Let me start off by saying that I am NOT a fan of non-traditional gimmicky controllers and peripherals, since they are never utilised properly, and, for the most part are usually little more than previous gen tech, repackaged to run cheaply made un-innovative titles that are nothing more than half-developed tech demos. I was particularly down on the current gen of gimmicks in particular – namely the Kinect and the PSMove.
Well this week I stumbled upon this video highlighting the Kinect upgrade for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, showing off some rather interesting gameplay controls using voice commands. Part of me was intrigued by the addition of the Kinect features – however, my intrigue was overwhelmed by the fact that voice controls like these have been around for over a decade, and I was reminded just why I was so down on these gimmicky platforms in the first place, and how annoyed I actually am at the slow pace of innovation in the industry.
Way back in the PlayStaion 2 days I was wowed by the then-innovative use of voice control and microphone tech in games such as Lifeline, Ghost Recon: Jungle Storm and Manhunt, and I was very much looking forward to seeing what the then-new consumer technologies like voice recognition, Eyetoy, DVD and the internet would bring to market. However fast forward now to nearly a decade later – technologies have advanced in leaps and bounds, but it pains me to see that we are still pretty much playing the exact same types of games, using the same old recycled technologies.
It frustrates and annoys the hell out of me to see this stagnation in the field, to see just how much untapped potential there are with these platforms. To see how the companies are failing to capitalise on their own devices, how they are failing to deliver on the things promised by their own technologies, and how the majority of them are failing to take risks, to take steps forward in the name of innovation. And I am certainly sick and tired of seeing companies refusing to provide support and development for their own products, simply due to fear of alienating their existing established user bases.
We, the consumers, are as much to blame too, with our damned mainstream mob mentalities and our hostile schizophrenic attitudes. I despise the fact how so many people would complain about the lack of innovation and change, but then when the odd developers (especially when it comes to those who operates on the more mainstream end of the market) do attempt something different, these very same people would then criticised and punished them for it.
With our own unwillingness to embrace the new, or in fact anything that might deviate from the norm – we are forcing these companies to cater to our every tiny little whim, and in a sense encouraging the creation of un-innovative titles that are safe, unimaginative, and altogether forgettable.
As much as I hate companies like FaceBook and Apple, and the tactics applied by them, part of me is starting to think that perhaps others should follow their leads. As I have said before I am sick and tired of being pleased and appeased. Instead of trying to ease us gently into their platforms and technologies, pushing them out slowly and splash-lessly into the waters and moving with the ebb and flow of the market – perhaps more companies should learn to ignore the rest of the world, to say consumers be damned. To produce new and exciting creations based not upon the demands of the common man, but rather, upon the strength of their own technological prowess and their own artistic visions and imaginations.
Strange as it might sound, I wish companies would become more aggressive and start forcing their products down our throats. We might choke and we might gag, but at least then we might start to see some real innovations, and perhaps then the industry as a whole might finally move forward.