Sony’s senior researcher Richard Marks has previously been involved with hands-free technology through the PlayStation Eye and has come to the conclusion that it is not a viable option for gaming. Furthermore, he believes that the best benefit to gamers will come in the form of a gyroscope and camera, much like the company’s upcoming release of PlayStation Move.
Of course, some fanboys will take this as a direct shot to Microsoft’s upcoming Kinect peripheral, but in all honest, he probably has enough experience with this type of technology to form an opinion of his own.
“We did as much as we could with just a camera: that was my focus. But we kept running into problems, you couldn’t do all the experiences we wanted to do and also around that time DualShock was coming out for PlayStation 3, it had built-in censors and gyros that gave different kinds of information about rotation, whereas the camera could give a lot of position information.
“So combining the two made a lot of sense. And also the big other factor that we were realising at the time was that it feels good to have something in your hand for a lot of games. It’s not just that it gives you more input capability, which it does. But also it just feels right. Like if you have a tennis racket it feels better to have a controller in your hand. If you have a magic wand, a sword, a gun, it all feels better.”
Marks continued: “We were very interested [in losing the remote] in 2004. But then we just decided it wasn’t a viable product in our minds. EyeToy can already do a lot of that already. We hit a lot of the same limits with the 3D camera that we had hit with EyeToy so it didn’t seem like it added enough value.
“I had demonstrations with the 3D camera where you’re just casting spells or drawing. Doing it with your fingers is kind of neat but in the end it feels awkward. I would often just pick up a stick and it felt better.”
Once the team realized that this wasn’t going to work as an option for gaming, the team quickly started production on PlayStation Move, which is what we’ve come to know today.
“[The controller] was easy to use, you could get all the benefits of having buttons. But we could also have all the benefits of tracking the controller with a camera, and that’s when we basically started the productisation of Move,” he said.
What is your opinion on this new technology? Do you think hands-free gaming is really going to be that great or do you think it’s going to hinder gaming more than anything? We’ve all seen the ridiculous “live tech demos” of Kinect and it was blatantly obvious they were pre-recorded…including the Forza 3 tech demo.
What is your stance?