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Is Sixaxis a white elephant?

Just in case you're not familiar with the phrase, a White Elephant is something that is more trouble and more expensive than its worth and therefore a liability. Sound familiar? Welcome to our 15 month appraisal of Sixaxis - PlayStation 3's controversial motion-sensitive controller.

After nearly a year and a half, it's hard to use the defence that it's 'still new technology'. There's a wealth of evidence by which to judge its success and second-generation games should have learned from the mistakes of the launch titles. But we have to say, it's not a very convincing case file. While Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction used the tilt feature sparingly to decent effect, High Velocity Bowling actually used arm motions to control the swing's power level and in-car MotorStorm steering was a lot of fun, these are the few worthwhile efforts.

Who could forget Lair, which didn't only lack the sensitivity and precision to make control anything but a struggle, but forced the player to use tilt, even though the controller has two analogue sticks that would have worked just as well, if not better. Formula One: Championship Edition had a large dead zone in the centre of the controller making fine direction changes near-impossible, and Uncharted: Drake's Fortune was a bit flaky when it came to lining up grenade throws with the pad.

We'd say it's not been the most successful start for the technology - unfortunate for Sony and its most popular spokesperson Phil Harrison who originally showed such enthusiasm for the concept. Who can forget the oft repeated quote from back in late 2006 where Harrison went on the record stating; “I think that the next-generation interfaces that can be created built on Sixaxis motion sensitivity give tremendous gameplay benefits that far outweigh a reactive vibration function.”

So nearly two years on, do the developers making games still agree with Harrison’s sentiments? Or does his recently announced resignation mean they can all forget about having to incorporate Sixaxis into their games now?

 
Above: "I said turn around! No, don't go faster, you stupid dragon..."

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