Everyone wants on the Wii gravy train – developers, publishers, even platform holders. Last week, news leaked that Microsoft was working with Rare on
copying developing their own version of the Wiimote. While discussing said development on the latest 1Up Yours podcast, editor Shane Bettenhausen let slip a tidbit that he had been saving for Quarterman’s rumor section in EGM.
Apparently, Sixaxis isn’t enough for Sony and they’re developing their own waggle wand for the PS3. But perhaps, they’re not opting for such a ‘Wiimote-inspired’ design. Said Bettenhausen, “…it’s not just the waggle wand, it’s some sort of transforming controller that has multiple configurations. Call of Duty 5 is going to use it, Resistance 2 is going to use it. Apparently, it’s real.”
Though I’m sure Sony is hoping that their new accessory will become more ubiquitous than the average guitar controller, I can’t help thinking that both Sony and Microsoft are barking up the wrong tree. Merely tacking on a motion sensing controller (*cough* SIXAXIS *cough*) does not even imply success. First of all, you need great games to support the controller. While CoD5 and Resistance 2 are a good start, it’s doubtful that we’ll see any meaningful new controls, since developers won’t want to alienate gamers who only have the SIXAXIS or DualShock 3. Furthermore, this maneuver assumes that the Wii is successful merely because it has a different controller.
Of course, that is a ridiculous assumption. The Wii was built to play a different game than the big boys. Importantly, it is very affordable, and its software, despite the glut of shovelware, is interesting to a wide range of non-gamers. It is simply a phenomenon. Even if Sony came out with an identical console at an identical price today, do you really think they could capture the same magic that has been powering the Wii juggernaut? No, I propose, they would not. The Wii is a media darling and the new ‘it’ product; it’s more than just a Wiimote. This new controller stuff just smacks of half-assed imitation.