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Gaming and the Future

The panel (Journalist Discuss the Future of Games) wasn’t nearly as crowded as others around SXSW, but I felt honored to be among some of the nerdiest at the already self-proclaimed nerdy conference.

The Journalists: Morgan Webb (G4TV), N’Gai Croal (Hit Detection LLC), Jamin Warren (Kill Screen Magazine), Ross Miller (The Verge), Matt Buchanan (BuzzFeed).

They  discussed everything from motion controls to gaming in education. Gaming, like many other things at SXSW, is changing at crazy cool speeds and I’m excited to see where we’ll be in 10 years. I’ll warn you now; the rest of this post might confuse/bore you if you don’t care about gaming. Aka nerd alert.

Morgan Webb (she’s on TV!) kicked things off by raising questions about motion controls gaming. The panel all agreed that motion controls are great for kids and casual gamers. But when it comes to hardcore games (especially shooters), no one has quite figured out how to do it right. Matt Buchanan pointed out that the main issue is figuring out a way to control free movement with motion control. If I want to run across the room and over to some cover, how can I do that without a controller. Games have tried letting you point where you want to go or thrusting yourself forward on rails (predetermined paths), but these methods don’t really feel natural.

The most interesting thing that came out of this part of the discussion was talk about sensors. The idea that sensors can detect your emotions/reactions during a game and adjust the experience based on how you feel. Sensors in a horror game, for example, would know that you are especially terrified and take that chance to make you pee your pants with an extra scary moment.

Matt Buchanan talked about controllers in gaming.  It was amazing to look back at how controllers have evolved, but at the same time see how much more potential there really is for them. He predicts we’ll see a move towards hybrid controllers, combining the traditional controllers we know and love with voice and motion sensors. We’ve already started to see this in games like Mass Effect 3 with the Kinect. He also raised the question of what will games be able to do when sensors can actually detect our finger movement.

Ross Miller talked about the evolving playground. Moving towards people always being connected and the ever-popular cloud. As he put it, “If people want to be cyborgs, we can do that.”

Jamin Warren talked about the use of gaming in education. Sorry if you were waiting to read about this, but I zoned out during this part.

Overall, it was a great panel. I love talking about the future

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