By Jared Newman | Tuesday, May 5, 2009 at 4:36 pm
We’re just over a month away from the release of Wii MotionPlus, an attachment to the Wii Remote that adds much-needed precision. Two EA Sports games, Tiger Woods 10 and Grand Slam Tennis, will be the first to show off the new technology, and hopefully they’ll be the antidote to Wii Sports’ heartless wrist flicking.
But an opinion piece by Crave’s Jeff Bakalar, titled “Is MotionPlus too little, too late for Nintendo?” got me thinking. The article brings up a familiar criticism of some Wii games’ tacked-on waggle controls when simple button presses would do and wonders, without a definitive conclusion, whether motion control’s ship has sailed.
For me, at least, accurate swordplay and sports simulation — both ideas that currently exist in half-baked form — still sound like a blast. To answer the core question, though, Nintendo may have missed its opportunity to dominate that experience.
It depends on whether Microsoft and Sony unveil their own motion control devices in the near future. Rumors of motion-tracking camera technology coming to the Xbox 360, which we reported on in February, have surfaced again, and Sony reportedly has its own motion controller in store. Now that everyone’s expected to cough up extra money for a cool gaming peripheral, the playing field is level.
As year after year of dominant Wii sales suggests, the average buyer of Nintendo’s console either didn’t know or didn’t care about the Wii Remote’s lack of accuracy when making the purchase. In more dedicated gaming circles, however, you still hear talk of “1:1” control — that elusive idea of seeing one’s gestures mimicked precisely on screen, no matter how complex. Nintendo may be working with a bigger install base, but I don’t think its customers will be more inclined to pick up a new peripheral than owners of the other two consoles.
Come E3, if motion control comes to the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, it’s anybody’s game. Best of all, the competition could inspire some great video games for everyone.