On Monday, MTV News broke the story that Microsoft has been working on an Xbox 360 answer to the Wii remote since the summer. This story has provoked a lot of discussion and raised a lot of questions. How did we get these details? Why would Microsoft do this? Is this a late April Fools’ Day hoax?
We can break it down for you and include some of your comments along way:
You: Is this an April Fools’ Day joke?
“April Fools was a few days ago, guy.” — BlackAdvent, commenting on gaming blog Kotaku
MTV News: MTV News has been doing background reporting on this story for several months, but only recently felt the facts were solid enough to file a report.
You: Isn’t that just a sketch made in MS Paint? There’s no way that’s a real Microsoft development sketch. (See the sketch for yourself.)
“That pic is a joke. Nobody, let alone Microsoft, would file a patent or trademark with a pic like that.” — Ron Workman, commenting on the MTV Multiplayer blog
MTV News: Correct. Our primary development source (who isn’t an artist) couldn’t produce a photograph of Microsoft’s controller prototype without potentially compromising his position and studio. MTV News instead asked him to produce a sketch, to give us an idea of what the prototype looked like, which he then produced in MS Paint.
You: Is this story based on what just one person told you? What do they know?
MTV News: Only one source was able to provide MTV News with a sketch. That source also provided MTV News with a project code name but didn’t feel comfortable sharing the code name for fear it would identify him. That said, MTV News has been covering games in-depth for years, and reporter Patrick Klepek has more than 10 years’ experience on the beat. The contacts gained during that time enabled us to confirm with at least two other high-level individuals in the gaming industry that Microsoft has been developing motion-controller prototypes, even if they hadn’t seen this particular prototype firsthand. Other sources said they had heard rumors of varying degrees — Rare’s involvement, a Wiimote-like controller — and didn’t have firsthand knowledge, but their details supported our primary source’s claims.
You: Didn’t your quoted source contradict him- or herself by saying Microsoft wants to make “Halo”-style games for this controller and to convince publishers to port more casual Wii games to the 360? And didn’t GameSpot call you out on that?
MTV News: We also recognized this apparent contradiction, and our development source said this stemmed from Microsoft’s own confusion on what kinds of games the controller is targeted. “The whole thing is a colossal clusterf—,” as our source put it. It’s believed that Microsoft is toying with both possibilities to see what works and what doesn’t.
You: You never outright say this is going to come out. Aren’t you really just reporting a rumor that may never come true?
” ’If the project comes to fruition …’ See, that’s the thing. I can confirm, as I’m sure your writer can as well, that this product will never see the light of day. That is of course why you wrote this line. You need to give yourself an out. So sad, so very sad. This article’s author is merely recycling old rumors that have already been proven false” — Truth317, commenting on MTVNews.com
MTV News: Game companies regularly work on prototype controllers. The nature of those prototypes is indeed news, as is any detailed information, including sketches, of those prototypes. While we reported that this project has been in the works since the summer and tied to the development studio Rare, we are not privy to Microsoft’s current plans for the project. Microsoft declined to comment on our reporting.
You: If this is real, isn’t Microsoft just ripping off Nintendo?
MTV News: Once the Wii took off with the mainstream, it would be surprising to learn that Microsoft and Sony weren’t both working on controllers playing off Nintendo’s successes. Their stockholders would demand it. MTV News characterized Microsoft’s in-development controller as a prototype. When (and if) the controller is made public, it could have a different look, nature and design philosophy, but MTV News believed our insight provided an interesting snapshot of where Microsoft’s ideas are currently taking them.
For more from the world of games, check out our Multiplayer blog, updated several times daily.