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Talking Point: How Important Are Motion Controls to the PS4?

Posted by Sammy Barker

Move it

It wasn’t so long ago that the industry was obsessed with motion controls. Believe it or not, PlayStation Move and Kinect were the key topics of discussion in 2010, with both Sony and Microsoft locked in battle over the affection of the casual gamer. But while the PlayStation 3’s saucily shaped solution never quite managed to match the success of its closest competitor, it still shipped an impressive 15 million units during its first two years on the market. The question is: are motion controls still important to the PlayStation 4?

We can already assume that the Kinect will play a big part in Microsoft’s upcoming console plans. Rumours suggest that the Xbox 360’s successor will ship with an enhanced version of the depth tracking sensor, making it a pivotal part of the next generation platform. Bundling the peripheral will ensure that the manufacturer gets more use out of the unit – but is that necessarily what consumers want?

Ask any core gamer and they’ll give you an emphatic response. Motion controls have become the punching bag of the industry over the past few years, with message boards and parts of the media lamenting the inaccuracies of the solutions on offer. However, few can deny that they’ve been a strong source of revenue, with the Nintendo Wii in particular profiting from an audience traditionally terrified by the prospect of playing video games.

As the industry grows, appealing to a larger demographic is becoming increasingly important. There is a narrative that suggests that Sony should target its next system at core gamers and core gamers only, but we’re not entirely convinced that we agree. Games like God of War and Uncharted will always appeal to a broad subset of the market, but they will never encourage families to part with their cash. As such, the PS4 will need to find new ways to find its way into casual consumers’ homes.

Of course, it’s rumoured that the system will ship with an upgraded PlayStation Eye, tentatively dubbed the ‘Dual Camera’. According to leaks, the peripheral will include a pair of wide-angle lenses, supposedly capable of capturing images at 720p. The upgrade will apparently allow the device to perform precise head and hand tracking, though it’s unlikely to replicate the depth qualities of the Kinect. The unit will also purportedly possess four microphones, providing it with the option to execute more menial tasks such as voice recognition.

While the camera alone will probably be adequate for most casual compilations, it may suffer from the absence of the Kinect’s infrared sensors. But that’s where the recent PS4 controller's prototype leak is so interesting. As previously reported, the handset features a light on the upper surface of the device, which could be used in a similar fashion to the existing PlayStation Move. The primary problem with the solution is that it will require the controller to be held at a particular angle to operate, but perhaps with the combination of improved accelerometers, Sony has found a way around this rather obvious issue.

Irrespective of the solution, we firmly believe that motion controls need to be an option. Sony will not want to give Microsoft and Nintendo free reign of the casual market, and thus it will require a solution of its own. While the popularity of franchises such as Just Dance and Zumba may have diminished in recent years, the idea of PS4 not offering those experiences at all is simply unthinkable. Consumers will need to know that the system is capable of playing a wide spectrum of games, and not just those that involve placing crosshairs over burly foes.

Of course, there’s nothing that says motion controls can’t be well implemented into core games, too. If the platform holder has managed to successfully marry the functionality of a traditional controller with the accuracy of the PlayStation Move, then we could see some interesting supplementary mechanics being incorporated into games. Imagine thrusting the device forward to push a switch, or using the unit as a pointer to quickly select items from a menu. Both are gimmicky ideas, for sure, but combined with the controller’s rumoured touchpad, we’re sure that more intelligent designers will happen upon some interesting ideas.

What’s most important is that the functionality is on offer for those that want it. We don’t expect motion controls to play a particularly prominent role in the PS4’s launch offering, but we think that it would be an oversight if the system didn’t ship with some sort of solution built in. The market is simply too large to ignore the requirements of mainstream gamers, and products such as the Wii have proven that motion is a method for drawing them in.

Do you want motion controls to play a part in the PS4? (31 votes)

Yes, I like to move it

45%

I'm not really fussed either way

35%

Keep your cameras and wands away from me

19%

Please login to vote in this poll.

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User Comments (15)

hydeks

#1

hydeks said:

yup, I like to move it!! (first vote, wahoo!) I like PlayStation Move cause unlike Nintendo, they don't try and put it into games that make no sense to have the feature :P Plus the playstation move games they do have out are pretty fun and impressive.

Ps4all

#2

Ps4all said:

Keep your cameras and wands away from me! Lol, i how if they do decide to add motion controls that it is beret implemented than the vita stuff, less qte please!

charlesnarles

#3

charlesnarles said:

Sixaxis is, evidently, used solely for balancing on a beam placed over a gap (uncharted, downpour, etc). I'd love to see more imaginative uses of the tech that wouldn't necessarily even make sense in other games' contexts. Maybe even counterintuitive "puzzles", just about anything other than fable's magic whip thing. I've never used Move, but I want stuff like "left hand shield right hand sword" games that have real time responsiveness. 1st person Star Wars saga games w/ lightsabers etc would be so much fun. Please give us the break apart controller..

Valky

#4

Valky said:

So far I have tried the Kinect from a friend, in short, it's absolutely the most useless thing I have ever tried. It left me quite a bad feeling about those kind of devices. Still, I see what Nintendo did with their Wiimotes, and I understand those things can play a nice role, but I wouldn't say just "for casuals". Sony definitively needs to support motion devices more, (and by that I mean something not aimed for childrens like "Wonderbook"), there is space for improvement and their decision to bring motion devices straight with the PS4 could be a good thing.

As a core gamer I want to be surronded with devices for my core gaming needs, only then I can witness the success.

Jaz007

#5

Jaz007 said:

I want the PS4 to continue using the PS Move I own the Move and its great technology thats very capable. I'm ok with a new camera, heck I support a new camera but don't make a new Move Cause I don't want to buy new controllers for it. I would support a new navigation controller though that is more capable and that the camera will pick up on. Great games that really use this stuff are far between thought. The Wii motion plus gas two really, Skyward Sword and Red Steel 2. The move still lacks that great game.

Splat

#6

Splat said:

I have had my PS3 for over a year and never owned/played move and don't really feel like I'm missing out.

If it came with the PS4 I would use it I'm sure, but wouldn't drop extra money to get it.

rjejr

#7

rjejr said:

Of those 15 million Move controllers sold - how many hours were used for movement games and how many hours were spent playing FPS? I know we played Heroes on the Move and Carnival Island but we never play FPS in our household. We played the Sorcery demo and decided against the game.

I saw 1 photo of the new controller and the top lighted section - I prefer "reflective" b/c thats what it looks like to me - was slighted bulged out and curved from top to bottom. This would mean you wouldn't need to keep the controller pointing straight at the eye to be seen, you could probably do 45' up or down. I don't think this is meant for Movement, it's meant for pointing like the front of the Wiimote. The Move's will still work for Zumba, but the new controller should work for Beat Skectcher.

bauckster

#8

bauckster said:

I'm for it. I like diversity in my gaming. Move is good for dance/fitness games. It can also be a great alternative way to play more "hardcore" (although I really hate that label) games. Anyone try Portal 2 or Infamous 2 with Move controls? While it may not appeal to everyone, for me motion controls make these games more immersive and awesome. Not to mention rail shooters!

Ginkgo

#9

Ginkgo said:

What I like about Move is that when well implemented (1:1 tracking) it has great uses as a control scheme for Core gaming and is not just restricted to casual games. I still say that Resistance 3 played with the sharpshooter (on Hard) is one of the most immersive gaming experiences I have had.

Unfortunately too many Move enabled games (or just bad Wii ports) do a poor jobs of implementation, which detracts from the experience.

I do believe that motion controls are here to stay and will improve. I have seen footage of new technology similar to Kinect but with an accuracy that can track finger movements. You can literally play the piano in mid air. I don't believe that motion controls will replace more traditional controllers, most gamers just don't want to get off the couch that much, but it has a place and will only get better.

Absolutely Sony will be unveiling an "improved" motion control scheme with the PS4. My prediction, is it will have a new stereo camera that does Kinect but better, and also includes the Wands for when they are appropriate (I hope with an analog stick), PLUS it obviously has included some sort of tracking in the standard controller.

Savino

#10

Savino said:

Motion control are cool because finally I can play railshooters in my house!

MadchesterManc

#11

MadchesterManc said:

I bought a Move at launch. First games I used the Move with were MAG n RUSE. Since then Ive considered FPS games to be far better with the Move as the accuracy n fluidity in aiming are seriously beneficial. Id still be using the Move now but Sonys core games seem to have dried up this past year or so. For me Id rather have the Move as an option than not at all. As a core gamer it can be a great asset, but I wouldnt want to be forced to use it for every game

NathanUC

#12

NathanUC said:

I love Move for what it is and what it can do. I'm not convinced that putting a motion sensor on a dualshock is the best idea though. I'd rather see Move 2.0 with a joystick on the motion controller. I think the shape of the dualshock will make anything that requires actual motion too awkward and if it becomes a standard in games, re-calibrating (if even needed, who knows) would start to get a tiny bit annoying every time you launch a game.

BlueProxy

#13

BlueProxy said:

Agreed they pretty much have to have "something" that does motion. I think they added it to the controller so that each system sold will have it bundled in, vs risking people not buying a separate controller. Your more likely to try and even buy motion games if there's no effort or extra cost involved.

How are you suppose to hold it for motion control though? Seems a little weird holding with one hand, or two for the movements.

Zombie_Barioth

#14

Zombie_Barioth said:

I've never used Move before but I did enjoy the Wii's motion controls (when done right at least). While I don't find them to be that big a deal myself they certainly have their place. Aiming at the screen to fire weapons or use tools works great most of the time but as for the motion controls in my opinion they work best when use sparingly when they're not the focus of the game, some of my favorite uses have been the simpler movements like tilting or flicking the controller.

I don't see motion controls going the way of the dance mat, as the technology get better and becomes more affordable I think we'll see steady improvements.

coroum

#15

coroum said:

Move was the reason i bought ps3. I never play games other than move. Have my pc for other games.. Want my concole for its unique gaming.. If there is not motion controls implemented i dont buy ps4. I am sure many are like me

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