For and Against: Motion Control • Page 2

Whose side are you on?

Nintendo saw all this coming. As early as E3 2005, company president Satoru Iwata began to preach that any growth we were seeing in the games industry was false, and unsustainable within current models. He knew it was a swell that would soon flatten into a placid sea of risk-averse sequels.

This, in turn, would shrink to a puddle of miserably obtuse control systems and impenetrable game mechanics, one which deflected all but the most dedicated attempts by new consumers to join in. It was already happening in Japan and would spread.

Wii was an attempt to correct this decline by focusing on simple, accessible ideas that satisfied the broadest audience possible. Fittingly, it was a design philosophy that owed a lot to the late Game Boy architect, Gunpei Yokoi.

He saw that using cheap and hardy technologies to build fun toys was a great business model. This new focus rejuvenated Nintendo and helped inspire Microsoft and Sony, both of whom were thinking in similar directions.

We need more motion control or, rather, we need more disruptive technology that creates new paradigms.

Activision may have made $1 billion in revenue from Call of Duty: Black Ops, having already sold more than 20 million copies of Modern Warfare 2. But if I were Bobby Kotick I'd be depressed, because his company and most of his competition only seems to have one business model: do a thing, and if it's successful then flog it to death. Call of Duty is a bubble and Kotick's not an idiot he knows they burst.

As Activision has demonstrated already this month, outside a few key franchises the traditional games industry is struggling. While the numbers may look healthier in places, boxed product is stagnating, creatively and commercially. Heavy Rain and Deadly Premonition may have been the only two daring releases in the whole of 2010, but between them I doubt they made money.

We shouldn't be excited by the scale of Call of Duty's business; we should be worried about it. It's leading the sprint toward an imagination vacuum. Everything is already a sequel. We now fall off our chairs if the latest instalment in a favourite series has the fortitude to do anything remotely different.

And if there's no real variation between the games, there will be no real variation between the gamers. It doesn't matter if there are 10 million, 100 million or a billion of us - if we're all that squeaky kid calling you a prick on Xbox Live, gaming will stop being a creative medium and become another variation on razors and razorblades.

Motion control along with other technologies which force or inspire designers to think differently, such as Facebook, 3DS and smartphones isn't a waste of money. The investment which goes into it would not be better be spent on a new Mario game or a new Halo.

Innovation and things that are designed to inspire are the last scions of creativity. We need them. Otherwise there won't be any new Marios or Halos, because gaming won't survive.

So yeah, buy Kinectimals. And vote motion control.

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