Just a few days back I was at Dubai Festival City and had the opportunity of visiting the awesome pavilion set up by Sony and Microsoft for the launch of their answer to a common enemy – The Nintendo Wii. The Wii not only revolutionised gaming in terms of bringing movement to the games literally, they also made video gamers have physical exercise, which they so called “cool” guys craved for and had stayed away from previous gaming experiences with the Xbox 360 or the Play Station 2/3.
Video games have come a long way from the original PacMan or the Prince of Persia that we remember playing with the TV and cartridge based games. Games have now made us engross in ways we cannot imagine, and now they are to surprise us more, within the next five years any firm concepts of what constitutes a computer game will require radical revision. In fact, in time for this Christmas, there is the launch of new motion control systems for Sony’s PlayStation 3 and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 consoles.
Although the Nintendo Wii has used motion tracking for four years, the new devices are noticeably more sophisticated: PlayStation Move still involves a hand-held controller, but a player’s movements can now be tracked in 3D space with incredible precision using its own “Eye” camera placed near the screen. The Xbox Kinect is a wholly hands-free device that employs a camera and infrared depth sensors, translating any movement into game action. Both systems also feature microphones that allow voice input. I did an intro of the three types of controllers and you can check it here.
In this future, there will be detective games in which players verbally interrogate computer-controlled characters who themselves respond differently to an aggressive tone or placating physical gestures. Realistic relationships in games will emerge, with players having to charm intelligent artificial beings. I saw this kid playing with a lion cub on screen that was really interesting and I would have loved to do it as a kid.
The more games that I started seeing that were on display, the more I started to love the Microsoft Kinetic. I am an avid PlayStation fan with the graphics on the cell processor of the Playstation 3, the range of game titles and all of the experience totally. But in the world of motion based games, not holding on to anything beats holding to a black stick with a red globe at the top to track. I am really unhappy that Playstation did not come up with something as cool as the Kinetic, even more unhappy that I have to sell my Playstation for an XBox in order to use the Kinetic. Damn, the older you grow the harder the decisions in life seem to get.