Now everyone seems to have an opinion on new ways to play videogames, whether you love it or hate it this seems to be the future for the industry. This is not exclusive to console manufacturers, it is also open to publishers/developers of video games the best examples are EA/MTV/Harmonix and Red Octane/Activision with their seemingly never ending stream of music controllers, or an even more recent one would be with Tony Hawk’s RIDE with the new board peripheral that simulates a skateboard for the game but could also be used in the future as a snowboard, surfboard or even wakeboard.

Nintendo was the pioneer of opening up the games market to new control types, going all the way back to the NES with the power glove, the power mat and the synonymous R.O.B the robot. Up until the recent times Nintendo had a prototype controller for the Gamecube that is similar to the Playstation 3’s sixaxis controller they also had Donkey Kong bongo’s moving to the Wii with the Remote as a primary control option with motion and infra-red pointer control. Also looking at what the touch abilities have done for the handheld market and the possibilities for the in-game use of the DSi’s cameras already showing with augmented reality games in the works.

Microsoft are stepping into the new play control market that will hopefully allow them to further grow the market on the system by bringing in those who began on the Wii and are now looking for an additional experience. There have been several rumours from the ‘Newton’ controller to the new motion sensing camera. Microsoft need to take the idea of new play controls and make it their own, I can see that if Microsoft did not do this in effect the market and even more so the hardcore gaming market will only see it as imitating Nintendo and it not being something they would want to use or buy. We all can still read the articles written about the un-imaginative nature of their in the movies controller when compared to the Playstation 2’s Buzz controller.

I see the biggest benefit to Microsoft’s new control design to be that of higher quality products being aimed towards the new play controls. The biggest problem with the Wii and its market is the sheer amount of low budget low quality games that frankly rob innocent consumers of their hard earned cash. But it will also bring the more serious games for new control designs to the hardest of hardcore gamers that will hopefully make them more open and appreciative to the Wii, its catalogue of games and Nintendo’s ethics with what they are trying to achieve on the system.

Overall it is about bringing the gaming industry forward, Microsoft can be a key player for years to come by continuing what they have done with LIVE and the online model with other aspects of the console. I fully believe that whatever Microsoft do they will fully go behind it and make sure that there are key titles that exploit the control design and it will have a big marketing campaign, even if it’s those creepy behind the head UK adverts…

The biggest problem with control designs are that if they are not central the sheer amount of peripherals can be overwhelming with the RIDE controller and the music games controllers we can be running short on storage so the biggest problem is how do you make it a hit and also make it a financially feasible expenditure. I’m sure we will be hearing more about Microsoft and controller options at E3 whether that be through means of official word or more rumour mongering.