I came across something online not too long ago – a blog entry perhaps – that I recall wanting to revisit. Unfortunately I can’t find it since I didn’t bookmark it. But the point of what I’d read was that intimidatingly complex game controllers were keeping a large number of potential consumers from even trying videogames. The example provided in the entry was the author’s own father who was sufficiently intrigued by a game the son was playing to want to try playing it himself … at least until he took a look at the controller.
There’s now a similar discussion regarding how controller designs are actually influencing game design. And much of it is focusing on Tom Armitage, one of the speaker’s at the O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference (ETech).
His presentation, which stands out like a sore thumb on the ETech schedule, is/was titled “From Paddles to Pads: Is Controller Design Killing Creativity in Videogames?”. From the summary for his session (Link):
The videogames market is stagnating. The primary cause is not the domination of the industry by larger companies, the rising costs of next-gen games, or even lack of imagination.
The primary cause is the interfaces we play the games with.
We Make Money Not Art has now posted a nice entry (Link) about Armitage’s talk. Give it a read to supplement the summary. And if you’re a product/interface designer be on the lookout for more articles and blog entries about this issue. There will doubtlessly be some interesting chatter. Just be sure to bookmark what you find.