Discuss: What effect/influence could Microsoft’s Project Natal and Sony’s new motion controller have on arcades? (UPDATED)

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UPDATE: Sony has also announced another motion control scheme for the PS3 today, which combines a camera with handheld controllers, which brings the motion craze to all three consoles. So I could probably change the subject to “How might motion controls in the console industry influence or affect the arcade industry?”

In case you follow news of what is going on in the game console world then you know that this week is E3, when all sorts of announcements for console and PC games come along and give us a general idea of what to expect on that front later in the year. Arcades don’t get any love at E3 but that is due to the fact that we have several trade shows throughout the year (which sadly are ignored by most game media which begs the question – could arcade makers showing up at E3 improve coverage?)

If you are following the E3 news today then you also know that Microsoft has thrown the gauntlet down in the motion controller arena against the Wii with their Project Natal device, which seems to be a jump forward in what Sony has done with their Eye Toy device. So the question I pose here is if successful, could Natal have an effect on arcades down the line and will that be a good or a bad effect or do you think that it will be too negligible to notice?

The reason I bring this up is because we have seen Japanese arcade companies blame the Nintendo Wii for suffering sales in arcades there and I have heard the same thing before here in the US. I have also heard that services like Playstation Network/WiiWare/Xbox Live Arcade also hurt us too but it is difficult to prove what effect all this has had on arcades and some say that what goes on in the console world has little effect as to what sales are like in the arcade industry.

Motion sensing is not new to arcades of course – it’s been around in one form or another since at least 1991 with the SU1000 Virtuality rings which included some motion sensing via a vest that the player wore. Konami has released a number of motion controlled games with their MoCap series (including the recently announced Mocap Sports) and titles like Police Trainer 911. But AFAIK we have not seen anything like Natal in arcades since that uses a camera and so this has me wondering – will anyone jump in with Microsoft to incorporate this new device into a coin-op game or will it be ignored? Is there a potential here for it to further decrease the novelty gap that arcades can hold over consoles due to controls? Of course, this all remains to be seen as it could be another gimmick that few people care about in the long run, especially if it doesn’t live up to the hype that Microsoft has so far created for it.

What are your thoughts?

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4 Comments on “Discuss: What effect/influence could Microsoft’s Project Natal and Sony’s new motion controller have on arcades? (UPDATED)”

  1. editor Says:

    Always an interesting topic – well done

    We have a feature based on E3 in the Stinger and agree that the MS Wii want-to-be looks like all the console boys are looking at motion control as their future.

    I am surprised by the amount of amusement that dose sneak round the corners of a consumer only event.

    I do not subscribe to the claims of Wii killing arcade – the original feature came from Japan that used that claim, and later was proved a intentional miss-representation of what the Capcom CEO had said about why they were re-developing their amusement business.

    As far as amusements survival, we have seen some of the best numbers in AM business in ‘particular’ venues in Japan and some surprising records broken at selected FEC’s in the States and Europe. The reality is that if you invest in the audience then you see the benefits of the ‘staycation’ visitors.

  2. arcads4ever Says:

    even with the wii and its motion sensor people have to remember that there are still other things that can’t be proper replicated at home. I’ve come up with lots of ideas for arcade games which I hope to design and present to arcade companies hen I finish uni in two years. games like sega’s manic panic ghost, can you imagine hitting your HD tv screen with a hammer LOL. and then theres brick people, ubeat, primeval hunt, fast and the furious super bikes, touch screen games (yeah the ds is touch sensitive but its only a little screen) gaelco’s rolling extreme, gaelco football. yeah even with the wii being out I think theres still room for original ideas for arcade games that can’t be replicated yet. namco’s maxitune is a fine exsample as it very popular with young men which again can’t be proper replicated at home due to needing a seperate screen for each player since its too small for more players on screen at once and requires a steering wheel.

    arcade companie just need to give us what we want like a new daytona would be nice or a ghost squad that is a true sequal unlike evolution. a pac man machine that uses a new control scheme.

    someone should come up with an atv quad bike game just like gaelco did with atv track which I really enjoyed.

  3. Phil Arrington Says:

    To me the Wii is not the blame for people not going to the arcade. Companies, like arcds4ever said, just need to come up with new and better ideas to keep people coming back or bring back some of the old school games that made us or people in general put quarters in the machine. Bring back some of the classics and remix it and put it back in the arcade. An example; TMNT Turtle in the Time Re-mix (HD) something we haven’t seen in a while or seen period.

    • Shaggy Says:

      I personally do think that consoles do have some effect on arcade attendance when it comes to the type of players that regularly frequent arcades. The loyal customers are going to be gamers more than it is going to be the casual audience and the gamers could bring in a bit of money since they would bring it often.

      I do agree with all of you though that the companies need to pull out all the stops and innovate. It’s true that innovation is a difficult prospect to undertake but there is plenty of room to do so (if not more) in the arcade industry.

      Sequels to arcade games we have seen already can help – H2Overdrive would be the latest example in that realm but I would like to see games that are not part of the stock pillars that we regularly see. Something like you mentioned Phil, like a remix title of an old game but just for arcades could be very cool, especially a brawler that plays like a 2D one but with 3D graphics. But we’ll certainly need more than that where possible.


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