Should Nintendo take credit for motion control in gaming?

Nintendo 'flattered' by Project Natal and 3D motion wand - but who's the real daddy?

Project Natal is being billed as Microsoft's answer to the Nintendo Wii -- but it shares more in common with the Sony Eye Toy.

Project Natal is being billed as Microsoft's answer to the Nintendo Wii -- but it shares more in common with the Sony Eye Toy.

What came first, the motion controller or the Nintendo Wii? That is the age-old question. According to Shigeru Miyamoto, it was the latter that laid gaming's golden egg, and not the other way around.

When quizzed by BBC News about Microsoft and Sony's E3 motion control demos, the legendary game producer gave the following backhanded compliment:

"The fact that both [Sony and Microsoft] are taking advantage of motion control, and getting [players] to control the game by moving their body shows that they have looked at what we have done with Wii... They are moving in the same direction. To that end we are very flattered."

"Flattered" seems to be disingenuous shorthand for "we think you're a copy cat." It's the same word Nintendo invoked back in September 2008, when Microsoft's New Xbox Experience launched with Mii-like avatars. But this time, we think the boast is completely unfounded.

We’ve been accused of unfairly dissing Nintendo in the past (check out the rage-filled comments on our article "How Nintendo Killed Hardcore Gaming") — but we merely call 'em as we see 'em. Can Nintendo really take all the credit for motion control in gaming? Do Project Natal and the PlayStation 3D motion wand truly owe their existence to the Wii? No matter how ‘flattered’ Nintendo feels, we're not so sure that one begat the other; especially in regards to Project Natal.

While the Wii remote unquestionably helped to popularise motion control in gaming, it wasn't the first peripheral to meet success in this area. That honour goes to the Sony Eye Toy, which made its debut back in 2003; almost half a decade before people started trashing their homes with nunchucks. To date, the little-camera-that-could has sold 10 million units worldwide — respectable numbers considering it's an optional accessory that only works with a handful of games. It also demonstrated the appeal of motion control to casual gamers long before Wii Sports entered the fray.

Regardless of where your loyalties lie, it cannot be denied that Microsoft's Project Natal has a lot more in common with the Eye Toy than the Wii remote. Both use motion-sensing cameras that do not require handheld controllers. They say that flattery will get you nowhere, and Microsoft seems to agree — Project Natal bears almost no resemblance to Nintendo's white pretender, despite what Shigeru claims. If anybody should be flattered, its Dr. Richard Marks, who devised the original Eye Toy prototype.

So credit where credit's due: the Eye Toy was first, this side of the century, to raise the motion-control flag. Consequently, we don’t think Nintendo has earned the right to be ‘flattered’ by its rivals' latest innovation. On the other hand, the company deserves plaudits for raising the bar above the Eye Toy’s humble beginnings. Also for getting players who never thought they'd pick up a controller to behave in ways that would otherwise require half a dozen rum and cokes and the sloppy waning hours of a wedding reception. Not that's what we call unflattering!

Original reporting by Matt Peckham.

Tags NintendoMicrosoftgamesPlaystation 3sonynintendo wiiXBox 360

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Chris Jager

PC World




wii haters

alright enough is enough rite every hated the wii cause of its controllers rite but u r a wii hater!!!!!!!!!!! u probably hate the conduit (GOOG GAME) . but as soon as ps360 come out wit tha same controllers nintendo is biting (CORNY) U CANT understand the fact the wii is a good system(50MILLION) U JUST HATE on it beause no reason i have a wii n a ps3 both r good everybody says the wii cant do this cant do that look at the conduit (GOOD GRAPHICS) THE GRINDER(4PLAYER CO-OP TALKIN 2 U TREYARCH COD WAW) ITS jus dev gotta put tlc into the system (high voltage)THEY PUT SHOVEL ON THE WII bcuz it cheap n they make 100 mill of a shovelware game that cost 10 thousand to make they use the revenues to finance the ps360 games they wanna make look who ever wrote the artical if u wanna debate not argue here is ps3 screen name casbutter send me a friend a invite



Thumbs up

Good article and i agree that it was sony who introduced us to motion controls.

ignore the 10years old posting :D even tho it was funy post :D



Copy Cat

I thought Sony and Microsoft said Wii was a gimmick and a fad. Now they wanna copy them?? Thumb control=Nintendo, Rumble=Nintendo, Saving Games=Nintendo, first true 3d game= Nintendo.......could go on and on bottom line Nintendo innovates. The other two just make fun of companies they wanna copy which is pathetic



The Power Glove (made by Nintendo) was WAY before the eye toy......they DO owe it to Nintendo get your facts straight buddy



Actually, the Power Glove was made by a third-party company and then sold to Nintendo. It was also a bit of a flop - we're talking about *successful* motion controllers here.



ummmmm Actually.......

How can natal be successful when it hasnt even came out yet?? They are talking about WHO was the way most controller hardware on all platforms are sourced out and made by someone else.....think before you speak




Microsoft and Sony have 3rd parties working on their motion......the article is about who was first to the game "the power glove" Not whether it was a success or not

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