Asus Makes Wii-like Controllers for PCs

Not content to let Nintendo Wii owners have all the fun with motion-based, wireless game controllers, Asus has just announced its own Wii-like controllers for Windows PCs, called the Eee Stick. It seems that Asus is putting the "Eee" moniker on all of its new products lately, such as the Eee PC and the Eee Box. In fact, the Asus press release made it sound as though the controllers will only be available bundled with some models of the Eee PC and Eee Box, and not as a stand-alone product.

Asus states that the Eee Stick "translates users' physical hand motions into corresponding movements onscreen." It will include "a collection of games developed or adapted specifically for use with it." As to how well the controller will work with games that have not been designed or ported for it, Asus states that since the Eee Stick is a USB-HID device, it "can theoretically be used with all PCs." Which basically means that games will recognize that a USB device is attached, but the games might not know what the device is or how to properly communicate with it in order to receive relevant game commands.

Credit: Asus

It is unclear at this early stage if game developers will embrace the Eee Stick and take advantage of the controller's unique functionality in new or existing games. As to how well the controller will work with titles that are not Eee Stick "aware" is anybody' guess. Asus has not stated which titles will support the Eee Stick. Asus also has yet to announce when it will be available.

The Eee Stick is made up of three components: An Activation Stick, a Navigation Stick, and an RF-based USB dongle. Both sticks contain 8-way 3D motors and run off two AA batteries. Asus claims that you can get up to 72 hours of continuous game play from the controllers from a set of batteries. And since the controllers communicate with the USB dongle using RF, the controllers and the dongle do not necessarily need to be in the line of site of each other--just within 10 meters of each other. They operate at 2.4GHz, however, so it is possible that they might interfere with some cordless phones or Wi-Fi connections, or vice-versa.

Credit: Asus

If in fact the Eee Stick controller is only available bundled with the Eee PC and Eee Box, it is doubtful that it will get the attention of serious developers. However, if the controller becomes more readily available (Asus states that it should be able to work with "any other PC"), developers might embrace the ability to add motion-based, Wii-like controls into their games--especially considering how popular the Wii is.

Many Wii owners are chomping at the bit to get their hands on Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and Star Wars The Clone Wars: Lightsaber Duels, both of which are due out later this year. The excitement is because players will be able to use the Wii Remote as a lightsaber. Imagine playing these titles on PCs with the far superior graphics that PCs are capable, as opposed to the limited graphics potential of the Wii. Of course, this scenario is just a pipe dream, as LucasArts has not announced any plans to release either of these titles for PCs--just consoles. Regardless, we'd love to see motion control-based games come to the PC, and perhaps Asus has just opened the door for this to happen.