Controllers to define consoles in future?
Are graphics still important?
Consoles and videogames will be defined by controllers in future, rather than graphics, according to the head of a videogame development firm.
Alex St John, CEO of PC gaming firm Wild Tangent, made the claim at a recent gaming conference in New York. He also stated that, out of the Wii, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, only the Wii is profitable because it uses “off the shelf components” and is “differentiated by an input device,” namely the Remote and Nunchuck.
The Wii is still console king in the US, according to recent sales figures from market watcher NPD. Although sales of the Nintendo console dropped by less than one percentage point between March and April in the US, a massive 714,000 units were sold during the period. In contrast, 188,000 Xbox 360s and 187,100 PS3s were sold during in same time.
St John added that videogames like Rock Band and Guitar Hero are selling particularly well because, instead of using a standard PS3 style controller, the games are “defined by a new type of input device”.
Could this be the Xbox 360's next controller?
It has already been rumoured that Microsoft is secretly designing a Wii Remote-style motion controller for the Xbox 360, which could appear in stores in time for Christmas.
Speaking at the same conference, Kathy Vrabeck, president of Electronic Arts Casual Entertainment, said that the Wii has sold so well because its controller set-up makes the console appeal to a wider audience.
“Talk to any Mum…and they've played Wii bowling and they did all the Wii sports and now all of the sudden it is a console that is also for them,” added Vrabeck.
Register Hardware’s a little sceptical that a console’s controller will be all that defines it in years to come. Grand Theft Auto IV, for example, sold almost 1m copies during its first five days on sale in the UK, despite the Xbox 360 and PS3 offering little more than in-game thumb-pad navigation.
Will videogames developers and console manufacturers need to get traditional gamers up off their sofas and using ‘unique’ controllers to shift units in future? Or, will the appeal of shooting down a helicopter or driving a car with nothing more than a green button and thumb-pad always be enough for some gamers?
Register Hardware wants your thoughts.
Microsoft is already trying to steal the Wii's inovative idea.
Whats wrong mickeysoft, cant innovate yerselves.
Wii's great, but we still need "proper" controllers...
I have all 3 of the next gen systems, and each one has its merits. I love my Wii, but for more traditional games (ie FPS), the controls just dont work well. Metroid played well, but i was wishing i could just plug in a wired 360 controller through most of it.
Strange controllers have appealled to the masses for a long time - light guns, guitars, microphones, buzzers, webcams. Theyve all had some degree of success, but what singles out the Wii as a *real* success is that it is actually pretty versatile - you can use it for bowliing, you can use it for golf, for a FPS (although not as well as a "proper" controller). Try playing Ratchet and Clank with a PS3 guitar.
The key to these bizzare contraptiosn sellign so well is that they sell an experience which can only be achieved without a conventional controller - half the fun of Guitar hero is looking like an Air Guitar maestro, where that woundnt really work with a regular controller.
However there are still plenty of us "hardcore" gamers who still like to play GTA4, Halo 3, MGS4, and for those games, the sturdy old controller is best.
Perhaps the key is to make all controllers a lot cheaper. One of my pet hates is when you buy your Eyetoy and then theres only 3 games available and 2 are rubbish. If the hardware was cheaper then I wouldnt mind so much that the package cost me the price of 2 games, just so i could wave my hands like a moron. But then I'd end up with a house full of tat, so maybe thats not the answer after all.
Nintendo have merely shown that theres a great untapped market out there, now everyone needs to figure out how to access it - creating a wiimote for the 360 is not enough!
I own a Wii
And find it to be the only console that ever actually appealed to me.