'll be happy.


  1. They still haven't said how it will be used. I really hope it doesn't messed up the main chunk of gameplay in Fable which is already fun.


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