A report over at Engadget shows a patent filed by Microsoft for a device that uses "personalization using a hand-pressure signature." The image in their patent filing is a chunky, loveable Xbox 360 controller that, going by the title, will be able to detect your identity based on your hand-pressure via a "presure sensitive surface." And maybe read your fingerprints?
That's neat/creepy and all, but what's really cool about this (I THINK) is that it'll allow games to use squeeze-based controls. I've long admired the Xbox 360 controller's ergonomics, but when I really examine it, I see that the one place where they're not maximizing my potential output is the palms of my hands.
(You may think I'm being sarcastic here, but I'm not!)
The potential for squeeze-based gameplay is much more interesting to me than the potential for motion-based gameplay like we've seen in the PS3's dualshock controller. That's been great for games like Flower and to a lesser extent Journey, but it's much more of a mixed bag in games like Killzone 2 and Uncharted.
What squeeze-based controls would give us is another variable input — like how the triggers on the PS3 have gradations, rather than a binary "pressed/not-pressed" setup. Squeezing to slowly open a door, or grip a steering wheel, or… well yeah, choke a dude out… that kind of input could be seriously cool.
The potential of the PS Vita's touch screen has made me realise how well touch mechanics and analogue controls can mix. And since I'm not going to start getting up and swiping my finger across my TV screen anytime soon, squeezing a controller is the next best way to get a new interface into my hands.
Who knows, though. Maybe this is all just a more-physical version of the Kinect's facial recognition — pick up the controller and it'll automatically log you in.
I for one hope that Microsoft squeezes as much out of their existing controller as they possibly can.
Geddit? Squeezes? Do you get it? Do you…
Oh, ok. You get it.