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MMORPG.com Staff Blog

The staff of MMORPG.com gets together to bring you some behind the scenes insights on stories, the industry and the site itself.

Author: staffblog

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

Community Spotlight: Moving Away from Keyboards?

Posted by MikeB Sunday May 6 2012 at 4:15PM
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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 MMORPG.com 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!