Valve is coming out with some exciting new things this year, and while motion control won’t be among them, biometric controls might.
In the past, we communicated with our bodies. As time went by, we were introduced to the wonders of handheld devices like phones and controllers, and our method of communicating shifted to our fingers. Valve boss Gabe Newell is a firm believer that this is how things should be, and that motion controls are a way backward, not forward.
Newell admits to The Verge that disliking motion control might be “just failure of imagination on our part,” but no matter how he looks at it, motion control has Valve “unconvinced.” “Your hands, and your wrist muscles, and your fingers are actually your highest bandwidth,” says Newell, “so trying to talk to a game with your arms is essentially saying ‘oh we’re gonna stop using ethernet and go back to 300 baud dial-up.’” Despite numerous experiments, Valve just “can’t see how it makes games fundamentally better.”
All this doesn’t mean that there’s no room for innovation in the world of videogame controllers. Valve has their sights set on gaze tracking, and biometrics. “I think you’ll see controllers coming from us that use a lot of biometric data,” Newell says. Biometric controllers offer insight into the player, “adding more communication bandwidth between the game and the person playing it, especially in ways the player isn’t necessarily conscious of.”
So when the Steam box is unveiled later this year, don’t be too surprised if it’s accompanied by a controller that will know you more intimately than you realize. And will know when your eyes wander to check out another console’s specs, you monster.