Motion Tennis: iPhone as a Game Controller

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Federer fans may have already checked out with his early Wimbeldon exit, but tennis fans with an iPhone and Apple TV now have the opportunity to avenge his loss by playing a few sets of their own with an app which converts the iPhone into a Wiimote-style motion controller...

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Motion Tennis by Rolocule Games (the same team which developed the popular Super Badminton app) turns the iPhone into a Wii-style virtual tennis racket, complete with the ability for players to slice and lob using specific gestures. If you've played Wii Tennis, this mobile game should be awfully familiar.

Utilizing the built-in iPhone’s gyroscope and accelerometer, partnered with Apple's Airplay feature (which shares audio/video from mobile device screens  over to Airplay equipped devices, like the Apple TV), Motion Tennis is available for both single and doubles co-op mode on grass, clay or synthetic court surfaces (no word about an online player vs player match mode yet). 

The graphics are definitely "mobile device" quality, but the game's rolomotion 2D/3D tracking technology is an impressive leap forward for mobile app gaming, making an approach to the net with full body motion gameplay currently dominated by console systems (perhaps this is also why Google is reputedly developing their own gaming console).

But as Eric Johnson of AllThingsD notes upon demoing the game, there's a bit of noticeable lag between when a player executes a swinging gesture and when the swing is actually reflected by a player's avatar (visible in the demo video below). The gameplay lag is exacerbated when connected on a weak or crowded wi-fi network, requiring a counterintuitive "swing early" technique.

Hopefully in time with upgrades to devices and developer tweaks, the delay issue will be solved for more accurate gameplay. But for now, the $7.99 price tag may only appeal to the most ardent of tennis and motion-based gamers looking to preview where the future of mobile gaming is heading. For now, console titles like Wii Sports Tennis or Virtua Tennis 4 remain your best bet for tapping into your inner Serena or Djokovic from the comfort of your living room.


(Images: Rolocule Games)