News Article

Miyamoto: You Need A Controller For True Immersion

Posted by Damien McFerran

Mario's dad isn't sure Project Natal is a step forward

Microsoft is pretty smug with itself right now. Project Natal has gone down a storm at E3 and the company clearly sees it as the 'next step' in motion control; holding controllers in your hand is so last year, dude.

However, Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto isn't so sure and insists that for true immersion you need to have something in your hand.

Speaking in an interview with Wired, the highly respected designer uttered these words:

I don't think I could create an experience that truly feels interactive if you don't have something to hold in your hand, if you don't have something like force feedback that you can feel from the controller.

Clearly he has a point - Project Natal surely cannot be as accurate as the Wii Remote, because Nintendo's option allows you to 'point' at parts of the screen and make precise selections. However, we're not sure it's necessarily as immersive as Project Natal has the potential to be; using your entire body to control a character is surely going to create a stronger connection with the game world than just swinging your arm around.

As always, your thoughts and comments are appreciated...


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User Comments (40)



Corbs said:

I'm excited about the Natal. But I do see his point. I too am still not sure how it will be to control a game with absolutely nothing in my hand.



Nathan said:

The Natal has potential. Could be really well done, you can still hold a wheel in your hands for racing games. Or you could use a gun-like peripheral for FPS. I don't see any problem with FPS with Natal, even though I've read numerous comments to the contrary.



Terra said:

I agree here. Natal has great potential but I often prefer to use a controller. It feels weird when i play a game that doesn't use a controller in the traditional sense

I wonder what Miyamoto thinks of Let's Tap.



y2josh said:

M-Soft will hype it beyond belief. It's gonna sale. I won't buy it though



Phalyn said:

I think the Natal project would be better served as a media tool for browsing, like it was shown in the last minute or so of the demo.
Of course its exciting to think about how advanced video games are becoming, but just because its new, exciting, and revolutionary, doesnt mean its going to work. The Wiimote was a huge gamble.
But, we'll see how it turns out.



get2sammyb said:

Natal will not work in the way they've showcased it. Yes, it will be fine for Eye Toy esque mini-games. Hey it'll be great for those type of games because the system can detect you and your movements better than any technology in the past.

But for playing games? I'm not convinced. And as for Milo... well... That wasn't real was it.



Damo said:

Milo was real - in as much as it's a very clever trick rather than being any kind of high-thinking AI.



TourianTourist said:

I totally agree with our mastermind. The Wiimote normally utilizes ingame equipment - like a golf club in WiiSports, the wheel in Mario Kart, a sword in Zelda or the Powerbeam in Metroid. The Wiimote becomes your weapon or your tool and it feels good. That's why I love playing with it so much...

Natal on the other hand ... how are going to play FPS games with it (which is XBox's main genre btw)? How do I perform sword fighting? It won't work or feel very awkward, because you're not holding something in your hands. Nathan said, using periphals would be a solution... but why not make a periphal in the first place? If I have to buy a periphal for every new game, it defeats the whole purpose of the system.

And you have to consider, the hardware is only as good as the software made for the hardware. What's Microsoft XBox's biggest hits? Epic won't create Gears of War 3 for Natal and Bungie won't create Halo 4 for this thing, because it won't work. There won't be a Final Fantasy XIII for EyeToy2.0. There will probably some cheap "casual games", but nothing as good as Wii Sports or Mario Kart. Nintendo's biggest strength is being a gaming software AND hardware developer, Microsoft and Sony aren't. They will both now fight each other for who has the better HD EyeToy, while Nintendo sailed a long time ago into a successful market.

What Microsoft is doing right now is hype, hype, hype. They are not going to release this thing in the early future and when they release it, it won't be anything like what we saw on this year's E3. The Windows Vista of motion controls. They didn't show us anything real, they could just have announced the Microsoft Holodeck for that matter. And they don't care, because the only thing they really want is to say to the customers "hey, hold on, don't buy a Wii, because we're making a better motion control system". They don't care about actually making a good motion control system, that works with games, because that's not their goal. Hype, hype, hype is their goal.



Machu said:

I can't wait to see someone playing GoW or Cod using that thing. Waggle is dead, flapping is the future!



warioswoods said:


Right on.

"Nintendo's biggest strength is being a gaming software AND hardware developer, Microsoft and Sony aren't."

Yes, I'd say that the difference is that, while Sony and Microsoft do have various divisions that produce software, they don't understand hardware and software as a fundamental unity. They still think of the console's hardware as a matter of features: shove as many features in as possible, a long list of technical capabilities, but without any kind of strategic unity. Since Nintendo is always already thinking on the level of software when creating their hardware, their hardware has a coherence and a vision that perfectly matches where their software is going. The Wii remote and Wii Sports are inseparable as two sides of one project, which is why it succeeded so much better than anything that will come out of MS or Sony.



J_K said:

I'm sure some will see it as a Nintendo suit picking on a threat, but if you take it from the fact he has been a game developer for nearly 30 years he makes a lot of sense. Natal is nice that it can track all your motions and realize who it is watching, but it can't work well for most genres. Sure a thing like a sports title could work out very well, some 'eye toy' like apps as well, puzzles easily enough, and perhaps some balance games (like monkeyball stuff) but there's too many that won't work. Sure in theory you could hold an arm out to pretend you have a gun, or you can hold two arms in the air together to fake a steering wheel. But does that really work? The arms would get tired just hanging there, and for a FPS let's say, how the hell will it know you're shooting, or what, with no selection possible. Do they expect you like MP Hunters to 'fake' touch screen the corner of the view area to select X piece of gear...balky for sure. It's a great idea, but there's so much it can way fail on while others it can work.

OH AND ON's real, but it doesn't work so hot for long. Brother is a game producer for a big 3rd party and he saw stuff and talked to others about it from the show and I think the longest MS has been able to keep it alive before it fails under it's own issues is 10days. After that long the AI can't handle itself and crumbles and needs a reset to square one so it's just a cute tech demo as is, not stable. I mean really it's an over glorified Alexa (or for old Sound Blaster owners) Dr Sbaitso. It just learns as you talk and then remembers stuff and can turn questions or ideas back on you as it acquires knowledge.



HappyHappy said:

I think Natal is just an Eye Toy copycat and will not be even near as fun as the Wiimote. The magic wand however, it might have a chance.



SupermarketZombies said:

I want to see a form of gaming interface that reaches all senses. Still no smell and very little has been done in the way of touch.



Noire said:

I have to agree with Miyamoto on this one. I need some kind of device that ties me to the machine, whatever form it might take. Without it, I don't think I'd be able to connect as well with it.



TJtheHeretic said:

i think he's right natal has a good idea but if all systems go the way natal is gaming won't be the gaming we used to know anymore and that is not always a good thing



theberrage said:

I disagree with Miyamoto and other Nintendo people in previous comments. I think that Nintendo is in denial. Natal looks amazing and makes the wiimote and motion plus look like a thing of the past



bbb7002004 said:

I think it's difficult to make a call either way since Natal is such an unknown at this point. Tech demos are great for hype, but until you see complete software, ones not carefully guarded by programmers keeping things up and running, it is impossible to say how well a piece of technology will work compared to another.

I do agree with what Miyamoto says in general though. Conceptualizing an imaginary object in your hand is actually a fairly difficult thing to do, making manipulation of objects and such less engrossing. Natal will work well for things that represent your body's movements themselves on screen, but nothing can replace the tactile feel of manipulating an actual object in your hand while you do the same in game. Take a tennis game for example. Playing on Natal will mean that the camera has to pick up every subtle movement of your wrists, and translate that accurately to your player to obtain the level of WMP. Along with that, you will have to imagine the racket in your hand, and how much of a twist will turn that imaginary racket, which is quite hard to visualize without some sort of controller present.



Objection said:

Natal has some impressive tech. That said, I don't think it is capabale of providing casual and hardcore (in this scenario, I'm referring to games that use it that are do this task and that task for the former, and games with stories and a campaign for the latter) like the wiimote/nunchuk combo can.



Kid_A said:

I think Natal is really awsome, but I also agree with Miyamoto. You're not getting any physical feedback with Natal, plus without a control stick or buttons, Natal's potential is really limited.



bestbuck said:

Personally I can't believe the hype. You'd think MS had just invented Gaming. All I can say is lets wait and see if they can create software to utilise it. The Wii has something the 360 will never have and that is Games made by Nintendo. Re; theberrage, go and play with your third party games on your 360 like a good little boy. I sold my 360 before it blew up and bought a PS3 a far superior Console



Hawker said:

As many Xbox fanboys as I've seen bash the wii because "they have to move to play games" I don't see Natal doing well. Just basing it off their fan base which seems to like to reinforce that stereotype of the fat, mouthbreathing gamer that would burn up in the sun.

All Natal is gonna attract is the casual gamers, which is what the xbox fanboys like to slam Nintendo for, casual games.

Be nice to throw that back in their faces.



theberrage said:

Actually, bestbuck, I have only ever owned nintendo products. I would play 3rd party games though if I had an XBOX. Being a nintendo owner, I havent seen many third party games in my lifetime, and the ones that I have seen sucked. It would be nice to have a system that actually releases good quality 3rd party games instead of 1-2 first party remakes(nintendo does that) a year



theberrage said:

Plus, I'm sure that if NINTENDO announced Project Natal at e3 you all would be creaming down your socks



Stuffgamer1 said:

If Nintendo had announced Project Natal, I'd think they'd lost it. I agree with Miyamoto full-heartedly; there's just too much you can't do without a controller in your hand. Even Sony realized this, but Microsoft clearly doesn't have a clue what they're doing except making impressive hardware that doesn't actually work for the vast majority of gaming.



Chunky_Droid said:

@theberrage: I'm a Nintendo fanboy true enough, but if they'd announced Project Natal as the next big thing I'd wonder why they're copying Sony all of a sudden.

It's a peripheral for a current gen system, and peripherals don't sell THAT much unless it's priced right. Wii Fit only sold well because Nintendo already had a casual fan base and tonnes of them were interested in a new form of exercise.

Microsoft is targeting Natal towards a bunch of hardcore gamers who constantly bash Wii for its motion control.

As for Sony's solution, they would've been smarter to hold their controller for the PS4, as it's not going to be cheap.



Philip_J_Reed said:

"Being a nintendo owner, I havent seen many third party games in my lifetime, and the ones that I have seen sucked."

You're either exaggerating severely to bolster your argument, or you haven't been gaming for very long.



bbb7002004 said:

If Nintendo would have come out with Natal this year, it would be complementing the Wiimote+WMP, a completely different story than Natal alone.

I do think the point is well made though, fans are quick to retract their opinions when something comes out for their system. Look at all the hullabaloo that the Conduit created for having "fancy graphics", and compare that to the "Graphics don't matter" mantra of the last three years.



hobbes said:

Even with the Wii, there are many good third party games, both in the current Wii catalog and the the Gamecube catalog. Between my Wii and gamecube discs (all of which were purchased after I bought my Wii) I have 11 third party titles and 10 first party titles and none of them are games that I consider bad games.



shogunhitokiri said:

Nintendo is not going to stick around in a red ocean. They will search for another Blue Ocean to explore. Nintendo is done with the "competing" and they are going to keep the disruption wheel spinning so they can define the industry, just like they did with the Wii Remote and software like Wii Sports and with the NES. Now look at what is happening, Microsoft and Sony step in after all the talk about how bad motion controls were and they are making their own versions, the only difference is they have to depend on third-party support while Nintendo makes video games as well as video game hardware. Besides, Microsoft and Sony will overshoot the market once again. What will Nintendo do to redefine the industry is the only question that really matters unless somehow Nintendo screws themselves which is what happened with the SNES, N64, and GCN but it seems Nintendo has learned from its mistakes.




I think that Natal is going to be marketed as a controller replacement for "some" games, such as fitness and sports titles but they will have to couple the experience with some sort of additional controller interface. Remember, the Natal tech was acquired by MS, just the same as they have done with most of their software products in the computing world. They purchased the technology and call it their own.

All MS and Sony have ever done is copy Nintendo's innovation. When it comes time to actually develop a game, they will most likely introduce an additional controller to add precision controls to Natal. And don't be surprised if it fits in each hand, just like Nintendo's remote and nunchuck. But by then, knowing Nintendo, they will already be introducing the next form of gaming control. History sure does repeat itself.



zeeroid said:

While I agree with a lot of the sentiment about how Natal is being a bit overhyped, I should say that it does have a fair bit of additional potential as well. Without going into any great detail, I can see Natal working in conjunction with a standard controller to add depth and immersion to traditional games. For example, imagine Natal analyzing/interpreting one's facial expression and temperament, and having implications in-game, ie, in an RPG. I'm not saying that is necessarily a good idea, but if you think outside the box a bit, there are a whole realm of other ways to use the technology, as opposed to simple hand-waving. Just a thought.



Kirk said:

Well it would seem to make sense that the combination of both would probably be the best solution then, no?

Isn't that pretty much what Sony has; a camera for picking up basic full body player motion (maybe not as sophisticated as Microsoft's but it still detects basic full body motion and stuff as Eye Toy did) and dual motion controlled controllers that as well as containing things like gyroscopes etc can also be tracked by the camera too?

It looks to me like Sony potentially has the best all round solution but that's just the way I see it.



bestbuck said:

@Hawker; I agree. I don't think MS know what there doing because they have being targeting the so called "Hardcore" gamer when this is much more aimed at the casual gamer.
@theberrage; I don't believe a word that comes out of your mouth. Your a total contradiction. And if you had a 360 which you have, you would have no choice but play 3rd party games because MS couldn't make a good game in a fit. Just look at rare, Since MS bought Rare they haven't made one good game because they haven't got Nintendo's expertise. Answer that!



NeoNight said:

If natal can scan an object and allow you to use it... you can use anything with it!



Chunky_Droid said:

@NeoNight: I would imagine it would only do so with some serious flaws. It wouldn't be able to pick up every angle of say the Hylian Shield I had crafted for me and make all its textures and crap on the fly.

I'd say it'd look at something like a skateboard and think "I know what a skateboard is!" and then put an already rendered skateboard in the game.



moosa said:

Okay guys let me make this easy...
Point number one:
With the Wiimote-style motion control concept, you're manipulating something on-screen by manipulating an object in your hands.
With the Project Natal-style motion control concept, you're manipulating something on-screen by just your body movements.
Now, consider how often in games the action on-screen involves your character manipulating an object in his/her hands (swords, guns, vehicle controls) versus how often in games your character is using only his or her body. Point being that it is more natural and immersive to control what your character is holding by manipulating something you're holding than it would be to pretend that you're holding something.
Point number two:
Imagine you're holding a toy lightsaber, and swinging it around would cause your in-game character to replicate the saber's movements exactly. With a held controller like the Wiimote, approaching this level of control over an object like the lightsaber is possible, because you simply manipulate the controller in the same natural way. Now, with a technology like Project Natal, and no held controller, there's a problem with this scenario. Not only would pretending to hold and manipulate a lightsaber without holding anything be awkward, It is simply not possible for such a technology (in this day and age) to detect the subtle movements and nuances of the hands and angles of the arms and joints that would transfer into the precise movement of the weapon. As an example, if you hold a Wiimote by the butt in three fingers, with the nose facing down, and make a tea-stirring motion with your wrist, the Wiimote (or a similar technology) would quite conceivably be able to read that motion of the controller. However, performing the exact same motion with nothing in-hand in front of a Project Natal sensor, and there's no way the system could pick up the same motion. Even if it was sensitive and powerful enough to accurately pick up the subtle motions of your hand, the ambiguity of the motion would make it impossible to replicate the data produced by the Wiimote, because the Natal system would have no clue of where you would be gripping the imaginary object, or what the object's orientation would be. Therefore, for the concept of true one-to-one motion control or anything approaching it for any game that involves held objects (almost all of them) to be achieved, it is necessary to have a controller that is physically held in the hands.
There you go.

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