Iwata: Nintendo passed on camera-based motion-sensing

Publisher's president tells the Financial Times that Wii's accelerometers work better than new tech from Microsoft, Sony.

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Motion-sensing technology was out in full force during the 2009 Electronic Entertainment Expo last week. On Monday, Microsoft officially announced its widely rumored Project Natal, an Xbox 360 camera peripheral that tracks motion without the need of a controller or handheld device. Sony's press conference a day later also featured motion-sensing tech, as the publisher unveiled a new controller that integrates with the PlayStation 3's EyeToy camera peripheral.

Nintendo's answer to camera-based motion-sensing tech.

Nintendo brought no new similar products to bear; though, Ubisoft announced its own motion-sensing camera for the Wii. Speaking to the Financial Times last week, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata explained the company's position on the matter, saying that a first-party, camera-based motion-sensing peripheral for the Wii was considered but ultimately rejected, as it did not perform better than the Wii's current accelerometer-based tech.

"Until they say when they’re releasing it, how much it costs, and what software it comes with, we won't know whether that is the route we should have taken," Iwata told the FT. "However...I think they couldn't choose to release exactly the same thing."

Iwata also took a swipe at those who portrayed the Wii's motion-sensing controller as a gimmick, telling the FT that he was glad the alternative input was being adopted by Nintendo's rivals. "Companies whose people said that motion sensing wouldn’t work are now proposing motion sensors," he said.

All of that isn't to say Nintendo isn't tinkering with its own motion-sensing technology. This week, the Japanese game maker launched the Wii MotionPlus, a Wii Remote add-on that seeks to improve motion-sensing precision by allowing for a better reading on the controller's position and orientation. The add-on, which will be bundled with a number of upcoming titles, is available stand-alone for $19.99.

Discussion

268 comments
Floymin
Floymin

Putting an add-on to enhance a controler's primary function is like putting training wheels on a tricycle. If they had simply released an upgraded Wii-mote (Wii-mote 2.0), it probably would have been better marketing than this.

shim0
shim0

@ Blaze & Nihonomaru : or the N64 vRam expention

Nihonomaru
Nihonomaru

@blaze11987: I agree :D We remember the Virtual Boy don't we :3?

blaze11987
blaze11987

So people are paying $19.99 for a component that makes the wii remote perform the way it should have performed when you first purchased it originally. They might as well just say 'when you fools bought the wii, the motion sensing on the remotes were crap but we sold them anyway with the idea of selling you an 'upgrade' a few years down the line.' ah, good old nintendo, the masters of selling you crap that you don't need.

kenakuma
kenakuma

Its called sarcasm guys, geez..... @Shim Yeah I knew alot of that stuff, I just didn't find it neccesary to be so specific just to prove the point that nintendo wasn't always paving the way :)

shim0
shim0

@ kenakuma Most of what you say is false : First Console : Odyssey, by Magnavox in 1972 First CD console : 3DO, by Panasonic in 1994 (Then Saturn and Playstation) First Online MP gameplay : DreamCast, by Sega in 1999 (followed by the Playstation 2 in 2000) First DLC console : Atari 2600, by Atari in early 1980s (followed by Sega Genesis, and Dreamcast) First Online Store : Atari 2600, by Atari in early 1980s (clients had to pay for a 5-10 plays of their DLC before having to pay again and redownload the software) Before stating stuff out of no where, do a little digging ;)

marco0798
marco0798

it used to be so small but by the looks of its the wiimote will be same size or bigger then a normal controller in about 1 year lol

Coredog4004
Coredog4004

@Kenakuma Nintendo didn't have disc first sega did, nintendo had it last with the gamecube, playstation came out before that. then xbox after that First online console for multiplayer was nintendo, then other followed suit First game store was the Atari And first to have DLC was Sega

kenakuma
kenakuma

@Malachi Sony and Microsoft wouldn't be using online multiplayer if Nintendo hadn't done it first. Sony and Microsoft wouldn't be using online game stores if Nintendo hadn't done it first. Sony and Microsoft wouldn't be using dlc if Nintendo hadn't done it first. (and the big one) Sony and Microsoft wouldn't be using DISCS instead of cartridges if Nintendo hadn't done it first. oh wait..... Every company has their own creative edges, nintendo arent the only creative ones, where was their nwfc and vc when live and arcade where introduced? They have done their fair share of copying and adapting just as the others have! Its called a competitive buisness market....

6952khan
6952khan

is it unusual for me to be able to sit on my ass while playing on my wii because im just as relaxed when i do play on it (which isnt too often to be honest but still) as i do when im on my ps3 or 360 or pc - natal looks amazing but what are the chances its going to be $20 if you look at the performance to cost ratio iwata is making sense hed be stupid to say that the abilities of wii motion plus out do ps motion or natal but cost wise it makes sense blah blah etc etc as a side note i think natal would make me look more stupid than swinging a wiimote or ps motion even with the fact that you can use the controller with the camera tech whats the point in having a controller if they want you to move around to do stuff will overcomplicate or make the controller redundant to certain degree and then if they just want you to use the mic available then whats the point of the camera (in conjunction with previous context) but whatever will see how the technology comes along and it is all impressive - i was bored so decided to post

university_guy
university_guy

haha hassy94 he was saying then nintendo was thinking of making a motion-sensing camera but the wiimotes ended up working better... not that it was better than everyone elses... So somewhere in the Nintendo factories there is a scrapped prototype of a wiiEye?

hassy94
hassy94

ejay_kain, learn how to use quotation marks before just slapping them in your writing.

hassy94
hassy94

NO! He he couldn't say his motion controller is better than the proposition! He must be right, he's obviously thoroughly tested all of them and weighed up the advantages and disadvantages. Of course he's not just saying the Wiimote is best because he is the president of the company that made it, I mean, how silly would that be? God you guys are naive...

Gtoniser
Gtoniser

@ejay_kain I doubt it will be that expansive. It is just a camera with some very advanced technology after all. If they make it more then $100 I doubt anyone would buy it. I think its a nice project, but as always the things there on the show won't work as smooth in the actual version and there will be a thousand of things which don't work or don't work well unless you are in the ideal situation (distance, position, lighting etc) It will never become so sensitive as the Wiimote, and unless it will recognise me moving my fingers and let me control things with that instead of waving with my hand to browse files, I'm not interested

ejay_kain
ejay_kain

the natal project looks great, but i am worried about the price factor. "Maybe"(nah iam sure about it) the price will be more than the xbox 360 itself. The new ps3 motion controller looks stupid with the whole sphere going on. Just give me the basic controller or joystick, i dont even use the sixaxiss thing on the ps3.

Ringwaul
Ringwaul

The eyetoy detected motion and colour yeh git. "This allows players to interact with games using motion, color detection and also sound, through its built-in microphone." Taken from wikipedia Having expirience with the eyetoy myself, it is beyond obvious it sensed movement because you had to constantly move your hand on a button to activate it. If it only sensed colour, you would not have to move you hand constantly over a button, and you would have to take a 'control' picture. Also with colour sensing only, you wouldn't be able to operate it properly at different times with changing light. You're simply wrong, mpeg3s. Stop spreading foolishness.

mpeg3s
mpeg3s

Natal is not an EyeToy. The EyeToy senced color and not motion. It's like comparing 2D to 3D. I guess you will always have those who say it's the same.

trd_matrix000
trd_matrix000

I do not think the cameras are the way to go just yet. At least with the wii you can sit down and play, and all the lazy ass "hardcore" gamers (sorry you are the ones who said it) do not have to bust their ass in front of a camera. i do not think most "casual" gamers get up and flail as the wii commercials portray either. The motion plus should take away some of the quirks of the current set up and I cannot wait to try it out. $80 dollars for a (full) controller is a little ridiculous though, They should have had the "plus" already built in. Thieves.

necronaux
necronaux

Give them time. Towards the end of the life cycle of the Wii (or in the Wii 2) we'll probably see it, as an add on.

gabriel_rocks
gabriel_rocks

Basically, it depends on the game. I like motion control for games like Grand Slam Tennis, but for other games it just doesn't work, I would much rather have just a regular controller. All of the lazy people out there aren't going to like motion controls, and that's fine. I think it's awesome that all systems are going to be offering the option. Yes, Nintendo too. Many of the games have the option to just play with the buttons and not use motion control Malco. Just buy what you like people. What did you expect from Microsoft and Sony, they had to integrate motion control because last time I checked, Wii was outselling them both by A LOT. You would do the same thing if you were a game developer.

Irve
Irve

@Malco_Vincenzo unfortunately .. the answer is casuals ! just look at the charts !! some of the dross that sells compared the quality games that go unnoticed

zakkerr
zakkerr

@hatieshorrer I work at gamestop and every gamestop is charging $24.99 per wii motion-plus. i have no idea how much other places are charging for it. So, in other words, dont buy it from gamestop if you can find a better deal. lol

hatieshorrer
hatieshorrer

$19.99 per controller is a good deal for an upgrade. After all Iwata said the next Nintendo console could take as long as another eight years.

Malco_Vincenzo
Malco_Vincenzo

@ zakkerr hey at least you can still play real games on the PS3/360. the wii is a console created entirely on the concept of motion sensing. and no one is forcing you to buy Natal or the PSEYE. nintendo is forcing you to buy wii-motes and wii-mote pluses. the PS3/360 is a hardcore console first and casual second. who buys the most software, casuals or the hardcore?

Timbydude
Timbydude

The Wii Remote is spotty, doesn't always pick up on motion detection, and is a just plain annoying way to play games. If Natal takes some business away from Nintendo, maybe it'll let them catch on.

zakkerr
zakkerr

I'm so tired of this sh1t! motion control is just getting out of control(lulz)! im tired of every single aspect of it. Both Sony and Microsoft are just doing it to pull in casual gamers. If you really think about it, motion control isnt going to change the way gaming is done. Mostly because i dont think hardcore gamers want to move around a lot just to play an FPS or Action-Strategy game. For example, all of the hardcore gamers i know bought twilight princess on GC because they didnt want to do lame ass motions. All motion control has done so far is make a fart ton of casual gamers. And thats what it will continue to do. Its not going to change hardcore game anytime in the near future. If i have to get off my couch and move around a lot just to play CoD or even just look around while im sitting, its not going to happen. not because im lazy, because i dont think its gaming when you have move around a lot. it defeats the purpose of having it as a hobby. i dont want to come home from work and have to move my ass around so i can relax. OK im done. sorry for the rant.

pakhair
pakhair

I want to answer this to many ppl commenting here.......... U r saying why we need motion sensing & we love normal controller...... X360 & PS3 knows it, The reason why they r making it is for grabbing users from WII specifically I mean casual gamers, Casual gamers r increasing at a very fast rate so it's pure money, It's called business............. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- As for this motion sensing rivalry, I simply wanna ask one thing NN made motion sensing almost 3 years ago & sony & Microsoft made it now, Do u think NN wouldn't be thinking or doing anything about it (Secretly)????????????

MTMind2
MTMind2

@shadowslayer956 who wrote "I just have one question that hopefully an Xbox fanboy can answer for me. How could you play a first-person shooter with Project Natal" i think i can answer that an a non-fanboy :-) the thing i like about natal is that it's not an all or nothing solution, it can be mixed with the controller. hence imagine playing a fps with the controller as usual, but natal uses your head movement to control the camera. this would be great for racing games too, where you can look left or right (keeping your eyes on the screen of course), and the camera shifts the view from inside your car to match. watch the following movies to see what i mean, it uses a different tech to natal, but shows exactly how natal can be used to add to the current gameplay experience instead of just replacing the controller; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wXx3vMy_AQ http://www.naturalpoint.com/trackir/ http://www.naturalpoint.com/trackir/02-products/product-videos.html

extrasafeivy
extrasafeivy

every original idea is eventually copied. companies always copy each other and will continue to do so. With this motion sensing it was only a matter of time. Nintendo have it all to face now, their unique selling point is being copied by 2 systems with superior capabilities. Will like to see what they come up with next.

Sonikilate
Sonikilate

Comon, Nintendo got more imagination than MIcro and Sony, Nintendo do something good and the other 2 copies it, thats something good of Nintendo they are original, they dont need to see what the other one got for they create one.

thenephariouson
thenephariouson

@Hulksmash77, "Nintendo Will Always Own. Once the Wii gets equal graphics to the xbox 360 and Ps3...they will be history!" Yeah, just think, when Nintendo eventually start incorporating large amounts of graphical horse power to their consoles, just think, you'll actually be able to play even more incarnations of Mario but this time in HD.

Sechu
Sechu

What I like in Natal and Sony's solution that they both extend the way of controlling games but I can stay with my good old controller if I want. And sometimes there is nothing better than laying on the sofa and frag like hell.

world-ender-49
world-ender-49

I hope nintendo doesn't get beat in the trend they started.

shadowslayer956
shadowslayer956

I just have one question that hopefully an Xbox fanboy can answer for me. How could you play a first-person shooter with Project Natal. Those games seem to be the bulk of what is selling on the 360. (No offense intended to anyone)

HavQ-san
HavQ-san

I don't get why the Big 3 war over motion sensing. Seriously, I don't think I'm speaking for myself only when I say games are best played with old-school controllers. I'll probably never use the Magic Wand or Natal.

Hulksmash77
Hulksmash77

Sony and Microsoft = WORLDS BIGGEST COPY CATS!!! Nintendo Will Always Own. Once the Wii gets equal graphics to the xbox 360 and Ps3...they will be history!

Hvac0120
Hvac0120

Project Natal is pretty neat. There are some cool concepts proposed. The problems I see coming are issues with the detection technology in rooms not well-suited for it. Also, I don't see this as fully replacing controllers as it cannot provide the hardcore audiences with the deep experiences currently provided with controller-based games. The Wii MotionPlus is a great step forward, but 2 years from now will seem like old tech. I am really interested in Sony's approach, which appears to be a blend of what both Microsoft and Nintendo are doing by using a hand-held device and a camera in combination to provide a 1-to-1 relationship down to a millimeter. Having a controller in the hand gives more feedback to the user, which I believe is important. The demo Sony provided at their conference showed how their motion sensing could provide the hardcore audience with deep experiences, while innovating on the way the audience interacts with the experiences. No matter what, consumers have some cool things to look forward to.

andrew_ribbons
andrew_ribbons

Hrm, yes well Nintendo went their route and the other companies are going their's. Microsoft tech is so different to the Wiimote in style and capability it would be falsehood to claim it is ripping off Nintendo. "All this motion stuff is fine as long as it isn't the main input for most games" Unlike Nintendo's Wiimote, Microsoft's Project Natal device will be a complete offshoot for games on the platform, not a replacement for the current controller and the games it's optimised for.

Carpe_Noctum
Carpe_Noctum

All this motion stuff is fine as long as it isn't the main input for most games.

mark_unix
mark_unix

Natal will costs over 150$. as it's not just a camera, it's a whole mess of new hardware. and thus won't be for everyone..

mark_unix
mark_unix

sony holds a patent from 1995 which could cause nintendo serious pain (as they patented a wii-mote like device back than). sucks to be nintendo, is all i can say..

togo2828
togo2828

@Get_Shorty They're now talking about how Natal will be the best thing to gaming since pong. ((just a little joke.... not really))

Get_Shorty
Get_Shorty

Where are those fanboys that also said the Wii was a gimmick and won't last? HA HA HAA!!

Red_A_Link
Red_A_Link

"Companies whose people said that motion sensing wouldn’t work are now proposing motion sensors," he said. you tell them Iwata I agree with malachi

malachi
malachi

As Odraude5 said, Sony and Microsoft wouldn't be using motion control if Nintendo hadn't done it first Just the same way, Sony and Microsoft wouldn't be using shoulder buttons if Nintendo hadn't done it first. Sony and Microsoft wouldn't be using start and select buttons if Nintendo hadn't done it first. Sony and Microsoft wouldn't be using analogy controls if Nintendo hadn't done it first. Sony and Microsoft wouldn't be using rumble controllers if Nintendo hadn't done it first. Microsoft wouldn't have used four port controller ports if Nintendo hadn't done it first. See the pattern everyone?!?!! Nintendo are still the best console and game makers when it comes to new ideas no matter what people say and this is coming from a person who owns over 30 game consoles(so I’m not no Nintendo Fanboy)

threedown
threedown

The wii is on top for being affordable and innovative, i love the WM+, tiger woods 10 is one of favorite games right now and i couldnt imagine playing it on any other system, its awesome! Without the wii doing so well i guarantee xbox360 and ps3 wouldnt be developing there own motion technology right now, competition is good! i like all 3 systems for different reasons

djezhel619
djezhel619

@Nephilim83 oh i hear ya man but i do construction too, cabling, jumping up in atticts, heavy lifting, drilling, hammering, its a good workout but its not all the workout one needs. It may seem like much but 1 more hour of cardio at home or out playing a sport or just running wont hurt either :)

Odraude5
Odraude5

Sony and Microsoft wouldn't be using motion control if Nntendo hadn't done it first