E3 2009: The motion control war

Motion controls logo

With the wii sadly having a great success with the sales we’ve entered what I would like to call the motion control wars. Motion control is what the name suggests, it’s a control using your motions and add it to the game somehow. Nintendo introduced motion controls with the wii and it made the casual crowd go crazy about videogames. Apparently the casual crowd has more money than us gamers. So anyways this year the other two big compaines Microsoft and Sony jumped on the train to easy cash  and all of the big three added something that would enhance motion controls.

Im going to split it into Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo and tell you about them with the pros and cons.


First up we have the obvious one, Nintendo. They introduced the wii motion plus wich is a small addon for your wiimote and it’s supposed to make it more accurate and more responsive. To play the game Red steel 2 you need one of theese or else it wont work. I really don’t see any pros in this case, I mean it’s another friggin addon you have to pay your hard earned money for just to play the games they are releasing. It kinda feels like Nintendo didn’t make the wiimote proper the first time and they needed to release an addon just to make it work like it was supposed to from the start. Weak nintendo..

Nintendo needs to make more game that uses the motion control without it being a sucky minigame collection.. Again..


Microsoft’s vision was more about not having any controllers at all and just playing with your body (hehe). Showing some interesting demo of a girl playing with balls (Im on a roll today) in a 3d enviorment. They call it Natal and it seems to work pretty good. Even though the guy doing the demo said the avatar was following him perfectly when it just twitched around like he had boneitis. Yeah I get it it’s a prototype bla bla. This demo impressed me until I realised that if I had to play that crazy ass game kicking balls I had to jump around and stuff. First things first: Gamers isn’t usually the best at sports, the sooner you realise this game compaines the better. Second: My apartment is a pretty decent size and I can’t really see myself having the space to jump around playing games. So my though was that maybe they are just targeting people that owns their own house with a big living room wich has the sofa placed directly in front of the TV.

Anyways I was impressed by it all, but then they had to ruin it all by inviting the most annoying guy ever to the stage also known as Peter Molyneux. You know the guy who made fable and lied about it being a free game and whatnot. Lionhead was apparently working with a “game” where you control a little boy called Milo. My impressions of this “game” was very mixed. I mean it was cool to see the boy react to all the stuff the firl in the video was doing. Then I asked myself: “Why is this being made, and who wants a scary virtual little boy that you can talk to?”. If they aren’t targeting pedophiles and lonely people that needs a friend, I don’t really know.

Microsoft has a huge advantage of removing controllers completly but they just need to make something more interesting than a copy of eyetoy to make it all work. Controlling the menues on the dashboard with handmotions can get boring after a couple of minutes.


Sony had something wiimote ish looking to show up at their press confereance.  Out of the three this one was my favorite. We didn’t get to know much about the ps3 motion control but it looks like it’s a hybrid of the natal and the wiimotes. It was very accurate just like the Natal but it had buttons just like a wiimote wich can be an advantage in this case.This makes it easier to apply it to a normal game instead of a party gimmic game. In their demo we got to see a guy controlling an RTS, Swordswining and arrowshooting. It felt like this was a pure prototype and im hoping to see more of it soon.

If all the companies wants to make this motion control work they need to apply it to games instead of making games around the motion control. If you think about what Microsoft said about the normal controller being a barrier, it feels like the motion control is a barrier to make good games. A normal controller is something we had since the 80’s and it still works. The tech is very young and I bet that after a while they will get it right but not this gen.

Who will win this war? Noone because my spidey sense is saying they will all go to the dark side and make casual workout games.

// Akira_san

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