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The Death of the Controller

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Monday - 21 June 2010

It is possible to follow the advancements in the video game industry just by looking at a layout of the controller designs from past to present. This may not be the case in the near future as the controller is quickly going the way of the joystick and cartridge gaming.

Am I the only one who is saddened by the inevitable death of the controller?

Ok, so maybe it is not an inevitable as I am sure (or at least hope) that the controller will remain for some years to come. Still, the uses of the controller are slowly being replaced or adapted to work with new technologies. The Microsoft Kinect for the Xbox 360 will be, to my knowledge, the first controller free system. Up until this point a controller was needed to at least track the players movements. With Kinect the user will be able to navigate with their hands and voice controls. This leaves no room for a controller with the Kinect games.

No, I doubt that Kinect will completely kill the controller but I think it a stepping stone heading in that direction. As it stands the Wii bastardized many games so they could function with the new Wii remote technology when it launched. Now game developers are going to be finding new ways to utilize the Kinect, leaving little to no room for controllers in their games. There are bound to be games that use Kinect and a controller or a controller in place of Kinect. I just wonder how long these games are gonna last.

Will it be five years or twenty years before the controller is obsolete? I do not know but the way the industry is heading I think it will be inevitable. I am sure some form of controller will always exist for older games and certain remakes. Still, I wish that game designers would consider the use of a controller in some games which are stepping away from it. Zelda is my prime example here, while I did have fun with Twilight Princess I found it a better game on the Gamecube with the controller. I don't think that the game play of Zelda works in a motion detection environment. I am sure that with some tuning it could work but it would take away from the fundamentals that the game was built on.

In the end that is what it comes down to, should video games use the controller to continue and use systems that were built around the controller or should we adapt the games designs to fit new technology? This middle of the road game we are playing right now is not cutting it. Developers need to either change the game and make it work with upcoming technology fully or they need to continue to develop for a controller.

In this case I want to keep my controller. I have always been one of those people who feels if it is not broke then it does not need fixed.


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  1. GameGavel's Avatar
    I don't think controllers can ever be replaced. Just imagine playing games like Prince of Persia without a controller. There is no way to pull off the types of moves that and other games involve. And god forbid the game companies dumb a game down both graphically and control wise so that I can play it without a controller. I agree, though, that if and when the day comes there is no physical controller it will be a sad day in gaming.

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