Study: Why are motion games so popular? Simply put, they're more fun

Kinect gaming
Kinect gaming

Sometimes it's a wonder why motion gaming has taken off, considering standard buttons, joysticks, keyboards and mouses are still more precise by comparison. Then we remember the gold standard of games: the fun factor. According to a study conducted by researchers at Baylor University, motion-controlled games are just plain more fun.

The researchers conducted two studies with Baylor undergraduate students to get to the bottom of the phenomenon. The first asked 160 students to compare the enjoyment and sense of reality between motion games and those with controllers after playing golf and racing games using each control method. The second study then stacked the current consoles' motion controls against one another using 3D boxing games, based on the opinions of 88 undergrads.

According to Daniel Shafer, Ph.D., the study's lead author and assistant professor of communication studies in Baylor's College of Arts & Sciences, participants found the motion controls in Nintendo's Wii, the Kinect add-on for Xbox 360 and the PS3's Move controller to be more entertaining and give a higher sense of "being there" than their joystick-and-button counterparts.

"There was a drastic difference in enjoyment between the newer and older systems," Shafer said. "We looked at how the variables interacted. If you envision a chain, perceived reality influenced the sense of presence and led to greater enjoyment. It worked pretty much the way we expected. Games with joysticks and gamepads were the lowest in presence and enjoyment."

As for the second study, the Baylor researchers found that the Xbox 360 Kinect was perceived as much more realistic and fun than the Nintendo Wii and Sony's Move controller. (This is likely because the Kinect requires no controllers.) If this study is indicative of most people that play games, it wouldn't be surprising to see motion games become the norm.

Are you a fan of motion-based more so than your standard controller-based games? Do you see control methods like the Kinect becoming the norm? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.