(Sony Computer Entertainment of America) Research & Development Manager of Special Projects Richard Marks has said that it does not make sense to get rid of the traditional gaming controller. While speaking with Gamasutra, Marks was explicitly asked if Sony would be moving away from a standard gaming pad and towards a motion-based system like the Wii for the PS4. The answer was, resoundingly, no.
“I don’t think that makes sense…I said that pretty much from the beginning that we’re not trying to get rid of the gamepad. The gamepad is a really good abstract device. It can map to so many different things. It doesn’t map one-to-one to those things, but it doesn’t need to for a lot of game experiences.”
Marks is absolutely right in that regard. Perhaps it’s simply because we’ve been using them for more than 25 years now, but traditional gaming pads have become exceptionally versatile and can be applied to nearly any game type conceivable. However, Marks does completely recognize that the more casual, mass market may be turned off by a controller with two clickable analog sticks and 14 buttons.
“[The traditional controller] is still intimidating to some audiences, some people…And so, those people might like Move better. So, I think having both offered to people kinds of people that want to play is the right choice right now. I think the DualShock, it’s just better for some experiences, but the Move is better for other ones.”
Rather than commit to a single method of input and play, Marks thinks that Sony’s smart for straddling the line and offering both options. Look to Nintendo for proof of concept here. The Wii ships with a Wii Remote, not a traditional controller. Yet, ask any sampling of Mario Kart or Smash Bros. players how they like to control their game, and they’ll likely tell you that they prefer the traditional GameCube controller or Classic controller over the Wii Remote and Nunchuck.
Marks also addressed Microsoft’s Kinect device in this discussion with Gamasutra. He applauds the company for presenting an innovation to the industry, but he argues that camera technology does not possess the fidelity required to have an optimal gaming experience. For that, Marks suggests the Move (of course) or a traditional gaming pad.