Get up or die?

Project Natal in action

Project Natal in action

We now reside in a time of life when exercise and nutrition are heavily endorsed. With millions of food products and technology clouding the society, health is being put aside. Video games are becoming ever popular due to the amount of money and advertising that is taking over our mindset.

Change began in the video gaming industry with the release of the Nintendo Wii. This once “next-generation” console (that which can be highly debated) raised the bar for motion control in video games. Some were skeptical before it’s release, but many began to see the targeted market the Wii was aiming for. Yes, there are still some hardcore games but most of the titles are movement based games. I’m not saying that hardcore games shouldn’t include motion control but they don’t need to rely on it to be entertaining. Many games don’t want to hold up their arm to be in range of the sensor bar only to be able to aim correctly in a shooter. This leads to people suffering from constant arm pain or a trip back to where they bought it from. Fun can be achieved with a party game which usually requires friends and family to allow continuous laughter and enjoyment.

E3 2009 unveiled Sony and Microsoft’s tickets into this craze of motion control with Project Natal and currently named, Playstation Sphere. Both are still in development but are directed towards the same demographic. Microsoft made a crucial decision to portray Natal as an add-on to most games, not a necessity. This means that the next Halo game won’t require you to pay the money for Natal just to be able to play it. If anything it will be an option for those who have purchased Natal to use its capabilities to enhance their gameplay experience. Sony’s idea on the other hand seeks the same use as the Nintendo Wii. Sony already tried to force the Sixaxis on us and it miserably ended up being a forgotten failure. If this follows suit I believe it will not be a successful product, because over 50% of their player base are hardcore gamers.

Wii Fit is an excellent excuse for buying a Wii and it’s success has been well noted. Peripherals like that are enjoyable and benefit those who take it seriously. Many people do daily excercise with Wii Fit because it’s simple and intricate. The excercise genre is popular but completely separated from the others. I am willing to accept that fact that there will always be these types of games with motion sensing consoles. Unfortunately I don’t think the developers of the Sphere and the Wii want their ideas linked only to getting fit.

Those who play a game for hours on end have no desire to stand up with arms flailing for ever. Sony and Nintendo need to take a look at Microsoft’s marketing view and build upon it. It’s obvious that people aren’t looking to spend $100+ next year to have the popular games completely divide themselves from the use of motion controlling. They want something that is fun to use, and not a hassle.

2009 has been filled with many blockbuster titles, even ones that entail motion control (ie Dead Space: Extraction, Madworld, and Okami). If you look at the top games for the Wii on any website though, most will be games that were multi platform and have little to none motion control. I think with additions like Natal and hopefully Sphere we will see a drastic change in this. We want to like motion controlling, we don’t want to dread it.

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