Copy Wars and Applied Technology

News broke today about a possible Sony controller knock-off. Turns out the patent was filed back in January of 2004 and probably applies towards the Sony eye-toy currently out for the PS2. This is only a couple of weeks after our MS Revolution Knock-off article that leads me to ask several questions which I’ll address below.

Who’s copying who? Isn’t a lot of the Revolution controller technology common industry knowledge? Granted, I know 3-D space is a big thing, but in essence, the new Revolution controller uses motion sensors to control an on screen object. That’s been done before. Likewise, touch screen control was nothing new when it was announced for the DS. It just had never been applied to conventionally gaming before. Earlier this year, Nintendo said the controller would utilize rather simple technology that had never been applied to games. So it seems the console gaming revolution will take place in applied technology, not necessarily new technology. Take the DS example a step further.

If the DS continues to sell as well as it has, you’re guaranteed that MS, Sony, or some other competitor will follow the touch screen lead in some capacity. They will have to. Company’s sell what people buy. Nintendo isn’t selling a new portable with the DS, they’re selling a new way of playing games. If people keep paying to play that way, the competition has no choice but to follow suite. Likewise, the Revolution controller won’t mean anything unless it makes games more enjoyable. If it does that, people will buy and companies will follow.

So no one is going to be copying anyone until the application makes money. I would assume what we’ve been seeing from MS and Sony and being deemed as copycating is probably just good ole R&D (research and development). Every large company does it, but they rarely apply it. Kudos to Nintendo for trying something new. Followers in business never take risks like that.

It seems they are two ways of making money in the games industry; selling the same thing repackaged that will eventually taper in sales or releasing a new way of playing that will redefine what will make money in the future. The DS is doing that. Can the Revolution do the same for console gaming? We’ll just have to wait until next year when playable games are released.