An interview Jade Raymond, the Ubisoft studio head in charge of Splinter Cell: Blacklist, gave to OXM is making the rounds with the headline, "Jade Raymond says controllers are a huge barrier!" Out of context, that might seem quite alarming, but the truth behind the quote is quite endearing. In the interview, Raymond talks about her childhood dream of a holodeck and the, "totally immersive experiences," that go along with it. Controllers are quite a barrier to that idea, which seems intuitively correct to me, maybe not as a snippet of headline, though.
"I was a big Trekkie when I was a kid and I still have this dream that, ultimately, we're going to end up creating the Holodeck - you know, totally immersive experiences. I still think one of the huge barriers is the controller, and even people who played games when it used to be just one big red button and a D-pad can't play games now."
Jade's hopes are that with the introduction of motion controls like the Wii controller and the move, and further with the full body capture technology of the Kinect, that progress is being made. There will always be a potential audience out there who can't, or aren't willing, to train themselves on how to use a controller. Just look at the audience that Wii Sports introduced to gaming. It's impressive as hell, and Jade is absolutely right that it's rather inspiring.
"Ubisoft's had a lot of success with the dance games and it's funny, I got this call from my sister saying, "Jane, have you tried this game, Just Dance? I love it!" and I said "yeah, that's a Ubisoft game!" You know, she's never bought a game in her life but she's calling me to tell to try this one out. I think we need to keep pushing that."
Of course, at this point everyone is thinking the same thing, including Jade: "The tech for those things isn't quite there, but I hope it will soon."
Personally, I find Jade's attitude towards motion controls refreshing, though I'm certainly much more cynical about the modern industry. When I think of the future, what I'd love to see from motion controls, then yeah, I want a Star Trek holodeck. Who wouldn't? That's the ideal when immersion is your goal. The tech is definitely not there, but who knows what the next generation of Kinect might bring about? It's best to keep an open mind about these things.