Gates Says It's Not the Motion

Microsoft chief doesn't see the appeal in motion sensing functionality for controllers. He wants to emphasize the social aspects of gaming

In an interview conducted at this year's E3, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates told MTV News that he's not convinced by the latest trend of motion-sensing controllers that we're seeing with the Wii from Nintendo and with Sony's PS3 controller. For Gates, moving a controller around just doesn't have enough mass market appeal.

Even though Microsoft had produced a controller many years ago that supported 3-D movement, it doesn't appear that MS will be adding a motion-sensing controller to the Xbox 360 anytime soon.

"There's room for innovation here, but moving that controller around -- it's something that's not mainstream for most games," he said. "It's tough because sometimes you move the controller, and you don't [mean] to fly into the ground. You just want to put the controller down... People aren't that good at totally standing still. Even pilots actually sit in a chair when they do their flying. So there's a lot to be learned about these controllers."

And if you thought Gates was too busy being the head of Microsoft and one of the richest men in the world to take an active interest in the direction of the Xbox business, you'd be wrong. His first-ever E3 appearance at the MS media briefing this year and the fact that he's in regular contact with Xbox execs like Peter Moore dispels that notion. "Not a week goes by that there's not five to 10 e-mails where we're talking about what we're seeing, what we're doing," he said. He even disclosed that recently he's been involved in some e-mail discussions about how to use the planned Xbox 360 camera for functions besides gaming.

The camera likely ties into Gates' vision of what he believes will really drive the future of the industry: social gaming. Solitary gaming will come to represent only a minority of gamers, he said. "Some games you are going to be playing by yourself. But most of gaming, particularly as we draw in both men and women and people of all ages, most of it is going to be social."

He continued, "Gaming is changing. We'll never leave behind the old genres. There will always be first-person shooters and football and those things, but we've got to complement that with lots of new ideas so that everybody feels like it's new and engaging for them."

As for those rumors of MS creating a handheld gaming system, Gates only offered a clue that the company may one day be a player in the portable market too. "Over time you have to say, will you carry in your pocket a media device and a phone and a gaming device and, say, a tablet device for reading?" he asked. "People have different blends of that now. The world isn't ready yet for a device that meets all of those needs. But go a few years out, the hardware gets a lot better, we'll be there with the software platform, and I think everybody will just take it for granted that there will be a better device."

Check out the full interview here.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.