Ubisoft has been singing the praises of motion controllers, but insists it must become a standard feature of all consoles if it is to take off.
Ubisoft creative director Jason VandenBerghe gave a presentation at the GDC Europe event, in which he lavished praise upon motion controllers:
“Have you ever fucked up pushing a button? Binary input is like drag racing. You have to hit the accelerator and keep going in a direction and not turn. It’s not hard.
Then analogue control was introduced, and this sustained us for 15 years. It’s worked great. If button pushing is like drag racing, analogue input is like Formula 1. You’re still on a track, though, and there are still guard rails.
We’re in Baha buggy land with motion control. We can go wherever we like. There’s not even a finish line. Players can do whatever they want, and they do.
Motion control is profoundly different. It’s screwed up the entire industry! The most important feature is the absolute, utter lack of guard rails. This turns the human being holding the controller into the constraint, and this makes a designer’s life a living nightmare.”
Motion control must become an industry standard, he says:
“Things might suck now, but I think they’ll get better. If they put motion control standard in the box, suddenly the model expands. THAT is money.
My recommendation to you is that you should ship on multiple platforms. Nobody will want you to. Sony won’t, Microsoft won’t, Nintendo won’t. But the market will…
Many genres will remain unchanged, and some people will still not want to exert themselves. But if the hardware remains an add-on, motion control will remain niche.”
However, when talking about the commercial failure of one of Ubisoft’s most ambitious motion controller games he concedes that the vast majority of players are unwilling to move when playing a game:
“We had to ask ourselves: how many gamers are willing to move? I don’t know how many there are, but it’s no higher than 20 per cent. That’s actually probably optimistic.”
Motion controller proponents may yet find that the primary limitation on uptake of the new controllers will be the players themselves, many of whom are unlikely to take to controllers requiring them to flail around madly, stand up or limit their gaming to large rooms.