Scanning Twitter today, it occurred to me that if all the Pre-E3 rumors about Microsoft and Sony developing motion controllers/devices turn out to be true, then it'll be a massive case of misguidedly missing the point in both instances.
If these whisperings do pan out, it seems obvious that the only reason they'd be pursuing such technology is a direct result of the massive retail success of the Wii as a console. However, I think that trying to emulate such success is impossible—In my view, the Wii sold such absurd numbers of units based on three factors: the novelty of the motion controls, being the cheapest console out of the current three, and being able to leverage both of those qualities (in addition to the Nintendo name) into a fearsome "cool factor". The thought that adding motion controls to the existing consoles might be enough to translate into attracting new "Wii" players is absurd.
It's not as if people walk into an electronics store, and evaluate all three consoles and select the Wii because it delivers more accurate control or quality gameplay experiences that can't be replicated with a standard pad. They buy it because it's The Wii. If the Wii hadn't come along, those same people probably wouldn't even consider buying a console at all.
I absolutely admit that Nintendo played a smart game and captured mindshare not only of core audiences, but of people who weren't likely to be interested in videogames in general. That was their strategy from the start, and it worked brilliantly. However, I really believe that we are on the tail edge of the Wii bubble.
Any success based on a fad doesn't last, and while the Wii itself isn't quite a fad in the truest sense, its meteoric popularity is unsustainable.
Kids who want one likely have one, and don't have much buying power. Adults who were interested in its "IT" quality bought one, will drag out Wii Sports on the weekends and may play Wii Fit once in a while, but probably won't translate into the kind of game-buying customer that industry thrives on—especially with the amount of highly questionable shovelware that uninformed consumers will have a hard time filtering through. Serious gamers already have one alongside their Xbox 360s and PlayStation 3s, will play it when AAA titles come out, but are likely unimpressed with the quality and selection of software available.
The Wii was a case of superb marketing, impeccable timing, and being able to position itself as something that appeals to people who are traditionally not within the gaming sphere, but as a lifelong gamer, it leaves me absolutely unsatisfied and hungry for experiences that I can only find on the competitors' machines. Besides that, I find the waggling of the Wiimote to be annoying, and it remains to this day little more than a gimmick that feels shoehorned into a lot of places where it doesn't belong. The thought of new PS3 and 360 games going down this imprecise, waggly path is more than a little depressing.
I've said this before and I'll say it again—with the exceptions of the Trauma Center series and light-gun style shooters, I have yet to see a single Wii game that seems superior with motion controls. I mean, let's be honest here… Pretty much any game the Wiimote does could be done equally well or better with a regular pad.
Time will tell whether Sony and Microsoft participate in some reactionary keeping-up-with-the-Joneses, but I'm really not looking forward to having to jerk my controller in an upward motion to make Master Chief jump, or shaking it furiously to recharge my guns in the next installment of Ratchet & Clank.
I get quite enough of that nonsense already, thanks.
Find more on the Drinking Coffeecola blog.
Brad still loves Transformers, he's on Marvel Puzzle Quest when nobody's looking, and his favorite game of all time is a toss-up between the first Mass Effect and The Witcher 3. You can catch his written work here at GameCritics and you can hear him weekly on the @SoVideogames Podcast. Follow Brad on Twitter and Instagram at @BradGallaway, or contact him via email:
bradgallaway a t gmail dot com