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Pete Parsons, Jordan Weisman, Paul Thelen and Ed Fries at TechNW today.

The gaming panel today at the WTIA’s TechNW conference featured some well-known names from the industry talking about a wide variety of trends and technologies: Bungie‘s Pete Parsons, veteran game designer Jordan Weisman, and Big Fish Games CEO Paul Thelen, moderated by former Microsoft games chief Ed Fries.

One audience question toward the end, from Kevin Pedraja, sparked a particularly interesting discussion between Weisman and Parsons: Are motion controllers such as Microsoft’s Xbox 360 Kinect, Sony’s PlayStation Move and the Nintendo Wii-mote and Wii U GamePad a passing fad or destined to be a more permanent fixture in the game industry.

One thing they seemed to agree upon: We haven’t yet seen a true killer app for these technologies. Here’s what they had to say …

Parsons: I think it’s still emerging as a technology. I think there’s a lot of interesting opportunities with motion control in the virtual space. My kids play Kinect games every single week. Whether they have the killer app or not, I don’t know, but I think there’s a ton of interesting stuff there that people are going to start hitting on. I don’t personally think it’s going away.

Weisman: I’ll pull the “I’m old” card and say it’s a cycle again. We played with green screen input, camera inputs to games 20 years ago and had successful titles. What we found then is what they found recently. It’s a relatively narrow window of games that are really truly enhanced by that, and the ones that are truly enhanced are a big improvement, but it doesn’t fan out to be a huge spectrum. That doesn’t mean that next week someone won’t come up with a whole new category that is enabled or truly enhanced by it, but so far it’s remained in that pretty narrow space of dance, sports.

Parsons: Even the less obvious stuff — just walking into your living room and having the game universe recognize you and say something cool. It’s not just about what’s the great dance or bowling experience.

Fries: But the coming fad is all around augmented reality, virtual reality, goggles, Google glasses, superimposing a virtual world onto a real world. Now Jordan will tell us virtual reality was really hot 20 years ago.

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