Saturday, 12 September 2009

One vision

I've been taking a keen interest, like most gamers, in the two new peripherals announced by Sony and Microsoft. Natal, at the moment, is too... ephemeral to be considered as a reality. Sure, I'm curious about it but, frankly, the recent displays have been a little bit too much smoke-and-mirrors for my liking. Must be great for the people developing for them at the moment, in much the same way as the initial EyeToy development was all those years ago. For me it still appears to be "just a camera" though. I'll need more show-and-tell from MS before I'll be able to decide on it.

Sony, on the other hand, have been much more transparent about how their "wand" works. Sure, it's just a Wii-remote style device that works with the EyeToy or PSEye but this is the sort of thing I've been saying that the industry needs for YEARS!

The Wii annoys me. People have branded me a Wii-hater for this but I have a deep love for Nintendo stretching back to the depths of my childhood. They were the ones who gave me my love of consoles. The Wii annoys me because its control scheme is horribly imprecise. Now that they've introduced MotionPlus it's become a much more attractive prospect and I've actually played games on it now that I have enjoyed! I don't feel like some kind of epileptic chicken, flapping for the sake of it. A step in the right direction.

Sony's wand is doing exactly the same thing but the demo that they gave at E3 and all the development videos they have given out make it appear to be the most one-to-one feedback relationships I've seen with a peripheral that wasn't a frickin' light gun. Augmented reality seems to work pretty well with just a basic camera nowadays so the added information provided by the rest of the device, well, it's going to be interesting to see what they can come up with regards to complementary software.

That's the rub, isn't it? I've seen plenty of peripherals come and go, and they live and die on the strength of their software. The Wii is something of a first in that respect: a console based entirely around a peripheral. It was either going to go extremely well or hideously badly for them.

Always nice to see a childhood friend doing well, even if you haven't really kept in touch.