When Nintendo announced the Revolution Controller, I wrote "I applaud Nintendo to try something new". Now having had more time to think about the new Nintendo Controller, I have mixed feelings about it.
BBC News ran a reader survey asking if the Nintendo Revolution Controller is a hit or miss. About 13,000 readers voted and half the people think it's a miss and the other half says it's a hit. This is an interesting result. The controller is definitely controversial and Nintendo will have a lot of convincing to-do.
I do not necessarily think the new controller concept is a miss, but I think it might maneuver Nintendo in a small niche (Update 09/18/05, Shells might be the solution see below).
3D motion controlling with a wand style device like the Nintendo Remote Control style device is nothing new.
Virtual Reality applications used them since years. The problem with those input devices is fatigue. Just imagine holding your hand out and move it up and down and left and right for 1 hour. Sure, 3D simulation input devices are cool and make sense. I believe the Xavix Game System with it's real world (baseball bat, fishing pole or Tennis rack) 3D input devices is the better strategy though. Those controllers are add-ons. You still need an ergonomic controller that enables players to play over extended times.
Wired News has a hands-on report on using the new Nintendo Revolution Controller, but the report does not talk about fatigue. It says though that the new controller is intuitive and precise to use.
Update 09/18/05: A Nintendo representative in Europe says that Nintendo will also release so called shells that convert the "TV Remote" into a conventional gamepad. IGN (Thanks Eric B.) has created a mockup (see below) of a shell. This definitly could be a solution. Let's see how those shell will look like, when they come out.
Maybe Nintendo should have shown those shells right away to avoid the concerns people have over the new controller.
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