Motion control, ever since you were introduced in a relatively usable and broadly accessible form with the Wii Remote, the public has had a bit of a crush on you. Recently, that crush has turned into a full-fledged infatuation, and now Orange is bringing motion control to its Livebox Play TV service in France via Movea’s gesture-based tech and a motion-sensitive remote.
Microsoft’s Kinect proved their was a broad appetite for the use of motion controls integrated with home entertainment systems, and Orange’s decision to tap Movea’s OEM-independent SmartMotion Server product to bring it to its Livebox Play TV system is an indication that there’s a drive among traditional entertainment networks and providers to make sure they don’t get left behind.
What can consumers do with the Movea-enabled hardware? With the right set-top box and remote control, both of which are available for pre-order and set to ship in February, they can wave at their TVs and use gestures like twisting to control volume playback, on-screen menu item selection, close and open apps and more. Also, the interface will allow viewers to interact with motion-controlled games, in a more casual incarnation of what the Wii can accomplish via its gesture-based input devices.
Movea is a broad-based play to introduce motion control to any kind of device that wants to include it, including Windows Phone 8 and Android smartphones, Windows 8 tablets and notebooks, and home entertainment and other CE devices. It also sells to semiconductor manufacturers, so that motion intelligence can be built into devices at the processor level. Obviously this is a space that’s generating a lot of interest, beyond just the implementations by big-name players like Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft. Platform agnostic companies like Movea, and Leap, which just today announced a new $30 million funding round and a deal that will see its hardware ship with ASUS computers, indicate we’ll probably see a lot more companies try to provide motion as a service, API or OEM hardware add-on for third-parties.
I still think that despite the way it has proven its viability with the Wii and Kinect, motion control is a tricky thing to sell to a wide consumer base, especially as a control mechanism for TV content usually handled via remote. In many ways, it’s still a tech that has novelty appeal and not much else, but as more companies try to integrate it with more traditional tech like set-top boxes, we’ll get a better idea of how it can fare in terms of long-term adoption.