UPDATE: Sony has also announced another motion control scheme for the PS3 today, which combines a camera with handheld controllers, which brings the motion craze to all three consoles. So I could probably change the subject to “How might motion controls in the console industry influence or affect the arcade industry?”
In case you follow news of what is going on in the game console world then you know that this week is E3, when all sorts of announcements for console and PC games come along and give us a general idea of what to expect on that front later in the year. Arcades don’t get any love at E3 but that is due to the fact that we have several trade shows throughout the year (which sadly are ignored by most game media which begs the question – could arcade makers showing up at E3 improve coverage?)
If you are following the E3 news today then you also know that Microsoft has thrown the gauntlet down in the motion controller arena against the Wii with their Project Natal device, which seems to be a jump forward in what Sony has done with their Eye Toy device. So the question I pose here is if successful, could Natal have an effect on arcades down the line and will that be a good or a bad effect or do you think that it will be too negligible to notice?
The reason I bring this up is because we have seen Japanese arcade companies blame the Nintendo Wii for suffering sales in arcades there and I have heard the same thing before here in the US. I have also heard that services like Playstation Network/WiiWare/Xbox Live Arcade also hurt us too but it is difficult to prove what effect all this has had on arcades and some say that what goes on in the console world has little effect as to what sales are like in the arcade industry.
Motion sensing is not new to arcades of course – it’s been around in one form or another since at least 1991 with the SU1000 Virtuality rings which included some motion sensing via a vest that the player wore. Konami has released a number of motion controlled games with their MoCap series (including the recently announced Mocap Sports) and titles like Police Trainer 911. But AFAIK we have not seen anything like Natal in arcades since that uses a camera and so this has me wondering – will anyone jump in with Microsoft to incorporate this new device into a coin-op game or will it be ignored? Is there a potential here for it to further decrease the novelty gap that arcades can hold over consoles due to controls? Of course, this all remains to be seen as it could be another gimmick that few people care about in the long run, especially if it doesn’t live up to the hype that Microsoft has so far created for it.
What are your thoughts?