Video gaming for the ergonomist in 2010

It’s been quite a week in the video gaming industry for redefining the way in which we interact with our games consoles.

Nintendo have released the Wii MotionPlus which plugs into your existing Wii Remote the more accurately captures your movements. When the Wii was originally launched it was an exciting time for ergonomists as it showed the way towards a more mobile set of gamers, having to interact with the game using larger motor movements than the sedentary limited movement traditionally seen in video games. There is a problem with the Wii Remote though, after using it for a period of time, you discover that the wild motions you have been flaying across the living room when trying to hit a ball or knock someone out, actually require only the smallest flick of the wrist. Demoting the player once again to lounging on the couch whilst playing. The MotionPlus addon gets you back off your backside, because of the fidelity of the device, it can tell “how much” you have moved forcing you to take those larger swings and motions once again. Well done Nintendo!

Playstation and the XBOX 360 refuse to be outdone however! Although Nintendo seem to consistently steal the march on innovation with the gaming interface market, both Sony and Microsoft had some pretty game changing announcements to talk up at the gaming exhibition E3.

Sony announced their Motion Controller using a camera to detect the motion of handheld wands allowing you to interact with objects onscreen. Scheduled for a Spring 2010 release, this could really provide Nintendo with a challenge as Sony’s offering combines “motion gaming” with HD quality.

And lastly, Microsoft announced their Project Natal. Breathtaking videos showing levels of interactivity we’ve not seen before. This concept does away with controllers altogether, not only getting you off the sofa to play certain games, but also as you have nothing to hold, squeeze or operate with you hands, this could work wonders on our current ergonomic problem with video games.

With Sony and especially Microsoft, I think the main question remains amongst most people excited about it, as to whether the staged and scripted demonstrations where the controllers never left employees hands can turn into the revolutionary reality we all hope for.