Motion controllers: The buzz word at E3

E3, the world's premier trade show for computer and video games, has captivated the gaming community for years. Apart from the latest game titles being on display at E3 2009, some of the biggest news at the event this year revolved around ‘motion controllers’

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By  Gareth Van Zyl Published  June 9, 2009

Last year, E3 was a slightly toned down affair, but this year it was back at full force. From 2-4th June, around 30 000 people attended the event with more than 100 companies showcasing the latest in entertainment hardware and software.

The big news this year at the event focused on the latest motion controllers from the three big game companies – Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo.

Microsoft announced its hands-free controller, called Project Natal, which uses motion sensors to detect user movement, facial expression and voice. Microsoft, though, haven’t announced when Project Natal will be available in the market but if the video on the project’s website is anything to go by, then Project Natal could be a massive hit.

The video on this website illustrates how Natal’s motion sensor technology makes it possible for a gamer to stand on a skateboard and use it as a controller to play a skateboarding game. Strangely, the Tony Hawk Ride game is due to be released with a controller shaped as an actual skateboard (and which happened to be on display at E3 as well).

Sony has also launched a motion controller that works in conjunction with the Sony Eye Toy and two controllers. It’s set to go on sale in Spring 2010. Even Nintendo has jumped onto the motion controller band wagon with its modified Wii controller, called the Wii motion Plus, and a pulse measuring device called Wii Vitality Sensor.

Some other developments that have taken place include the launch of PSP Go! (you can read about it on ITP.net’s new gadget blog) and a range of new games were announced such as Tekken 6, God of War III, The Beatles: Rock Band, Assassin’s Creed 2, Modern Warfare 2, Left 4 Dead 2, Super Mario Galaxy 2 and the latest instalment of Fallout 3, called ‘Point Lookout’.

Other interesting events at E3 included Stephen Spielberg attending the event and (on a note slightly unrelated to E3) note the legendary Tetris game had its 25th anniversary during E3 as well. One of the original developers of the E3 game is now, interestingly, working on Google’s new collaboration tool, Google Wave. All I can say is that E3 reminds all of us every year about how gaming has progressed far beyond the likes of Tetris.

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