This week saw the first Neurogaming Conference in San Fransisco. Neurogaming is what we all really want – video games that don’t require a remote control or even the player waving at a sensor on top of the telly. Neurogaming does exactly what it says on the tin: your on-screen avatar is controlled purely by brainwaves.
The conference was showcasing and discussing the latest developments in the industry which is split into the two main areas of therapeutic use and out-and-out gaming. The therapeutic developments are in limb and hand movements while the gaming progress can be seen in the Kickstarter-funded and again Ronsealesque-titled Throw Trucks With Your Mind. Programs in the future won’t just respond to brainwaves, but also to the raising and lowering of the heartbeat, excretion of sweat glands and other neurological, endocrinal and emotional-based stimuli.
Everyone involved seems to agree that neurogaming is the way forward and that moving things on screen by the power of thought alone will be the way we do things in the future. However, one of the main issues was that very few companies wanted to put research and development money into it and want to wait and see what the future holds before helping to create it.
Until gaming companies come in with scenarios and narratives that will engage the gaming population for longer than the initial buzz that some apps give you then neurogaming will remain a novel idea which needs some mavericks who will lead the way forward by creating something inspiring that people will play against each other. Angry Birds is great for half an hour and can get addictive for the wrong reasons, but it still doesn’t inspire the kind of engagement that narrative games command from their devotees.
IMAX your credit cards
For those of you who have just sold an app to Yahoo for $30 million and are wondering what to do with the money, here’s something from IMAX. A private home theatre with up to 120-foot-wide screen complete with 2-D and 3-D projectors and, if you haven’t got a building big enough to put it in, they’ll build you that too. They’ll reassuringly work with your architects, developers, interior designers and custom installers to produce a personalised home cinema of the usual IMAX quality. While the bespoke home cinemas are wonderfully expensive and unashamedly exclusive, it’s good to know that the technology is being rolled out to public theatres around the country later this year. If you can’t wait that long and want to convert the garage, it’ll set you back a cool $1-2 million.
This week’s crazy Bitcoins story. A US games company employee has been found guilty of ‘mining’ $3700 of Bitcoins after a beta test was cancelled and the rogue worker decided to carry on with the process. That’s like someone at the Royal Mint nicking a printing press and running off their own Winston Churchills. Steer clear of Bitcoins!