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Gaming's Future: Will We Ever Totally Abandon Buttons?

It seems like developers are doing almost everything they can to leave the old-fashioned button behind.

We've got touchscreens and various motion sensing devices, and through it all, I've yet to find anything that's even remotely as accurate as the 100% precise press of a button. I mean, we're not even close.

But will there eventually come a time when nobody will ever press a button to play a game? Will they either refine the current technologies or create newer ones? Perhaps tech that's even closer to virtual reality? I mean, if everyone craves innovation (developers and gamers alike), one has to assume that anything that resembles "outdated" tech will have to be replaced. It's like a ceaseless, almost maniacal drive to destroy the past on the implicit assumption that anything new is automatically better.

But what if we actually can't find anything that's more precise than a button press? What if even the best motion tracking technology we can invent has a little hitch, a little flaw that makes it prone to certain gameplay miscues? Are we still going to abandon buttons just because they feel old-fashioned? I honestly don't believe that those who participate in this hobby are willing to do that; the majority of gamers simply want the best experience they can have. And if they can't get that without the exactness of buttons, then I really can't see them fully embracing another form of interaction.

I think you're already seeing that, as even after motion sensing has been around all this time, most hardcore gamers rarely use it. It remains a casual thing because in truth, it's still mostly a gimmick. And I admit it's a nice change of pace and I especially like that it gets people moving, but the fact remains- It's inferior to the standard controller. The only question is whether or not that will change in the future...

Tags: gaming industry, video games, next gen, next generation

4/11/2013 10:24:02 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (32 posts)

WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, April 11, 2013 @ 11:04:34 PM
Reply

I hope we never move away from buttons, I can't imagine anything better or more precise. I think motion and touchscreens can be perfectly okay for some games or additions to games but let's face it there's nothing that can immerse me in a 3D world like sticks and buttons laid out on an intuitive plane. Even if you can get all the needed moves down into motions on a touchpad or whatever you create a system that alienates the gamer from the game.

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FatherSun
Thursday, April 11, 2013 @ 11:32:23 PM

In the year 2120 humans will try to imagine what life was like when people used to use buttons.

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JROD0823
Friday, April 12, 2013 @ 12:51:41 AM

Hopefully I am still alive in 2120, and games will be played in something resembling a holodeck from Star Trek.

That's the only way I will ever be happy with button-free gaming.

Last edited by JROD0823 on 4/12/2013 12:53:23 AM

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Axe99
Friday, April 12, 2013 @ 7:16:17 PM

+1 - you have to press and move things to get things to happen in the real world - even if they got mind-controlled games working, I doubt I wouldn't prefer buttons. Even if they had a holodeck, unless they had Mass Effect style element-zero driven virtual stuff with actual physical resistance, I wouldn't be interested.

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JROD0823
Friday, April 12, 2013 @ 8:25:52 PM

@Axe,

Yeah, I agree. Having it be a solid, fully interactive simulated world/environment/whatever is a definite must, too.

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FatherSun
Thursday, April 11, 2013 @ 11:29:44 PM
Reply

Hasn't anyone heard of the PlayStation 9?

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cLoudou
Thursday, April 11, 2013 @ 11:33:55 PM
Reply

We'll be playing games with our minds one day, hopefully I'll be Dead by then.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, April 12, 2013 @ 12:08:17 AM

When that's the case I'll be willing to say some people won't be able to detach gaming from reality.

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Kryten1029a
Friday, April 12, 2013 @ 8:08:25 AM

World,
Let's not give the likes of Jack Thompson any ideas!

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, April 12, 2013 @ 9:49:15 AM

I think that particular anti-government stooge is now selling government insured reverse mortgages :)

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touchyourtoes
Friday, April 12, 2013 @ 12:26:22 AM
Reply

Gaming on my iPod Touch is more of a chore imo than when I sit down with my DS3. I do think Move was the right idea, even though I never tried it out for myself, with the combo of motion AND buttons. If they move away from buttons completely I will stop gaming; microtransactions, forced online modes, social integration, always online, and restricting my rights as a consumer are already making me lament the future of my 25+ year hobby.

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Amnesiac
Friday, April 12, 2013 @ 12:39:51 AM
Reply

I hope not. The Kinect proved to me that we still need buttons not unresponsive jerky body motions

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maxpontiac
Friday, April 12, 2013 @ 1:44:28 AM
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Unless gaming ends up like a Star Trek TNG Holodeck, I will stay with button pressing thank you very much!

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JROD0823
Friday, April 12, 2013 @ 8:30:11 PM

Agreed, bro!

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Nas Is Like
Friday, April 12, 2013 @ 1:55:54 AM
Reply

I think so. Look at cellphones, a prime example of slowly moving from physical to touch screen.

I mean I would much rather prefer buttons but it's not really up to me to decide what the future holds.

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Hand_of_Sorrow
Friday, April 12, 2013 @ 2:23:50 AM
Reply

buttons and sticks FTW!!

off topic @ben,
i use the ps3 webbrowser, whats up with the facebook pop up
after i sign in? (i'm just curious)

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AcHiLLiA
Friday, April 12, 2013 @ 2:51:05 PM

Try directly PMing him.

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faraga
Friday, April 12, 2013 @ 2:33:45 AM
Reply

I think that buttons will eventually disappear, but only in the distant future.
By then games will be controlled by brain waves, maybe the image will be sent directly to our brain as well, but no-one can predict the future. I do believe that consoles will have disappeared before that happens and be replaced by a concept we haven't thought of yet as of now.

Last edited by faraga on 4/12/2013 2:34:02 AM

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Rogueagent01
Friday, April 12, 2013 @ 2:58:49 AM

No-one can predict the future? Really??? You need to sit down and read books written by Isaac Asimov or Philip K. Dick just to see how wrong you are.

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Beamboom
Friday, April 12, 2013 @ 8:34:25 AM

I love your author references, Rogue!

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Rogueagent01
Friday, April 12, 2013 @ 2:53:35 AM
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Buttons will be around for a long time. You can look at other industries to see that, if things like Kinect were so good then why don't fighter pilots have them integrated into their planes? Even Cart or F1 racing is another good example, many drivers have moved away from the old style shifters and now use buttons for shifting, this isn't a coincidence, it is the realization that control through buttons is preferential to a lot of people. Looking at most industries out there you can see that humans prefer that kind of control. If the gaming industry decides to move away from this before an acceptable kind of tech is in place to replace it they will hurt no one but themselves.

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Cesar_ser_4
Friday, April 12, 2013 @ 3:15:06 AM
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Gameplay is buggy enough as it is. Only when devs release games that don't need to be patched from the moment you put your disc in, will we ever need to start considering trying a new form of interaction. If that makes sense.

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deadmanwithin
Friday, April 12, 2013 @ 4:50:21 AM
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I certainly hope not. I have an apparent hatred of touch-screen controls(though I don't yet own a Vita, so I don't really know if some games make it work on that platform), and I certainly can't imagine playing any deep game without buttons of any kind. Some games can work with motion controls, but those are not the types of games I enjoy most. Anyway, I don't see it happening during my lifespan. And even if it does happen, they really should give us the option of an alternative. Fine, make it work with touch screen or motion controls, but give me the option of a good gamepad. If the devs can go through the effort of making a game play well with touch or motion controls, mapping things on an old-school controller should be a piece of cake. And this goes to one of my problems with many current-gen games. They either don't give you any different controller layouts, or they give you a few with extremely minor differences(such as changing the fire/grenade buttons from L2/R2 to L1/R1 or vice-versa). Why just that? For games that allow it, why don't you allow me to map my own controls - maybe my custom setup works better for me than their ideas? Same with the analog sticks - some people are more comfortable playing southpaw(aiming with the left and moving with the right stick). While one cat get used to most games' controls, IMO it would be much better if we had the option to map our own. And I can't think of very many games with which it wouldn't work.

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Beamboom
Friday, April 12, 2013 @ 5:03:15 AM
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We've not abandoned buttons in real life, so why should we do it in gaming.

But I do believe there will be supplements to the buttons and sticks. I think the new controller with the PS4 is interesting in that sense, with both the touch pad and that mysterious light bar.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, April 12, 2013 @ 9:50:18 AM

I kinda fear all my car controls being on a touch screen computer.

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Beamboom
Friday, April 12, 2013 @ 2:32:42 PM

I don't think they will. Remember when they tried all digital displays in cars? They pretty soon returned to old, analogue ones with real dials.
I think they learnt something then. We all can, actually.


Last edited by Beamboom on 4/12/2013 2:33:23 PM

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___________
Friday, April 12, 2013 @ 8:07:42 AM
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eventually you would assume so.
once the day hits where everyone has VR devices that actually WORK and not make anyone spill their guts all over the floor within 10 minutes of use, and we have devices like kinect which are 100% accurate, then yea why not?
but those days are a long, long way off!
exactly what i was saying the other day though, its just so sad how little input has changed in games.
how we play our games, how we interact with them, the majority of it has not changed since the hobbys creation!
one thing that never ceases to amaze me is how selective and picky we are with how, and what, evolves.
some things evolve so quickly and drastically, where others go unmoved for decades!
TVs for instance, weve gone from black and white, to color, from analogue, to digital, from SD to HD, from HD to UHD.
from CRT to LCD, LCD to LED, and soon LED to laser.
but other things, have barely moved.
VR, something a pipe dream for so long, and still is really.
yea theres the occulus rift but that is no where near where we need it, nor are the head mounted displays out there.
it was funny i was watching this technology show yesterday from 2004 showcasing this professor from germany showing off him and his students had created a augmented reality system where they had wearable computers on their backs and visors on their heads and were literally playing a game using themselves.
2004, 9 freaking years ago!
and where has this technology gone?
poof, thats where!
some things evolve at the speed of light, cough mobile phones, others well..........

cars another perfect example.
i remember watching a episode of top gear from early 2000, they were showing off prototypes jaguar had released on what cars of the future would look like.
powered by jet turbines and any flammable liquid, great perfect solution to this battery powered nonsense!
no mirrors, no spedo, cameras and a LCD screen.
you dont move the seat its fixed, you move the dashboard and the pedals.
we have the technology to do so much, yet how much have cars REALLY changed?
we have the technology to change oh so much, but actually use it far, far, FAR too infrequently!
why?


Last edited by ___________ on 4/12/2013 8:13:54 AM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, April 12, 2013 @ 9:48:08 AM
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^ abandoned keyboard and mouse many years ago in favor of superior controllers.

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gumbi
Friday, April 12, 2013 @ 10:45:56 AM
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Until video games can be played with brain jacks, a la Matrix... I'll keep my buttons thank you.

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Comic Shaman
Friday, April 12, 2013 @ 11:52:07 AM
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Buttons, in many ways, are probably a better control scheme than even the science fiction neural interface.

We have millions of years of evolution backing up the idea of manipulating things with our hands. We're strongly wired that way. Buttons make use of that natural wiring. It is the very simplest and quickest form of manual manipulation. They maximize the efficiency of our native hardware, so to speak.

A good neural interface will probably work the same way... that is, you visualize pressing a button or making a simple hand gesture to make something work!

Think about a fighting game. With a touch of a button, you can trigger Ryu to execute a precise martial arts attack. But what if you were in a holodeck or VR environment. If you're not a martial arts master, how do you trigger the attack? Your body doesn't know how to move that way. You don't have the reflexes or power of Ryu. You're just YOU in a different environment, relying on your own reflexes, skills, and physical limitations.

Which is why M. Bison kicks the living crap out of you.

I think buttons are gonna be with us for a long time.

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Ultima
Friday, April 12, 2013 @ 12:26:47 PM
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I think the answer to this is, "Hopefully nOt in our lifetimes".

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Id00urmomma
Sunday, April 14, 2013 @ 11:54:47 AM
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Keyboards are buttons and they are the standard still, so controllers with buttons are too, until they hook into our brains (and I wouldn't be down with that) buttons it is!

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