"Ready to Rumble": Gamers Want Vibrating Controllers
In a recent survey of gamers with an eye on the next-gen systems, numbers revealed that a significant proportion of thumbstick-jockeys miss the "Rumble Pack", a feature that made its vibrating debut in 1997.
First introduced with the Nintendo 64 in the late 1990s, the Rumble Pack was essentially an addition to the standard controller. When action on screen warranted – such as a big body check in Gretzky's 3D hockey or a massive explosion in Goldeneye – the controller would vibrate violently. It wasn't enough to send the device flying from a gamer's greasy fingers, but it did add a level of stimulation to further hook gamers playing Nintendo's titles.
In the period afterwards, Sony "borrowed" the idea for its Playstation console. By the following generation, featuring the Microsoft Xbox, Playstation 2 and Nintendo Wii, all three systems had subscribed to the Rumble effect.
But now that's all changed. The Microsoft Xbox 360 offers a rumble feature with its controllers, but it is certainly downgraded from the days of the Nintendo 64. What's worse – and is the reason for the survey itself – is the fact that the highly anticipated Playstation 3 is reportedly missing the Rumble feature entirely.
You see, in the next generation, there appears to be a new phenomenon. The most recent shot in the arm for gamers seeking a titillating experience while playing comes in the form of "motion sensors". What the heck does that mean? Essentially, by waving your controller built with motion sensor technology, a reaction in the game takes place. Swing it like a bat in a baseball game, and you might be knocking a gaming-winning dinger. Slash it like an axe in a Role Playing fantasy title, and you could be opening a gash in that ogre.
Microsoft, the North American cowboy of the console war, has yet to make any big splash in the motion sensor wading pool. Most of that tomfoolery is coming from Nintendo, who are making motion sensors and a very unique controller the central gimmick of the new console's impending release this fall.
As it is, Nintendo might be interested in this latest poll, which shows that excitement for the motion sensor technology is significantly less than the demand for a resurgence of the Rumble.