Twenty-One Input Methods for Three Consoles, and Growing

Have you ever actually counted the number of different control configurations available for today’s gaming consoles? If you only count input methods that are officially made by Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo, then you’re dealing with more than 20 different pieces of hardware used to interact with your video games and it seems more are added each quarter. Also remember that some of these pieces of hardware have multiple methods of input. Take the Wii U GamePad for instance, it has: motion/orientation sensors, a touch screen, physical buttons/controls, and a mic for sound input. As a gamer this can be overwhelming, and I can only imagine what developers go through when sorting through this mess of control schemes and deciding what will fit best, not to mention how best to port games to other consoles that do not offer the same control configurations.

One can only assume that the PlayStation 4 and the next Xbox will bring even more input methods, which is a scary thought. Sometimes I long for the good old days when buttons were enough, and a single analog stick was cutting edge; however, being the tech enthusiast that I am, I know we can never go back and despite some of the confusing control configurations, we’ve come a long way in our journey to interact with the digital worlds we spend hours exploring. Hats off to Microsoft for keeping the number of input controls down to a scant 5.


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