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.


  1. Uh… except that neither the Sony nor the Microsoft “knockoffs” are anything like Nintendo’s.

    This Sony one, in particular, uses a Webcam to keep track of a moving object, so can’t keep track of rotations and tilts or where it’s pointing.

    True, they’re both unorthodox control schemes but they’re nothing alike, and a game for Nintendo’s Revolution wouldn’t work *at all* on a Sony sporting that remote thing.

    That was patented awhile ago, filed away, and the world would have been just as well off not knowing about it. But someone saw it, saw a not more than passing resemblance to “that other remote” and thought the controversy might be good for a few page views.

    My take, anyway.

  2. There are leaders and there are followers. Nintendo are our leaders. It wouldn’t suprise me if later-day handheld consoles [b]did[/b] apply touchscreen technology. Does Nintendo hold any kind of patent over that idea, touchscreens on handheld gaming devices? Because I’d laugh my ass off if Sony ended up having to actually buy the rights off their competitors.

  3. If there’s any question of who’s copying who, i don’t think it’s entirely fair. All three are very different devices. The MS wand was solely used to adjusting brightness of lamps. Totally not related to gaming. This Sony one is a gaming attempt. In essence it’s the poor man’s “Revmote”. It uses the Eye Toy to capture the light off of a specific object to discern where it is. It’s a wand with some reflective material to give off that light. It’s pretty inadequate and doesn’t really allow 3D movement.It barely tracks 2D movement cause of the refresh rate of the cam, which will prob be fixed with their planned HD cam. Neither of these compares to the functions of the Rev controller. No forward, backward, pointing, twisting, or tilting.

    There are people that are saying that Nintendo copied this from Sony cause the Sony patent was signed late last year. Pay no mind to such comments. Nintendo patented the Rev’s control method a full 2 and a half years ago. Sony’s not the only company with patents, u know.

  4. Hostile- The Tapwave Zodiac has a touch screen, but you could argue that it’s less of a game system than it is a really powerful PDA.

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