Next-Gen: Traditional Controls Still 'A Big Bottleneck'

Adam Barnes


Will Wright tells us that the only real improvement needed for next-gen is to change the input.

Published on Apr 16, 2013

Next-gen is a hot topic these days, so given the opportunity you'd surely want to ask famed SimCity creator Will Wright what he wanted to see from next-gen.

"Gosh. You know, as a designer I don’t feel we have any significant limitations on the technology side," Will Wright told us. "If you asked me twenty years ago I would have had a long list of things that I would love to be able to do with a computer but over the years all those bottlenecks and barriers have slowly evaporated."

But that doesn't mean there aren't issues that can be resolved, "I think the interface side still feels like a big bottleneck.

"I was never really satisfied with Kinect, it feels too sloppy, too imprecise. The idea of having to learn these 16-button controllers too, feels like a big bottleneck."

Wright adds: "I still find the mouse to be one of best input devices ever made but it’s not very comfortable for the living room environment. I think that addressing the inputs would be one of the few things I would look at from the technology side."

When quizzed on the PS4's new controller - and particular the inclusion of the new touch panel and lightbar features - Wright said, "Yeah, I mean stuff like that might not be one solution for a number of different things.

"I feel like the amount of data that we have coming out of these games with the rendering and the visuals is tremendous now, and it’s improved thousand-fold from when games started.

"But the input going back into the computer has only just barely crept up a little bit, in terms of the number of bytes we’re inputting back into the game."

The solution? Well, there are none, not yet anyway. Wright would like see games beginning to understand emotional input but even that won't be a be-all and end-all of input methods.

"It’s probably going to be a hybrid of all these things and probably a lot of it is going to end up being on the software side.

"There’s not going to be one solution where we think ‘oh yeah, I want to do that’ but it’s going to be an intelligent use of a larger array of different methods that we’ll use.

"But the main idea is how many bytes can we get back into the computer from the player. I think all these things are possible, and these things will have a certain amount of audience."

We spoke to Will Wright as part of a lookback at his illustrious career, and what he feels will be the future of videogames.



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