At the E3 conference, all three console manufacturers announced new motion sensing controllers – from Nintendo’s Wii-motion and Sony’s wand, to Microsoft’s controller-less Project Natal. Along with recent improvements in touchscreen technology, it’s reasonable to conclude control will change quite a lot over the coming months and years.
Here’s Microsoft’s promotional video for Natal
That looks pretty energetic to me! Like the Wii, I imagine this will be loads of fun, but won’t replace existing controls either – after all, wireless joypads allow you to play in a relaxed way, and sometimes that’s fine. As I wrote a while ago, I think if we treat new methods of control as replacements, we’re in danger of losing good things that aren’t broken.
I would be happy to have a touchscreen monitor, or one that I could manipulate with gestures. But as long as we still use writing, having a physical keyboard will be essential. Watching the PlayStation’s motion controller in action, it looks good, but a little inaccurate – it still looks a lot harder to pick stuff up on screen than it does in real life.
With some development though, it might be a nice way to interact with your Windows desktop. Using your hands to grab things on the screen and move them around would be cool. Personally, I think control from a distance is much more sensible for large devices. A touchscreen for my phone or laptop, but here in the office I wouldn’t want to be stretching to touch my screens all the time.
So far I’ve heard a lot about PC touchscreens but for me – and maybe I’m lazy – I like the idea of sitting back from a screen, so motion sensing controllers sound much more exciting. How long it takes for anything like this to be adapted for PCs or Windows is anyone’s guess though.