E3 debrief: In2Games on limits of Wii MotionPlus
18th Jul 2008 | 14:49
Motion-control specialist Harry Holmwood gives us his considered opinions on E3
Harry Holmwood is a veteran of the UK's games industry, currently a director at the motion-control specialists In2Games, who are working on some pretty intriguing next-gen motion control technology.
Harry along with In2Games founder Elliott Myers and the rest of their team are currently staying fairly schtum about exactly what is going on in their north London development labs, although TechRadar is assured that we will be hearing some pretty exciting news from them in the near future (which, we presume, means the Leipzig Games convention at the end of August).
No alarms, no surprises
In the meantime, we quizzed Harry about his thoughts on the main news announcements from E3 this year.
"I wasn't at E3 as I have been tied up in meetings here all week, generally in conference calls with the press conference feeds running in the background!" said Harry.
"I don't think there were any big surprises really," he adds.
"All three platform holders are converging to the same broad ideas of connectivity, media and casual gaming as key to the future, while ensuring that the so called hardcore are not left out."
Well, that sums that up fairly easily then!
Wii MotionPlus is limited
What of the various bits of new hardware and tech that were unveiled to the press and industry at E3?
Harry is a little more circumspect than most on the opportunities presented for developers and gamers by Nintendo's new Wii MotionPlus add-on.
"The Wii MotionPlus announcement obviously improves the functionality in terms of movement sensing, although, looking at the demos, falls short of the '3D position' claims some articles seem to have made. I can't really comment more on it though right now."
TechRadar looks forward to comparing head-to-head In2Games own Fusion motion-control tech with the Wii MotionPlus when we get our hands on both later this year. Only then will we know which company has developed the actual 'next gen' motion control.
Who won E3?
It's traditional, in typical games media fashion, to try to 'score' the press conferences of the three console hardware companies, with an unhealthy focus in games forums across the internet on who 'won' this year's E3.
Holmwood is a little more measured in his responses to this year's show, telling us:
"In terms of 'who had a good E3' I think all format holders had some interesting announcements and still think it's very much a three horse race.
"What is becoming apparent is that 3rd party platform exclusives are becoming financially unviable, so which console you choose will really come down to which first party titles float your boat... Each party has a different style in that regard.
"Personally I'm more Singstar than Halo, much as my next door neighbours would prefer the latter."
The Xbox Experience
Saying that, Holmwood admits that the new Xbox user interface (UI) "looks lovely, much more pleasing than the existing one and reflects well their desire to broaden their appeal," though adds, "I've never been much sold on avatars/3D worlds as user interfaces rather than pure games, so I still need to be convinced by all three players that this is the way forward."
The inevitable move of games and the distribution of games online was another key theme to this year's E3, something that Holmwood embraces unreservedly.
"The closer we get to downloading all our media, the better, so I welcome improvements to these services and bigger hard drives and so on.
"Although personally I still see the PC as a way better home media platform than any console. I have all the consoles but all my film, music and TV needs are catered for just fine with a £300 PC plugged into my living room PC"
E3: the highs and lows
What is Holmwood most looking forward to following this year's E3?
"No question. Two things. Firstly, Spore. Will Wright was as excitable, fascinating and passionate as ever and I can't wait to play the game at last.
"Also the new Prince of Persia [from Ubisoft]. Looks gorgeous and I am so impressed with Ubi for taking a real risk with the distinctive art style. I really hope it is well received and sells in vast quantities."
Holmwood, like many of us "had a love/hate relationship with 'old' E3".
"The last two years I have felt pleased beforehand not to be going but, when the time comes, I really miss the feeling of sitting outside a bar in Santa Monica and having 30 old friends happen by over the course of an evening.
"Although," he adds, almost as an afterthought, "we have Leipzig for that, of course."