Yesterday we talked about the evolution of motion controlled gaming and its future. Today we wade through the technical jargon to give you a comprehensive comparison between the Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360’s Project Natal, and the PlayStation Move for PS3.
The Wii was what started the motion control phenomenon. It’s been around for three years now and although it still offers a compelling gameplay experience, it would be unfair to compare the technology it employs to the competition, who have had a lot more time to develop their tech. At the core are the Wii remote or Wiimote, and a sensor bar which sits in front or on top of your TV. The Wiimote features a 3D accelerometer that helps locate its position in a 3D space, optical sensors that allow it to be used as a pointing device, as well as standard buttons and a directional pad. A secondary controller, the Nunchuck, features an analog stick and is connected to the Wiimote via a cable. It also features an accelerometer, but lacks optical sensing. In 2009, Nintendo released the Wii MotionPlus, a Wii remote accessory that improves the accuracy and responsiveness of the controller.
Although the Wii can technically sense motion in a 3D space, not many games, including Nintendo’s first party titles, have been able to detect the depth of the controller’s location. This means that, while it can detect up and down movements, front and back movements aren’t accurately detected. This is evident in games like Wii Sports, where in a game of tennis, players can easily get by by just flicking their wrists rather than swinging their arms back and forth to mimic realistic tennis strokes.
But while the Wii may be slightly lacking in the tech department, Nintendo has more than made up for it through innovation via accessories like the Wii Balance Board, which has been a phenomenal success with games like Wii Fit. Another accessory, the Wii Vitality Sensor, is scheduled for release this year. Then of course, there’s the software support, which has been stellar, particularly Nintendo’s first-party offerings. And with the massive user base worldwide, third-party developers have also thrown all their support behind Wii game development.
But perhaps the biggest testament to the Wii’s success is how Nintendo’s biggest rivals – Sony and Microsoft, are desperately trying to play catch-up by introducing their own motion tech. And who knows, by the time Sony and Microsoft finally join the party, we may well see Nintendo announce the Wii’s successor – the heavily rumored Wii HD, to once change the rules to the game that they invented.