So does this mean we are stuck with the keyboard/mouse, joystick or game pad forever? The answer to this is an unequivocal no. You see the question of what is the next form of input for gaming is not a simple one and encompasses more than just what you are doing with your hands. The gaming experience is so much more than a mouse/keyboard, gamepad or joystick. It also involves audio and video. Games have been moving toward being mush more visually immersive with 3D, 3D surround, multiple monitors, and more. They have also begun playing catch up with the audio side of things including adding in spatial positioning. The improvements in the way we see games is one of the big reasons why touch will never be a suitable way to game all on its own.
So what is the next big way we will interact with games? Virtual Reality is the big contender right now moving the video, audio and controls into a format that actually puts the user IN the game. This is a technology that has been in development for a very long time, but due to cost and the sheer bulk of hardware needed it has never taken off. At least not until Oculus took their project to the masses and asked for investors on crowdsourcing site Kickstarter. They were looking for the funds to take the project to the next step and had a goal of $250,000… they ended up getting $2.4million from a little more than 9,500 individuals. Many of the donators were developers who were very interested in the project.
There is no doubt that Oculus’ new product is a hit, even high-performance boutique system builders are jumping into the game. We know that MAINGEAR is a big one that made the early decision to support this technology and others were quick to follow. Now the challenge for Oculus is not to worry about interest (it is there) but to make sure that their device provides the best possible gaming experience. They found a rather amazing way to do this; they have hired id Games founder John Carmack as their chief technology officer. For those of you that do not know who that is John Carmack is one of the fathers of today’s modern games. Without John Carmack games like Doom, Quake, and even the first person shooter would not be here. They pioneered many of the concepts of putting you in the lead during your gaming experience. The first person perspective in games are very seldom used before Carmack came along. This makes him very well suited to the task of ensuring that Oculus provides the right experience to the consumer. For those that do know exactly who John Carmack is, do not worry; he is not leave id Software and will still be giving the company direction and guidance.
We have a feeling that with someone like John Carmack onboard, support for companies like MAINGEAR and rumored support from the gang at Valve the Oculus will bring the next level of in-game experience. Now we just have to hope the game developers can bring games that have compelling plot lines and do not simply try to clutter the games up with bad 3D imagery…
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