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Contributors: BillMurphy,MikeB,garrett,SBFord,Grakulen,

Community Spotlight: Moving Away from Keyboards?

Posted by MikeB Sunday May 6 2012 at 3:15PM
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In this week's Community Spotlight we focus on the thread, "Emminent death of the keyboard in mmo's....good or bad.." by rungard. In the thread, rungard asserts that the keyboard is going the way of the dodo:

its my opinion that the keyboard is going to become obsolete, and everything is going to go to voice and gesture based gaming.

For mmo's i think the mouse will survive, and i actually think well end up with a mouse and a joystick combo, with voice being used in place of the current ui. I think gestures will be there too but they will take a little bit of a back seat in mmo's

as someone who is a terrible typer i think this is a great thing coming. What do you think?

Does the community agree? Read on!

jakin says there's zero chance:

Zero chance.

Joysticks are too limited and limiting, not to mention imprecise and slow compared to mouse-keyboard user controls.

Gesture based games are fad-ish and I don't think have long term staying power in any genre other than casual party games.  Simple fatigue will do them in - it's tough to play hours at a time for days on end (the typical profile for an MMO) with Kinect or the motion sensitive joysticks.

Voice stuff might come in - but with voice chat being so popular in modern MMOs I doubt people will be all that interested in having to choose between talking and game interaction.  Not to mention, there's the fatigue thing again, plus the simple logistics (for instance, I don't use voice chat generally because my gaming rig is close to the living room and my talking would disturb the rest of the household when they're watching TV.  I wouldn't play a voice-activated only game).

Mouse and keyboard (of some description - it's tough to call some of the really high-end devices a "mouse" any more) is here for a very long time to come.


IIIcurrier concurs with rungard:

I agree, atleast keyboards as we know them. Right now they are ennefective and totally 1900th century.

It's the same reason game developers can't seem to come out with intuitive controls, hotkeys on your top 1-0 keys, while hotkeys to pages like character screen, skills, guild/allegiance bound to key like z,c,f.

I know a well designed game by its default controls, most the crap that comes out now is just crap that's it, perfect example is bethesda's last couple releases, junk and clunky.

centkin isn't fond of the idea of switching to voice and feels keyboards will always be around:

Keyboards will always be around.

Personally I do not like voice (person to person) at ALL In games as it significantly reduces immersion.  I do not mind when NPCs speak but I do not like when I hear the screaming baby in the background of the burly orc who then yells in a high pitched female voice at the baby. 

But that said, there are other fundimental reasons to use a keyboard even if (especially if) you use voice.

It is that there are a limited number of ways to interact at the same time -- if you are talking into a microphone, you can't also use talking to make your character do things. 

If you have 20 different actions a player can do, unless you are using a really funky mouse you really need the keyboard, and I dont see games really taking the vindictus minimalist model any time soon.

One thing that does seem gone is parsing text into an MMO like the old quests in everquest where you would communicate with the npc rather than choosing from menus.

I feel the mouse and keyboard control scheme has been in place for as long as it has because it simply works. Even so, there are always going to be people looking to refine and evolve the way we interact with technology and games, giving way to motion and voice controls in recent years. However, I frankly find the current implementations of such controls to be more clunky than anything else. It just takes longer to accomplish the same tasks. I do think there is potential for voice control layered over existing controls, however, akin to the sort of thing we're seeing with some Kinect-enabled XBOX games like Mass Effect 3. Sometimes barking orders at the TV is simpler than fumbling through menus, but I can't see voice or motion control outright replacing traditional controls for movement, shooting, or firing off abilities.

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

GTwander writes:

People are too lazy to use voice-commands and gestures, the market will move to devices like the Razor Naga, where every button you'll ever need is ergonomically in the "right place", all the time.

Sun May 06 2012 4:24PM Report
fenistil writes:

Don't think keyboard will be gone anytime soon.


Voice is limited as well. You cannot speak more than one thing at same time not to mention that controlling anything with button (pad , mouse or keyboard button) will always be faster than saying.




There will be more games using it coming along ,but seriously it won't push out gaming with keyboards and mouses or pads on consoles.


At least not until there will be working full VR enviroment and that is still MANYYYYY years ahead.




Concluding - there is a demand - so there are and there will be games that use alternative controls. 

Still it won't mean death of mainstream keyboard & mouse gameplay.

Sun May 06 2012 4:50PM Report
gaeanprayer writes:

Um....yall realize that gamers are not the only people who use computers, right? We're not even the majority of people that use computers. Keyboards will exist until people no longer need to type for ANYTHING, and as long as they exist, video games will have support for them. Even the best joystick is still more limited than the keyboard, and its about 100x more expensive as well.

Sun May 06 2012 5:16PM Report
Delvie writes:

As a side thought will we ever actually get rid of QWERTY?

gaeanprayer makes a very good point - whatever is used by business will be the defacto device.

It's not just about expense it's about retraining everyone.  I used to be a software trainer and can still remember having to help folks figure out how to use a mouse with the new software we were installing.  Most of the folks I helped would never have learned it except that their jobs required it.

My husband fiddles around with voice on his computer to write stories.  It still sounds to me like he's talking like a robot and has to phrase stuff in a specific way.  There again the more he works with it the better it gets.

I believe it will be a very long time before the keyboard/mouse combo is truly replaced.

Sun May 06 2012 6:06PM Report
Shroom_Mage writes: If a legendary "WoW-killer" came along and didn't use the keyboard, games would follow in its path, but we all know such a creature is only myth. Sun May 06 2012 6:28PM Report
eyeswideopen writes:

What do I think?

I think the OP bumped his head.


Sun May 06 2012 6:54PM Report
troublmaker writes:

I am recording this message through narration with my Kinect for Windows.  It understands every single word I am saying despite my Newfie accent distorting so many words.  I speak very fast and it records it just as fast.

I use the Kinect for Windows to play most of my games these days and with fast actions the superior sensors on Kinect for Windows can pick up everything effectively.  Kinect would be a fad if this new model didn't work so well.

Most gamers are out of shape and have issues doing a two kilometer jog.  This is the main reason people are against using motion and voice based products.  However Kinect has sold 3M units and is proving to be more than a trend as more developers integrate the Kinect into their games.

Computer users however have always chosen keyboards over other control mechanisms so that is unlikely to change.

Sun May 06 2012 7:06PM Report
Mykell writes:

I'll wait till they come up with a device that scans my brain and turns those brain waves into in-game actions.

Till then its a k&m for me.

Sun May 06 2012 7:17PM Report
davestr1zl writes:

Keyboards wont die off until a superior form of input for computing comes along. That wont happen any time soon, as they're incredibly precise and practical and do the job they're supposed to do perfectly. Even touch screen inputs still rely on a keyboard because of how efficient they are. Joysticks definitely wont take over, they're too inaccurate and limited and theres a reason they're not widely used already.

I honestly cant see anything replacing a keyboard (or a very similar device to a keyboard) in the next several decades at the very least.

Mon May 07 2012 2:20AM Report
Leethe writes:

The best thing about the mouse and keyboard is that we already have them. You can design a game with the assurance that nearly everyone will be somewhat familiar with the controls by virtue of everyone already knowing how to use it. No extra equipment required and no extra cash outlay. Simplicity wins everytime.

Mon May 07 2012 10:20AM Report
THEchad88 writes:

As long as there is a large market of people who want to play keyboard and mouse it will never go away.


Tue May 08 2012 1:47AM Report
karmath writes:

What utter rubbish. I really cant understand how anyone would spout such nonsense.

Tue May 08 2012 6:05AM Report writes:
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