Sony and Microsoftin this generation's game console war, but that doesn't mean they need to follow the leader.
A report in Variety last week said Sony might be unveiling a motion-sensing controller at E3 that's more advanced than its Sixaxis (motion-sensing) controller. It will be shaped like a Wii temote and use LEDs and "a small Webcam to track the device's movements." Variety claims the Sony controller will be more accurate that the Wii remote, especially as the player moves it toward and away from the screen.
Engadget also reported last week that it received a tip from someone who claimed to be an insider at Microsoft. The person said the company is working on a motion-sensing bar that follows full-body movement without controllers. Players would be able to control all aspects of the game with their bodies.
There's no word on when (or if) either of these technologies will be announced, since neither Microsoft nor Sony have commented on them. While there is a real possibility of both companies trying to get into the motion-sensing space, I don't think it's necessary for them to do so.
Part of Nintendo's success is due to its unique control mechanism. It's not perfect. Motion-control games are typically quite simple, and I think they're best-suited for a multiplayer experience.
But when you play a game on the PlayStation 3 or the Xbox 360, it's different. Both consoles use classic controls to create an experience that's more diverse. You can still play those fun multiplayer games, but if you want an extremely complex title like Fable 2, you can have that, too. We've yet to see many elaborate games featuring complex controls on the Wii.
We also can't forget that Nintendo has, so far, proven to be the only company that really "gets" motion gaming. I've played a majority of the titles on the Wii and I can say that only Nintendo has fully captured the technology. Most third-party titles fail to provide a viable experience. They're difficult to play and the controls seem tacked on.
Nintendo has had an extremely difficult time trying to get third-party developers to develop games that exploit the Wii's full potential even though its console is far and away the most popular of this generation. Will a new motion-control mechanism from Sony or Microsoft be different in some way? I don't see it.
Motion controls are fun. But they're not required to make a good game console great. Both Sony and Microsoft need to stick to what they do best--offering a diverse and powerful gaming experience--and leave motion controls to Nintendo.
Though the Wii is an unbridled success, following Nintendo won't do Microsoft or Sony any good.