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Watch Out Wii, Here Comes Fusion

Cross-format motion-sensor controller in development by In2Games.

by Alex Simmons, IGN UK

UK, October 20, 2006 - British peripheral developer In2Games has lifted the lid on a Wii-style controller it's developing that will bring wire-free waving fun to PC and next-gen consoles. Codenamed Fusion, the wireless controller consists of a sensor box and a Wii-mote-style baton that works with any USB-compatible machine, so titles previously exclusive to Nintendo's next-gen console could soon be appearing on both PlayStation and Xbox without losing their original control system.

Although the concept of Fusion is similar to the Wii-mote the technology inside is very different indeed: rather than using infra-red sensors, which are only accurate when the transmitter points in the direction of the receiver, the Fusion uses cutting-edge ultrasonic technology, combined with a tilt sensor in the handle, to provide accurate 3D tracking no matter where the wand is positioned.

When In2Games showed of an early tech demo in central London this week we were certainly impressed. A tennis game created especially for Fusion the accuracy and ease of use of the controller: to serve simply lift the baton up and strike it down quickly as you would in real life (watching out for light fittings when playing in a room with low ceilings), while playing a passing shot is as easy as playing a fore- or backhand pass. Additionally you can add spin or slice the ball by angling the racquet as you would if you were playing on centre court, the position of the face affecting the shot on screen. Better still the game comes with a racquet head add-on, a 10-inch hoop-shaped sensor that clips onto the end of the baton to enable you to play shots more realistically than with any nondescript remote.

An entire range of wand extensions is planned, with other peripherals in development including a baseball bat and a golf club, so players can the direction and pitch of their shot by physically looking down at the head of the club rather than pressing a button or flicking an analogue stick. A bowling ball resembling an iPod speaker was also on display, with finger grips moulded into the plastic and a cardboard 'lane' that's placed in front of the television. By swinging the peripheral a ball was bowled on screen, with the speed, direction and even spin determined by the way the player delivered their shot.

Interestingly the clip-on heads are likely to come bundled with the games they're used for - a racquet with the tennis game, the club extension for golf, etc - at no extra cost, so gamers looking for a more realistic experience will only have to splash out around £40 a game plus a one-off £30 for the base unit.

In2Games is looking to expand Fusion's uses outside the sports genre too, with action games that use the baton to aim a gun or throw a punch already planned. But what's most interesting is the fact that Fusion connects to the console via USB, meaning it has the potential to work on both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 - although compatibility with both machines has yet to be confirmed. Theoretically Wii games can therefore be ported across to other consoles and still retain their original control system, which is both fun for the player and beneficial to the publisher because they'll no longer be spend money creating a whole new player interface for just a single format.

Fusion isn't the only peripheral In2Games is planning to incorporate its ultrasonic technology into either. A wireless control pad also in the pipeline, although it's no ordinary pad: it 'snaps' in two and houses a motion sensor in each half, so if you're playing an FPS and you run out of ammo during a firefight, you can charge up to the nearest enemy, break the pad in two and punch them in the face using each side of the pad as a fist! Admittedly it's only at concept stage at the moment and we didn't actually see the pad in action, but the potential for creating a control system that pushes the boundaries is certainly an exciting prospect.

Fusion is expected to launch at the end of next year so expect a hands-on test nearer its release.


If I could be bothered finding the drool smiley I would be using it.

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Look for it to die pretty quickly, since ultrasound has a very limited effective range.

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Guest BurnInMyLight

yeah who is gonna want to develop (or perfect) another control scheme on top of the one normally used on 360 or ps3? too much time and unnecessary effort to suport this, itll flop

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...uh, or not. This is the most revolutionary controller design since force feedback. But the technical approach they are taking isn't going to work; that's all. There is going to be demand for it, and if you think otherwise, I would like to smake you with a book.

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