Why Gaming is Important for our Future

Why Gaming is So Important to our Future

Major new input output methods are rare, an example of one is the mouse and another is the joystick. As our urge to control virtual worlds grows, so do the demands on input output – and it is almost always the gamers who push the frontiers of how we interact with computers.

You now find joystick and gamepad controllers on everything from major factory robotics to advanced military targetting systems. As our complex controllers grow into multiplexual controllers this will take us to new levels, and it’s always in the verges where you combine technologies and society that things get interesting and unpredictable.
Since people will put this technology to unpredictable uses, and since they will merge it with other technologies, what will the controller demonstrated and discussed in the video below mean in five years, ten years, in twenty? Please watch the video for the new X-box full body motion sensor controller and then come back for some wild-assed speculation.

Wild Assed Speculation starts here

So why the excitement? Part of it’s because this does draw in people who are challenged by the GUI, the Gamepad, the joystick, or the mouse. It changes the playing field, and it changes the way we will interact with computers. What happens when this type of IO crosses verges? Steven talks about one he’s familiar with in the video, and you see an interactive fashion / shopping application as well. Think bigger than that. Combine it with another technology. This is where the wild assed speculation starts. Think of your office or factory computers – think not of monitor screens, but of pixelwalls with ability to run multiple apps in multiple virtual screens painting your cuby walls, and then think of public space pixelwalls.

There will be new art using this, and it will be interactive. There will be new interactive industrial uses, and there will be home uses. There will be breakthroughs in how we live our daily lives. Sometime over the next twenty years you won’t have to go to the computer to use it, you will be able to use applications, input to them, and view media by popping it up on the nearest pixelwall. With hand motions and speech you will likely be able to do everything you do today with a keyboard and mouse, and you will be able to take multiple views with you to any room in the house that has a pixelwall and sensors. If there are public pixel walls and network in public locations, you will be able to take all your media with you, and combine your virtual world with other people’s virtual worlds in the public square.

I keep saying “pixelwall” and hoping that’s self explanatory, just in case here’s one way to think of them. Imagine a wall of your house, or perhaps even all four walls of every room coated with pixel fabric and connected to your home wireless network. Maybe the walls are normally displaying the default scene when you enter the room, and you see what appears to be a flat matte wall with framed family photos hanging on it. You get a call, and a screen appears life size on the wall. It’s your friend with a video call, and they want you to join them. Half of your room turns into your default backdrop, let’s say you like outdoors and you are sitting by a river with an impressive view of El Capitan behind you. Your friend prefers a backdrop of Paris in the Spring for their half. You both start talking about the latest band, and you wave your hand and speak their name, a display pops up and you are watching them at their latest concert. Your friend and you buy two tickets, and you are popped into front row virtual seats, and the concert surrounds you with a 360 degree view painted across the walls of your homes… at the concert you are standing in 3d and people can see your hologram dancing…

The future has real potential to get interesting very quickly as these technologies combine and cross verges with each other. While none of these technologies are in use this way today and they may not merge the way I’ve speculated, they will merge in other ways. The point is that they all could be used this way. You could crudely put all of this together with today’s off the shelf stuff. It wouldn’t be pretty but as advances in deposition hit the plasma and lcd industry we will eventually see pixel walls more common than not. As the xbox type full body motion controllers migrate to computers, you will see new uses. As vocal input improves you will see that merge with other means of command. As communications tech and video calling / conferencing improves you will see it become common.

2 Replies to “Why Gaming is Important for our Future”

  1. I own a 360 and I have been a gamer for over 20 years, starting all the way back with the TRS-80 and Commodore 64. This initiative, while interesting, is not likely to spawn any paradigm shifting gameplay.

    Essentially, this is another attempt by Microsoft (and others, like Sony) to lure the non-gamer market under their net. What this means is that we will experience a slew of simplistic games (if you can even call them that) that will use a very basic interface that your even grandmother can understand.

    Some of these potential games may or may not do anything innovative, but they will mostly be ignored by the hard-core and main-stream gamer and thus result in another failed effort to turn average people into “gamers”.

    Being a gamer takes a mind that can focus on, and receive rewards from, a virtual environment. It takes a mind that enjoys exploration, puzzles, stories and challenges. It takes a mind that can engage, sometimes for hours, in a single task, driven by the need to reach a new level or uncover a hidden secret.

    Just as I get absolutely ZERO enjoyment from an activity like fishing or hunting, there are others who get ZERO enjoyment from games. Its hard-wired into who they are, and no amount of jimmy-rigging can change that.

  2. You could be right; however one thing I’ve noticed about hard core gamers is that when something gives even slight advantage they will adopt it like mad. It starts with the hard core PVP’ers and moves on from there.

    To me the more interesting thing is not so much how it affects gaming longer term, but rather how it affects the rest of computing.

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