Video games in the future may involve strapping a bunch of wearables to your head, arms, and feet, in order to get the most immersive experience.
That’s what some industry observers are suggesting, as virtual reality (VR) devices like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive VR start to arrive in homes.
“For virtual reality, you need sensors to detect whether the user is standing or squatting, and to control input,” said Li Zhifei, CEO of Mobvoi, a Chinese startup that produces the Ticwatch. Zhifei added that a wearable ring could provide that control input.
Smartwatches could go even further, providing video games with biometric data like the player’s heart rate. Valve CEO Gabe Newell said the company was working on biometric input in a 2013 interview with The Verge:
“We think that, unlike motion input where we kind of struggled to come up with ideas, there’s potential in biometrics. We have lots of ideas … Biometrics is essentially adding more communication bandwidth between the game and the person playing it, especially in ways the player isn’t necessarily conscious of. Biometrics gives us more visibility.”
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Valve hasn’t launched any major biometric trackers, but we suspect as SteamVR comes to more homes, it will work with third-parties to provide biometric support for video games.
Biometrics could make shooters and horror games more interactive by adding more suspense or lowering accuracy.
“Biometric gaming is still in its early stages, but there are companies who are integrating and experimenting with our technology right now,” said Steven LeBoeuf, president of biometric company Valencell, which recently filed a lawsuit against Apple.
What we need to see is openness across the industry, between device manufacturers, platform providers, and video game developers. Only then will we see biometrics and wearables integrated into all types of experiences.