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Analysts: New Motion Control Schemes Will Lengthen Hardware Cycle
Analysts: New Motion Control Schemes Will Lengthen Hardware Cycle Exclusive
June 3, 2009 | By Leigh Alexander

Both Sony and Microsoft demonstrated a gesture recognition control scheme at their E3 briefings this year, and analysts think the new tech in the works -- still a year out at the very least for both -- could mean a longer lifecycle for current platforms.

Lazard Capital Markets analyst Colin Sebastian says Microsoft's Project Natal and Sony's glowing sphere-topped wand "may provide the industry with its next growth driver and extend the console cycle."

Analysts and publishers like Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello have generally agreed that the current console cycle is likely to defy past lifecycle patterns and last longer.

The revelation that Sony and Microsoft have been showing their technology to developers for some time may also illuminate Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot's recent strong assertions that developers should start preparing for new hardware.

According to Cowen Group's Doug Creutz, Sony's concept is the one with more potential. "In contrast to previous years, we thought Sony actually did the best job among the hardware manufacturers, both in terms of upcoming titles and longer-term strategy," said Creutz of the company's media briefing yesterday.

During the prototype demonstration yesterday, the EyeToy team's Dr. Richard Marx stressed the potential applications of Sony's solution for hardcore gaming, showing it acting as a sword, a gun, or a utility for interacting with RTS units.

"We felt Sony's gamer-oriented motion capture camera was superior to Microsoft's casual-oriented offering," said Creutz.

Creutz also didn't see much headway for third parties on Nintendo's Wii in the works, despite the recently-announced 600,000-unit launch of EA Sports Active. Nintendo's strongest E3 announcements were related to its own franchises, like Wii Fit and Super Mario.

"Nintendo appears set to continue dominating software market share on its platforms," said Creutz.

Sebastian is also optimistic about the "strong title pipeline" for the PlayStation platforms, and believes the lineup can "position Sony to take share."

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