It wasn’t a coincidence that Microsoft used the week of the Game Developers Conference (GDC 2012) in San Francisco to tout new experimental technology. Dubbed the Wearable Multitouch Projector (WMP), Microsoft Research, which is celebrating its 20th year, unveiled an interesting piece of wearable (and portable) technology that could impact games down the road (in some form or the other). Hrvoje Benko demonstrates the prototype in the video below.
While this technology obviously has a ways to go, this shoulder-based Kinect device does eliminate the need for an HD TV for those looking to interact just about anywhere there’s a wall. With free-to-play gaming and mobile (especially tablets – see the new Mass Effect Infiltrator game below) changing the dynamic of the games industry at a breakneck pace, the future of console experiences could evolve much like the modern arcade.
Walk into a Dave Buster’s and you’ll find motion-based game experiences that allow players to race in car simulators or shoot dinosaurs with light guns and moving seats. There’s even a touch screen arcade version of Epic Games Infinity Blade FX for gamers to play on a giant HD screen (see video below). It’s these types of experiences that you can’t replicate at home. And certainly aren’t currently possible on handhelds.
High definition visuals are reaching a peak, which means Sony and Microsoft are likely aiming for something more to differentiate their exclusive games. Sony continues to push PlayStation Move and stereoscopic 3D games. Microsoft has found success with its Kinect gaming experiences, which added voice commands to the mix with Mass Effect 3.
What the PlayStation 4 and Xbox Next consoles may deliver remains a guess. But with Sony exploring virtual reality and Microsoft experimenting with technology like WMP, things could get very interesting. And the games designed for this type of emerging technology would differentiate themselves from the free-to-play and mobile experiences on display at the Moscone Center this week.