Video games have pushed the envelope over the past few years with innovative programming engines and their effect in the mainstream media circles. With two kids of my own, I’m very reluctant to expose them to this world as there are so many alternative learning methods out there. My folks never allowed a “console” such as Atari or Intellivision in the house so I was forced to use a computer whenever I wanted to play. Today, I plan on staying consistent and steer my kids toward the utilization of computers for gaming, instead of a console. Read more
The day started with filling the gas tank for a 4.5 hour drive to LA to join the other avid game industry professionals in a trek throughout the LA convention center. The VP of content (and partner at www.wiredzombie.com) and I were graciously invited by one of the exhibitors to attend the outlandish, sensory overload of digital entertainment for the day. Check out Wired Zombie’s video recap here.
…and when I say “sensory overload”, it’s not an exaggeration. We only had 1 day to get through the throngs of presentations and exhibits which seemed like it might has well have only been 10 minutes when compared to the infinite amount of square feet we had to cover. It’s no secret that I’m an avid gamer. It’s my escape from the workday. Whether that escape comes at 10p, 12a or 2a, I usually try to get an hour or so of gaming in just to clear my head and experience what I consider “fun”.
So needless to say, being our first trip to E3, it was an incredible treat. The biggest impression I got was from the folks at XBOX, who went to great lengths to ensure they had the largest exhibit possible. From my estimates, it looked like the exhibit was well over 100 feet long, presenting new games just released, and above all; Kinect. Kinect is the equivalent to the WII, but without remote devices you hold in your hand. The system can recognize up to 4 different voices (players) in the room and is controlled by nothing more than body sensory/movement. Their exhibit contained “cells” of rooms which onlookers could see event attendees test-driving the new technology. With Kinect, comes their new model of XBOX – slimmer and sleeker in design, certainly more compact (released Friday, June 18th, 2010). 250Gigs, WiFi built-in and Kinect. Get it now! As I watched, I couldn’t help but wonder when this technology would be introduced into the workplace – 5 years? 10 years? I don’t know, but when it comes in it’s going to make our mechanical interaction much more interesting.
Oh, and remember those Virtual Reality games you saw in shopping malls a few years back? They had a helmet and a joystick you held in one hand as you climbed up onto a platform, protecting you from falling off with a ring around your body. The platform has been replaced by a sphere-shaped cage that you climb into. The helmet is nothing more than headgear that you put on and you carry a realistic looking gun. Now, VR players can walk, run, jump and dodge enemy onslaughts which was the piece that was missing in the past. It was cool to see this become more mainstream as I always felt the VR exhibits were lacking the sense of one’s body movement. I found a great post on it covering the test debut.
We also experimented with new force-feedback joysticks that actually convey material, object weight and touch-sensory. For instance, you move your “virtual” hand over sandpaper, and the force-feedback simulated the touch of a gritty surface. Pick up a ball and feel how heavy it was and how swinging it around changed the sense of weight and centrifugal force. Novint has come a long way with their new version of game control.
Another area was presented by THQ. They showcased their new “Homefront” game coming out in early 2011. Think of “Red Dawn” now becoming a video game where North Korea has joined South Korea in taking over the world. Pretty intense animated video and realistic gameplay from what we could see. While we were standing in line, the “patrol” gave us little red books called “Subject’s Guides” from the occupiers of the “New Korean Federation”. It referenced a list of rules and directed people to visit http://www.americafactsheet.com/ . No video cameras allowed, but it sure looks like a great upcoming title for my fellow gamers and THQs marketing definitely made the attempt to immerse everyone in the experience.
The one disappointment I had was that there was NO TRACE of Apple’s iPad. You would think with all the media dollars spent on promoting the device and massive consumer adoption, they would have at least made an attempt at gathering some of the gaming market. But alas, it was heartbreaking to not see them there. The only glimpse I had of iPad technology was in the “indie gamer” area. Obviously not backed by Apple funding. Apple missed the boat on this one.
E3 was one of those experiences I’ve looked forward to for years. And I must say, it didn’t disappoint. We went to an after party, getting back to Vegas at 3:30am. 24 hours with no sleep…. sure reminds me that I’m not in my 20s anymore. Be sure to check out the video.
E3 is next week and thousands will attend the show in LA to see the future of video gaming. Every year there are new announcements from Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft that really get the public excited for what is just around the corner for their gaming experience.
A couple of years ago it was the Wii (motion sensing with remotes). Last year it was project “Natal” from XBOX (motion sensing withOUT remotes). This year, to reflect CES in Vegas, it’s all going to be about the third-dimension.
As new technologies are released on the gaming platforms, whether it’s touch screens, motion sensors, or voice activated interaction – the adoption of this into practical workplace tools isn’t too far away. Sooner or later, we’re going to see the same technologies enter our office and applied in order to make us more productive.
We’ll have to stay tuned to see what E3 announces this year. It seems that the fastest adoption rates for technology are those who want to be entertained. I’m a big XBOX fan. And I, like many other gamers out there, can’t wait to get my hands on the next coolest thing when it comes to gaming experiences. But as I socialize with other gamers and test out new tools and gaming concepts, it’s not too hard to imagine virtual interaction as part of our regular workday. Motion detection devices are becoming so precise, they can sense anything from the flip of the wrist to the angle and velocity of an object in motion. Trust me, it’s not a big leap to foresee us losing our keyboards, mice and other interactive devices in order to interface with a machine…. more to come after E3