Motion Controls Could Disrupt Pro Gaming — If Anyone’s Bold Enough to Try
‘Overwatch’ on Switch might literally change the game
In a few weeks, Blizzard will release its billion-dollar team-based shooter Overwatch on the Nintendo Switch. Unlike versions on other platforms, the Switch port will make use of motion controls to aim, allowing players to move their controllers to line up shots with much better accuracy. As esports grow into an ever larger industry, it’s an innovation that could have a huge impact on how competitive games are played.
There’s a long-running conflict between console and PC gamers over which platform is superior for playing competitive games, including first-person shooters like Overwatch. Analog sticks on a controller don’t offer quite as much fine control over aiming at targets as you get with a mouse and keyboard. While you have the space to move your arm across a desk to do a 180-degree turn, your control stick can only turn your character so quickly. It’s also harder to line up a distant target in your crosshairs with your thumb, versus your entire hand clutching a mouse. Console games typically offer extra features like aim assist, which helps you hit a target as long as you’re firing in the right direction, to compensate for these more cumbersome controls.
The Switch, however, isn’t a typical console. Its Joy-Con controllers contain hypersensitive gyroscopes and sensors built around the same kind of motion controls that made the Wii one of the bestselling consoles of all time. Nintendo used a combo of analog sticks and motion controls in its flagship game The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild to allow players to aim their bow or camera by moving their controllers in physical space. Third-party games like Doom have taken a similar approach, allowing console players much more accuracy and control than they’re used to.
Could this same tech be applied to competitive games like Overwatch and give professional players an edge? Maybe, but don’t expect to see pros try it any time soon.
Professional esports players have a lot more on the line than the average player. To buy a franchise slot in Blizzard’s Overwatch League, owners had to invest up to a reported $60 million. This weekend, two such teams will compete…