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How to Buy Motion Controllers for Different Game Platforms

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How to Buy Motion Controllers for Different Game Platforms
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How to Buy Motion Controllers for Different Game Platforms

Video gaming has been a popular pastime since the first gaming consoles were popularised in the 1970s. The first video games were hardly anything to get excited about, when compared to today's feature-rich and intense video game experiences, but when they first came out, people went just as crazy for them as they do today. Video gaming is based on the simple concept of a video game controller that is held in the player's hand and is connected to a console which is in turn connected to a television. The player pushes buttons and toggles joysticks that are interpreted by the console and turned into game action on the television screen.

A new twist that has developed through the advancement of video game technology is the introduction of the wireless motion controller that allows the player to physically act as the game controller. Motion controllers have changed the manner in which people play video games. When purchasing a new motion controller, it is important to understand the different game platforms as well as the benefits of motion controllers. It also helps to know how to buy the right controller using the tools available on eBay.

How Motion Controllers Work

Motion controllers are sensitive wand-like electronic devices comprised of a number of sensors and tiny accelerometers that are computer microchips. In basic terms, the accelerometer has a small disk-like element that is attached to the controller with springs. When the controller is moved around, the disk compresses in the proper direction and sends an electric signal to the game console. The accelerometer monitors the position of this disk and translates the movements it generates into character movement within the game.

Another type of motion controller is based on scanning a player's body while he moves. The motion controller then translates those movements directly into the video game and makes the game character mimic the exact motions of the player. The technology makes the player the actual game controller because the actions on the screen are directly related to the motions made by the player. Other technology includes a melding of the two different technologies where a console camera tracks a wand in the player's hand and translates those movements into the game.

Brands of Motion Controller Platforms

There are three major gaming platforms that utilise motion control technology. Each game platform offers advantages and disadvantages, depending on the type of games the individual enjoys playing and the level of motion control one wants to experience within those games. Both Sony and Microsoft offer motion controllers as an added component to an existing game console, whereas the Nintendo unit is only available as a motion-based system.

Nintendo Wii

The Nintendo Wii utilises a wand held by the player and contains buttons that can be pressed as the wand is moved. Inside the Wii remote are tiny sensors and accelerometers that determine the position of the remote and where it is moving to and from and translates those signals to the game console. As the player interacts with the character in the game, the console detects the position of the controller and mimics it with the character on the screen. Thus, if playing a baseball game and the user is at bat, as soon as the user swings the remote to simulate the swinging of the bat, that movement is mimicked in the game,and the character swings the bat. The Nintendo Wii is one of the first gaming platforms to utilise motion control, and it uses the simpler forms of motion technology amongst the three gaming brands.

Microsoft Xbox 360 Kinect

The Microsoft Xbox 360 Kinect differs dramatically from the Nintendo Wii in that is has no handheld wand or controller at all. The Microsoft Kinect is a controller-free system with a camera that is capable of depth perception and motion sensing. The depth camera sees what is in front of it in a three-dimensional space and creates a skeleton image of the player. This image is then tracked by the motion sensor and correlates the player's position and body movements with that of the character in the video game. The Kinect also has voice recognition capabilities that allow the system to understand what the player is saying. This enables the player to control various features and characters within the game through the use of voice. As an additional benefit, one can also control the functions of the Xbox 360, such as playing or pausing a movie.

Sony PlayStation Move

The Sony PlayStation Move utilises a hybrid of technologies that include elements of both the Nintendo Wii and Microsoft Xbox 360. The Sony PlayStation Move features a wand with a glowing ball attached to the top of the device. A camera is connected to the gaming console that tracks the position of the glowing ball and identifies its coordinates within a three-dimensional space. The camera also is capable of tracking the position of the player's head and is equipped with facial recognition technology. The position of the wand is correlated with the position and the facial features of the player, and that information is delivered to the console and relayed to the character in the video game. PlayStation Move successfully blends the ability to utilise a wand and still maintain precise positioning via the motion sensing camera that tracks the user's movement.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Motion Controllers

Motion controllers have opened up new avenues for players to enjoy gaming. One of the often-criticised elements of gaming is that it gives individuals an excuse to sit on the couch for long periods of time, interacting only with their fingers. The motion controller changes that approach to gaming by getting the player up and on his feet, physically interacting with the game and the characters. Some athletic and dancing games have the additional benefit of incorporating exercise into a fun environment. Another benefit of motion control is the sense of realistic play that is developed from physically interacting with the game and the characters. It makes playing video games a more involved and realistic experience. The chart below summarises the benefits and drawbacks of motion controllers.

Benefits

Drawbacks

Fun exercise

Lack of games designed for the technology

Unique game interaction for the player

Games are platform specific

Adds new dynamic to video gaming

Sometimes not as precise as traditional controller

A novelty at parties

Can discourage other forms of relaxation

Motion controllers are still in their infancy as far as what they are truly capable of achieving. Technology advances every day, and soon the motion controller should be capable of enabling players to have near-reality experiences within the games they play. The main drawback of motion controllers is the lack of game availability, even though this is sure to change in the future. With different motion devices and technology in each platform, gone are the days of video games that can be played on Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft machines. Games designed to be played with motion controllers are designed specifically for use with one of the three platforms and not for all.

How to Buy Motion Controllers on eBay

Deciding on the type of game platform you want is the tough part of purchasing a motion controller. Once you decide on the specific platform, an easy way to find the controller to suit your needs at the right price is to utilise the powerful search tools on eBay. Simply go to the eBay home page and enter a term such as "motion controller" into the search box. A list of available products is then displayed that relate to your keyword. At this point, you can browse through the various listings until you find the product you like. Or, you may narrow the search results to the specific platform you want to find a controller for by entering that specific term directly into the search box.

Once you have found the controller that works for you, the next step is to verify the seller's background. The eBay community utilises buyer feedback to rate a seller's performance during transactions. Sellers who consistently provide quality products and service receive high ratings and good feedback from satisfied customers. For your own peace of mind, it is important to do business with a seller with a positive rating on eBay.

Conclusion

Motion controllers are changing the way that video games are being played. Not only do they give the player a physical sensation of playing the game, but they also get players off the couch and develop healthier habits. Motion controllers do not replace traditional game controllers, but they have added elements that make games more enjoyable to participate in.

Even though there are only three gaming platforms that utilise motion controller technology, it can still be difficult to make the right choice for one's needs. Motion controllers make interaction with the video game more exciting and realistic, however they do have limitations. For people who are not yet sure that motion control is something they want, they should find a store that has test versions available for them to try. Once it is determined that motion controller technology is something one is willing to try, then one can take advantage of the great deals on eBay to purchase this device.

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