Saturday, January 9, 2010

A Blatant Cure for Hardcore Motion Sickness

E3 2009 cemented motion technology as the new evolutionary step in video games. Nintendo was the first to realize the new products potential on the Wii, and is continually attempting to release innovative games. Tittles like Wii Sports and Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 have helped nurture the previously small casual group into the biggest potential market in the industries history. The system is fantastic family or party entertainment that just about anyone can enjoy—well almost anyone.

For the most part, hardcore gamers have ignored the Wii and motion technology. When you go past all the internet noise, and look at the root of the issue, hardcore gamers simply haven’t found that fun title. The hook that guarantees a games place in history, and makes nerds everywhere cheer. The classic example is Goldeneye and Halo’s effect on console first-person shooters. Now Microsoft and Sony are entering the motion controller era to claim their piece of the pie. Will Sony’s wands or Project Natal create that key game to usher in the hardcore market? Maybe even merge casual with hardcore like the music game phenomenon Rock Band or Guitar Hero.

To accomplish the mythical goal I just made up developers need to successfully transfer established genres over to motion tech. With Sony and Microsoft entering the market more developers should be brainstorming. Unlike Nintendo, the hardcore consoles know how to utilize third party companies. The fact that Valve is interested in developing games for Natal is a good sign for FPS. EA’s accomplishments in sports games will hopefully continue with innovative new releases on the 360 and PS3 (something more then roster updates). Action and hack/slash titles are another natural fit for motion tech. The Force Unleashed was a blast on Wii, but there always can be improvements. I would love to see Team Ninja or Ninja Theory take on a hack and slash title. Any fan of a specific genre should be able to imagine a game using motion technology. Project Natal doesn’t even use a controller! How cool would it be to play and RTS with verbal and physical commands?

The hardcore market will eventually submit as more and more companies experiment with motion technology. People will still complain, especially on the internet, but a small chunk of that noise is stubbornness. You can teach an old dog a new trick, but it takes time. As more open minded gamers discover the yet to be produced mega hit motion technology will become another established genre in its own right. I’m not suggesting the traditional game pad will disappear. I’m merely talking about an exciting new chapter in the history of video games.

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