Can Wearable Tech Be A Part of Gaming?

Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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Can Wearable Tech Be A Part of Gaming?

Now here's an exciting question that's recently cropped up. Some have noticed that there's been something of a move recently to bring gaming to the smartwatch concept. While this approach has met with something less than full success thus far, it's enough to make one wonder: could the smartwatch—or other items of wearable tech—be a part of gaming? The answer is, in all likelihood, yes, but it depends on just what wearable tech comes under consideration.

More specifically, Polygon's Michael McWhertor took advantage of the Christmas holiday to note that the Pebble smartwatch—likely a gift located under more than one tree this year—has found itself pressed into service as a gaming platform. Granted, the games are simple—some are adaptations of chess and hangman, while others are translations of the earliest innovations in gaming, like “Breakout,” “Pong,” “Space Invaders,” and of course the great Russian classic that is “Tetris.”

There are huge limitations in terms of using a device like the Pebble for gaming. The controls available, the memory available, the display resolution available all are extremely limited, thus preventing many possibilities from ever being realized. But for the remaining possibilities, there is an interesting point to offer: what amounts to a whole new platform for gaming that's largely untraveled and ready to be taken advantage of.

But with so many limitations, how can the smartwatch be part of the action? Well, there are certainly possibilities. First, there's the idea that the smartwatch can be less a platform and more a controller, adding to the action taking place on, say, a smartphone or tablet. But what's more, it can be used to offer some real augmentation to PC and console gaming, offering important display information like ammo counts, or which direction to go to reach the next objective. There are certainly plenty of other possibilities here as well, depending on the type of game, and the growing availability of open-world gaming would make wrist-mounted information terminals likely welcome tools in the overall space.

But take it outward from there. Head-mounted displays like Google Glass and the like can have plenty of impact on gaming, presenting not only augmented displays of information from a console or a PC, but also going into full real-world gaming, using augmented reality to create an entire game world out of whatever is around, powered by a tablet or smartphone, even a laptop. Certainly, head-mounted displays like the Oculus Rift are throwing in value on their own fronts, so suggesting that other such ventures could work only makes sense.

It's possible that we're looking at the early days of wearable tech in gaming. Frankly, wearable tech is in its early days most everywhere, but in the field of gaming, perhaps particularly so. With a new year only a few days off, wearable tech and gaming have a lot yet to teach us. The combination of these two fields may have some exciting new advances to offer us, and only time will tell just where it all ends up.
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