The Wii, Motion Technology and Gaming

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On November 19th 2006, Nintendo changed the face of gaming by introducing motion technology to games consoles. This allowed for a whole range of different games which required a completely new type of gameplay. Instead of bashing buttons on a normal controller, gamers were given a remote. The remote’s movements are picked up by a sensor, allowing the Nintendo Wii to monitor and record the movements of the gamer. Virtual technology has been showcased in several futuristic films but the Wii was our first taste of motion sensor technology and a taster of things to come.

Before the Wii, no console had developed the technology to take advantage of motion sensors to monitor our movements. The Wii signalled the start of a new type of gaming where your actions could be imitated on the television screen right in front of you. They used this type of technology to develop many simple games such as Wii Sports, which has many short activities such as tennis and bowling. Since then, Nintendo have introduced many more games that require you to use the remote in completely different ways compared to a standard controller.

The main difference with the Wii is that it can require you to be much more active. With standard controllers, you can sit down and not move for several hours whilst gaming. With the Wii, some people prefer standing up as this gives them the room to perform a particular movement. This type of motion technology has attracted different types of people with the elderly being reported as enjoying a bit of Wii action in retirement homes.

This level of popularity has not gone unnoticed, which is evident with Xbox and PS3 releasing their own versions of motion technology. Xbox released their Kinect sensor in November 2010, where no controller was used in conjunction with the system and their main motto was ‘you are the controller’. The Kinect sensor is able to pick up your body movements without the need for a controller and it also incorporated hand movements to scroll through menus. This is very impressive technology and is a sign of the future.

PlayStation followed suit by releasing the PlayStation Move controller in September 2010. This is similar to the Wii remote as you have to use the controller to monitor your body movements. It received impressive reviews with many praising its accuracy and how it has been used to develop motion-based gameplay.

Nintendo started everything back in 2006 but the competition have raised the bar in terms of motion technology with more accurate and innovative products than the Wii. With the 4-year gap between release dates, this was inevitable but in 2012 we will see whether Nintendo can raise their level to continue the good work started by the Wii.

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