Ken Levine claims waggle controls are not the future

Software mastery the key to motion control according to Levine

According to Ken Levine, co-founder and creative director of Irrational Games, the key to motion control is not about mindlessly waving controllers for the sake of having the feature, but to create software that can give it sense.

"I think the motion controllers are a bit of a reaction to the Wii," said Levine during a Q&A panel at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY on February 20. "And I think the question is for the guys making those, and there’s some very talented people working on those and there’s some very impressive pieces of hardware. But it’s gonna be about the software and can people figure out the experience that people have to have."

He then used Wii Sports bowling as an example of when software and motion controls come together to create a great game. He stated how the game was mostly asking players to use the same motions as they bowl, and that’s why it worked.

"It wasn’t about going up and doing backflips in front of you TV," said Levine. "It was something that was very simple, not embarrassing, and people already have that sense of performance when they bowl."

Levine stated that when they think about using motion control, developers need to ask themselves if they want to give players opportunities to do things everyone would like to do, but would normally feel silly doing, or if they want to do things that everyone is comfortable with. He also reiterated how mindless motion control commands in games are not the way to go by pantomiming shaking a controller in his hands up-and-down as a response to one of those commands.

"And that’s it," Levine said. "That’s not the future. But I think it’s all about figuring out that software, and is there going to be another zillion-dollar idea like Wii bowling or different idea than Wii bowling?"

For more on Ken Levine, check out GamerNode’s one-on-one interview with him and be on the lookout for a feature article on the entire Q&A panel sometime this weekend.


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Author: Mike Murphy View all posts by
Mike has been playing games for over two decades. His earliest memories are of shooting ducks and stomping goombas on NES, and over the years, the hobby became one of his biggest passions. Mike has worked with GamerNode as a writer and editor since 2009, giving you news, reviews, previews, a voice on the VS Node Podcast, and much more.

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