SIXAXIS innovation Emmy - a joke? (UPDATE: Sony was wrong)
By Seamus BYRNE
Overnight, Sony Computer Entertainment America released news that the Playstation 3's SIXAXIS controller would be receiving a Technology & Engineering Emmy Award. In SCEA's own words, the controller "features motion-sensing technology to detect natural and intuitive movements for real-time and high precision interactive play, acting as a natural extension of the user's body."
I've been trying to chase up with the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences the exact details of this award. Because for the SIXAXIS controller to win any kind of innovation award feels like a joke when we have a far more deserving winner in the Nintendo Wiimote and Nunchuk arrangement.
From what I have found, there are two ways this could have happened. In one format, tech is submitted for consideration. I can understand Nintendo may have overlooked the idea of submitting the Wiimote. But surely the judging panel must assess any innovation in the light of its own industry and the other technologies that have appeared in recent times? These awards can't be judged in a vacuum!
Second, there is a panel of experts who recommend technologies for nomination. In this instance, I think it must be time to sack the so-called experts in this field...
Either way, SCEA, I'm having a hard time stomaching a release that lauds a victory that rings of terrible judgement from the award panel. I'll look to update this story later today with any details I receive from NATAS as to what exactly has been won and how it was judged.
UPDATE: Cheryl Daly from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (I forgot the 'National' on first posting, which was a big error -- didn't realise there are two different organisations who give out Emmys) filled in two details for us.
(1) The SIXAXIS won the award for "peripheral development and technological impact of video game controllers", and (2) this was a panel selected award, not a Sony submission. She could not tell us what else was considered. So it seems a panel thought it most worthy. What could possibly make the SIXAXIS trump the Wiimote? The ONLY aspect possible is its use of a combination of gyros and accelerometers for its motion sensitivity. Are gyros really enough to give it a 'technological impact' award?
UPDATE 2: A follow up message from Christine Chin from NATAS tells us Sony has it all wrong. The award was for the original dual shock controller. Here is her message in full:
I understand you had contacted Cheryl Daly, Director of Communications at NATAS to confirm if Sony won for their PS3 controller. This is incorrect, Sony won for their dual shock analog controller. The award is from the Video Game Technology Group. It was nominated by our internal group and considered along with the Nintendo D-Pad both of which were considered Emmy worthy for the development of the generation of controllers that followed the classic joysticks.
I would like to confirm that Sony did not win for their PS3 controller, they won for their Dual Shock Analog controller.
So there you have it. This makes a lot more sense, and Sony's press release was flat out incorrect. Best case, an error. Worst case...
Christine also said she will clarify this with Sony.
UPDATE 3 (11/1/07, 7.30pm (Sydney time)): Sony has now removed the original press release from their website,
but no corrective statement has been made. Sorry, I'm not in the loop on US releases -- they don't have a new release listed on their site, but it seems they have contacted US media correcting their error.
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Perhaps the Wiimote will win an award in a few years. I'd expect it to win some industrial design awards in the year ahead (if it hasn't already).
I think the PS3 fans on our site will not like this news though...
No drama. We are yet to get the PS3 here in Australia. I, for one, am really looking forward to it! So you can tell your Sony fans I wasn't doing this to rain on their parade!
Just thought it was worth pursuing the facts because it did seem a strange aspect of the PS3 to be receiving an award where the Wiimote was strangely absent.
Muchos Gracias! :D
So, the deal is that it was the dual-shock and D-pad that won awards, right? But what if "The Emmy Award for Peripheral Development and Technological Impact of Video Game Controllers" means, contributions for the last ten years from both Nintendo and Sony? That would include, "Wiimote, SIXAXIS, Dual-shock and D-pad" would it not?
The fact of the matter is that the BOTH the Wiimote and SIXAXIS have not been on the market long enough for them to get a CES 2007 award. Wouldn't it be more appropriate for them to wait for more games to come out and then announce an award at CES 2008. That would make more sense. So, in the end, Sony and Nintedo could end up getting an award next year for the SIXAXIS and Wiimote.
I hope you know that most people are sourcing your article and labeling the headline, "SONY LIED!"
Thanks for nothing!
If it included all their controllers, then I'm sure that is what Christine Chin would have told me. But she didn't say that. She said what she said above, word for word, cut and pasted. And that means it was an award for dual shock, not SIXAXIS.
The explanation that sits best for me, based on discussion across the various blogs covering this story, is that there has been a gap in what Sony were told and what NATAS intended. If you look at the awards list on their site, you will see they have just listed SCE and Nintendo as the award winners. This lack of specificity in the award list itself must have contributed to the confusion. Other awards were listed by specifics, but this wasn't.
An assumption was made, and it is now proving to have been a bad one. I think the fact that the press release was worded with such energy for the all-singing, all-dancing SIXAXIS has contributed to the venom with which people have responded to the news NATAS has said it wasn't an award for that controller.
I somehow doubt that Sony was like "Hey we won an award for... SOMETHING. Must be our new controller, right? Well, lets just pretend it is."
It's not 'evolutionary' because it's half baked - using the sixaxis in many cases is like playing in a crazy jacket, your hands are bound to 1 thing.
Playing folk lore had me peeved that I had to twist my body unnaturally out of reaction to the needed action.
Using the wiimote takes 1 hand which takes away from the constriction - now if they would get rid of that darn cord connection to the nunchuck it would be perfect.
Also aside from inovation the ps3 controller is fragile - between myself and a few friends our left analog stick is screwed up. (Probably too much call of duty 4) When it comes to motion controls I find myself staying away from those games on the ps3, or using the traditional option in its stead.