Sunday, May 10, 2009

What additions could be made to the next-generation Wii's remote?

I am quite aware and very sorry of the recent lack of anything here. I had a bad week, but I'd rather not fill in the details and have this turn into a MySpace page. Now then, an article lies below.

It seems that, ever since day one, people have been speculation about the next Wii. From assuming it'll be stronger than two Playstation 3s to guessing that it will be launching far before the competitors, there's no limit to the chatter... Except for maybe in one category. While people endlessly go on and on about the possibilities of the hardware, almost nobody stops and wonders about the controller. The Wii remote is an amazing piece of technology, but there's still many ways for it to improve, and I doubt Nintendo is just going to ignore these possibilities.

First off, we're going to take a trip back to remember something almost nobody remembers... Memory. That's right, we're remembering memory. 16kb of it, to be precise. Built into each Wii remote is 16kb of usable memory, and what has it been used for? Mii storage and Super Smash Bros. Brawl control scheme preferences. While memory built into a controller is a great idea, only 16 kb of it is not. You know how much 16kb is? Not even enough to contain half of the following image.

That's right. A picture of the Wii remote memory chip (That little black chunk just off center) is too big to fit onto the piddly little amount of memory crammed into it. What the next console needs is a controller with a far larger amount of space on it... Say, 256MB, at the least. I'd toss out a larger number, but really, with Nintendo, you should never expect much in the realm of on-board memory. It's usually best to just aim low and hope for a pleasant surprise.

Second, Wii MotionPlus capabilities will be built right into the new remote right from the get-go. By then, building the advanced motion detectors right into a standard-sized remote will be no problem, in terms of both physical size and cost. Who knows, by the time the next console actually hits the market, technology that even surpasses that of the MotionPlus could become available. Although, if current hands-on impressions of the forthcoming peripheral are any indication, this new add-on will be hard to beat. Hard... But perhaps not impossible. Maybe they'll discover some cutting-edge technology to do away with the sensor bar once and for all? It'd sure be welcome to those of you with wall-mounted TVs, that's for sure.

Third, the one thing everyone was sure would be in the Wii remote but ultimately wasn't: A microphone. It simply amazes me that Nintendo didn't end up cramming one in there. Audio input in games is one of the greatest ideas thought up in a long time, but so far it's been put to use in somewhat limited ways. It's usually held back by the fact that a microphone has never been a standard part of a game controller. In all of gaming history, the only exceptions to the previous statement are the Famicom and Nintendo DS, but the primitive technology of the former and limited capacity of the latter prevent sophisticated audio input from becoming reality. As it is, vocal input is limited to chat and basic voice commands on the most part, with a handful of games even daring to go a step further.

A major part of this is developers are skeptical to throw their weight behind a project that relies on a peripheral that not every owner of the console will have. After all, what's the point of pouring tonnes of cash into a technology that many people won't even be able to take advantage of? However, if a microphone were something every single owner of the console was guaranteed to have (Like with the DS, for example), developers wouldn't have to worry about having to pack in an expensive microphone with the game or just hoping the user has one already. Add this together with the presumably significant horsepower of the Wii's successor and you've got a console wide open to creativity of a whole new kind. As for an added bonus, we won't have to mess around with USB microphones any more! Cords be gone!

What other ideas do you have that you think would make good additions to the next generation Wii's remote? And do you agree with my suggestions? Feel free to have your say in the comments section below, or in this forum thread.

1 comment:

Kyle said...

I think a lot of those ideas will be implemented into the controller of the next Wii, especially Wii MotionPlus built in. I also think they need to make everything wireless. I think the next Wii should come with three controllers, a wireless Wii remote, a wireless Nunchuk, and a wireless classic controller (or something along the CC lines).

But I don't think they'll innovate too much with the next Wii other than improve the technology. Nintendo clearly goes by a Revolution/Evolution cycle. For example:
-NES -- "revolution" in gaming at the time
-SNES -- "evolution" of everything with the NES, better graphics, in depth controls
-N64 -- "revolution" in 3D gaming
-GameCube -- "evolution" of 3D gaming, better graphics, etc.
-Wii -- "revolution" in motion controled and pointer controlled gaming

So I'd say it's safe to assume the "Wii 2" will improve on all the motions in the Wii and be more graphically powerful.