PlayStation Move designer: Buttons are irreplaceable

While Microsoft boasts that Kinect is brilliant because it doesn’t have complex, confusing things like buttons or plastic, PlayStation Move designer Dr. Richard Marks has stressed the importance of physical controllers, sharing his belief that they can’t simply be replaced.

“When we did EyeToy we wanted to create a new way to play games but we didn’t want to replace the existing way,” he explains. “I think that you can do some things really well with just a camera, or just a 3D camera, but there’s just some stuff you can’t do as well. And there’s a bunch of experiences you could never do as well.

“Buttons are irreplaceable as an input device. Too many buttons are overwhelming, but one single action button is very powerful feeling. For core games you really do need a set of buttons to quickly choose things. Trying to replace buttons with gestures doesn’t work very well.”

I think what Marks says about getting a powerful feeling from a button is an important point that few people have brought up. When I am playing a game, I want to feel like I’m doing something. Simply miming, as Kinect demands, doesn’t feel very empowering. Hammering a button or pulling a trigger feels good. Waving one’s arms around like a spastic, not so much. 

Designing PlayStation Move [Edge]

Jim Sterling