When the Nintendo Wii first came out, lots of folks scoffed. After all, who in the world would buy a video game system that didn’t use those handheld game controllers with the little joystick and the buttons that video game players have been using for years?
You know the rest of this story of course. The Wii was a phenomenal hit. It didn’t just change the video game industry, it changed the cultural landscape. Everyone suddenly had to have a Wii. Video games were no longer just limited to teenage boys, but suddenly the whole family got into it. And unlike video games of the past where the only exercise would be to the thumbs, some of these video games actually worked out the whole body.
Well, the good folks at Microsoft and Sony finally got it. Last year, both of them announced their plans to update the Xbox and the Playstation 3 to support motion controllers.
Microsoft code launched a research project code-named “Project Natal”. Microsoft engineers are aiming to make a video game system that doesn’t use controllers at all. It’ll just use cameras and sensors.
Sony has decided to go a slightly more traditional route. They’ll use their existing camera system (the PlayStation 3 Eye) and introduce new wireless controllers with sensor lights on top which the camera will detect.
In all honesty, I’m a bit skeptical that Microsoft will be able to pull off a system without any controllers at all. If they can, more power to them. But this past week, Sony has already started demonstrating its technology, and it looks great.
So come Fall, there should be a lot of PS3 games using this technology. And as with the Wii, chances are we’ll see a lot of games that can be used for fitness and exercise. And I’ll be sure to review those games on this site.
As for the future, it’s anyone’s guess. Will Nintendo release other improvements to their motion controls? Will they release a high definition Wii system? Will Sony’s technology work? How about Microsoft’s? Whatever happens, I’ll keep you up to date with what I hear here.
And thus begins an exciting new journey. Stay tuned!