Microsoft working on motion-sensing controller?

Dev reportedly tells MTV News that Wii-like Xbox 360 remote has been in the works for nearly a year; Rare supposedly working on unified interface for supported games.


RUMOR CONTROL Source: An MTV News article reports that Microsoft has been working on a motion-sensing Xbox 360 controller.

The official story: "Microsoft does not comment on rumors and speculation" --A Microsoft representative.

What we heard: The MTV News article brings back a rumor that has surfaced from time to time in connection with both Microsoft and Sony ever since Nintendo unveiled the Wii's motion-sensing controller. Citing a developer who wishes to remain anonymous, MTV reports that Microsoft has been working on a motion-sensing controller since last August, with an eye for releasing it by the end of the year. It also notes that Banjo Kazooie developer Rare has been busy creating "a unified interface and look for the controller." Rare is also working on a Mii-like avatar system for games using the controller, but the source says that the company has been missing its deadlines.

The controller itself, as illustrated by the source's crude sketch is laid out much like a Wii Remote, albeit with an analog stick instead of a D pad and no Nunchuk attachment. It also adds a built-in microphone to the basics of Nintendo's pad.

However, the report seems to contradict itself when it comes to what sort of Xbox 360 games would use a motion-sensing controller. Microsoft reportedly wants more of the same Gears of War, Halo, and Forza Motorsport titles that are already popular on the system. But in referencing marketing materials that were shown to the developer, the source told MTV that one of the biggest selling points was how easy it would be to port Wii games to the Xbox 360 using the controller.

"The whole thing is a colossal clusterf***," the unimpressed source told MTV. "[Microsoft] marketing just wants it so they can match the Wii point for point."

It's no secret that Microsoft has its eye on motion-sensing game controllers. The company patented new motion-sensing technology two years ago and was among the first to toy with the idea in a gaming context when it launched the Sidewinder Freestyle Pro gaming pad nearly a decade ago. Add to that the fact that the Xbox 360 is the only system with no motion-sensing functionality whatsoever and Microsoft's system has a conspicuously absent feature.

However, today's news of 360 motion-sensing tech is no more concrete than it was last week or last year. Game companies spend a considerable chunk of money on research and development, and there's no shortage of interesting technology that was toyed with and then abandoned by console makers because it just didn't work for them. Add in the developer's assertion that "the whole thing is a colossal clusterf***" and Rare's reported difficulty getting traction on the project, and you have a proposed peripheral that could easily get delayed or canned entirely.

Bogus or not bogus?: Not bogus that Microsoft has done research on motion-sensing tech for the 360. Bogus that this is the motion-sensing we'll eventually see the Xbox 360 adopt. Also bogus that we can expect Gears of Waggle for the holidays.

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