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Over the years, Nintendo has created numerous hardware and software innovations that forever changed the course of console and handheld gaming. In 1981, Gunpei Yokoi developed the D-Pad, an innovation that allowed for a single finger to maintain all directional controls. The layout has been implemented on the controllers of every major console platform since. In 1990, Masayuki Uemara introduced shoulder buttons with the launch of Super Nintendo. Whether it was the Robotic Operating Buddy, Zapper Gun, Power Pad, U-Force, Power Glove, Analog Stick, or Rumble Pak, Nintendo has made a name for itself as the undisputed leader of console hardware innovation. But what's next?

Last week, Nintendo announced that it had made an equity investment in Gyration, a pioneer in interactive controllers and related markets. The company has developed a low cost dual axis gyroscope "optimized for easy integration into input devices." Furthermore, Gyration owns the "exclusive rights to application of inertial sensors in a product which senses angular human motion in order to control a graphic or cursor on a display." Nintendo may choose to utilize Gyration's intellectual properties and technical capacities in next generation gaming peripherals. 

What does it all mean? GameCubicle evaluated the company's products, plans, partners, and patents in an effort to find out. Of their relevant products, Gyration's GyroMouse product features intriguing technologies that would open many doors in the wireless controller arena. We suspect that the same technology could help create the ultimate controller for adventure, platform, and first-person shooter genres. Gyration's RF assets also seem ideal for Nintendo's wireless WaveBird controller thanks to the high performance and low power consumption features. One less likely possibility is that Gyration's technologies could be incorporated into a future wireless gaming gun that would utilize motion detection systems for a new level of interactive play.

According to the company, "Gyration intends to be the first company to produce game controllers enhanced with gyroscopic motion-sensors, which have a tenfold performance increase over accelerometer tilt sensors and add the ability to sense yaw as well as pitch. A gyro-equipped, motion-sensing controller provides a natural method of game control that draws the player into the game and makes game play more enjoyable. The motion sensor can take the place of a typical thumb pressure pad allowing one-handed game play, or can be integrated into a two-handed controller to add a dimension to game playing not possible with traditional video game controllers."

To gain further insider insight, GameCubicle contacted Gyration's Director of Marketing Communications, Marc Harris for the details of the new relationship. GameCubicle's pertinent questions prompted Harris to throw together a little Q&A on his company's relationship with Nintendo. We must note that in earlier conversation, Harris mentioned that he had made use of GameCubicle.com when preparing his initial presentation for Nintendo. Gyration demonstrated how their technologies could "enhance" such titles as Luigi's Mansion, Wave Race, and Rogue Squadron. The following was the response he provided...

How much money has Nintendo invested in Gyration?

GYRATION: Nintendo has respectfully asked Gyration not to disclose financial details of the investment.


What game applications benefit from a Gyration game controller?

GYRATION: The ease accuracy of moving a cursor or crosshair across a screen by pointing makes Gyration technology an excellent choice for 1st person shooters and other action games that require fast and precise targeting.


Which patents did Gyration license Nintendo?

GYRATION: US application Patents 5,898,421 and 5,440,326 which deal with tracking human motion and translating it into linear movement of computer graphic images.


Will the patent licensing affect the availability of Game Boy's Tilt motion feature that is currently available in Japan but not the US?

GYRATION: Not specifically, but the patents that Gyration has licensed Nintendo encompass this particular Game Boy feature in the US.


Does this agreement include a game pad development contract?

GYRATION: We are not at liberty to discuss this area.


What differentiates Gyration technology from accelerometer technology?

GYRATION: Unlike accelerometers used by all other motion game manufactures, gyros can track the yaw axis motion that is critical for intuitive game control. Yaw axis tracking allows users to naturally point and move objects left and right much the way screen objects move on their TVS without having to tilt the game controller.  Gyros also provide a superior quality of tracking performance over tilt sensors because they are very accurate rate sensors.

Many thanks to Mr. Harris for his time and hospitality to GameCubicle. The following press announcement was released soon after GameCubicle published the above story. It includes some details of what may come from the relationship and much background information.


Saratoga, Calif.-September 24, 2001 -- Gyration, Inc., a leading manufacturer of motion-sensing wireless input controllers for commercial and home entertainment markets, announced today that it has reached an agreement with premier electronic game developer Nintendo Co., Ltd. Under the terms of the agreement, Nintendo will become an active investment partner by purchasing an undisclosed amount of Gyration stock. In exchange, Nintendo will gain access to Gyration research and development in the areas of motion-sensing and wireless technologies.

"Gyration's motion-sensing hardware and software products have become the #1 aftermarket presentation input devices for business communications professionals," states Gyration CEO Tom Quinn. "Partnering with the largest and most successful game console manufacturer in the world will give us an exciting opportunity to introduce our amazing technologies to Nintendo's broad home video game market."

Gyration intends to be the first company to produce game controllers enhanced with gyroscopic motion-sensors, which have a tenfold performance increase over accelerometer tilt sensors and add the ability to sense yaw as well as pitch. A gyro-equipped, motion-sensing controller provides a natural method of game control that draws the player into the game and makes game play more enjoyable. The motion sensor can take the place of a typical thumb pressure pad allowing one-handed game play, or can be integrated into a two-handed controller to add a dimension to game playing not possible with traditional video game controllers.


Gyration, Inc. is a leading provider of advanced hardware and software solutions that remove the technological barrier between user input devices and digital displays in the business communication, home entertainment and computing market segments. Gyration combines motion-sensing wireless peripherals with customized software applications to enhance and simplify user input. Gyration's flagship products include state-of-the-art wireless RF and IR controllers, keyboards and motion-sensing devices for Presentation, Interactive TV and Electronic Game markets. The company has developed GyroPoint Technology, a unique method by which an inertial sensor detects natural hand motions to move a cursor or graphic on a television screen or monitor. This is combined with Gyration's wireless RF network to offer reliable communication with a game console, computer, set top box, or other device. Gyration offers its products through direct and OEM sales as well as through an extensive A/V reseller cannel. The Saratoga, California company was founded in 1989 and is privately held. For more information, visit Gyration.com.

Reported By:

Rick - Editor in Chief, GameCubicle


GameCubicle.com is an independent site and is in no way associated with Nintendo Co. Ltd. or NOA
Nintendo's official GameCube site can be found at http://www.nintendo.com

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