Well, call me old-fashioned, but I personally don't believe the controller will ever completely go away. Controllers do a lot for us as gamers that we completely take for granted.
The most important thing that controllers provide is called "tactile feedback." Basically, this means that our hands can feel the buttons being pressed down, so even when we are not looking directly at the controller, we know that we have actually performed an action. This may seem a little silly, since obviously we will know that we have hit the correct button when we see the desired action performed on the screen. Yet our brains are strangely dependent on this sense of touch. This is why a lot of cell phones are programmed to vibrate slightly when a letter key is tapped on a touchscreen interface. We have come to expect that when any sort of button is pressed, we are able to feel it with our fingers. In fact, joysticks are already being released that stick onto an iPad screen, providing users with a more comfortable interface for their iPad games. There would be no market for such things if tactile feedback weren't such a fundamental part of the gaming experience.
However, is tactile feedback something that has been programmed into us by decades of button-mashing? Is it something we need simply because we've grown so used to it? It's possible that the next generation of gamers, texters, and typists will never have the need for tactile feedback ingrained in them. For them, the image of a controller may not be representative of the gaming experience.
My prediction: Hands-free gaming will become fairly commonplace in the near future. However, the controller will never die out. There is just something about feeling the resistance of a firmly-pressed button against your thumb that enhances the gaming experience. I cannot imagine a future in which that little detail is completely eliminated from video games.
But then again, maybe I'm just old school.
CCC Freelance Writer
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*