Augmented Reality’s Console Upgrade

I’ve been watching the news from E3 with keen interest.  First off, I’m a gamer, if you can’t tell.  But I’m also wildly curious how augmented reality will shape the future of gaming.  Now I haven’t seen any games that strictly use AR, but the direction consoles are taking shows how AR is shaping them.

Microsoft’s Kinect

The formally named Project Natal previews have shown how the dual camera system would allow for gesture based gaming.  The concept doesn’t change with the new name, but we have more information about it.  One of the cooler parts of the system doesn’t even deal with gaming.  Gestures and words will now access the interface like Minority Report.

While we’re a long way from invisible AR systems that travel with us and connect us to the world in new and unique ways, the Kinect system certain raises the bar on how machines can see the world.  The AR smartphone gives us a tiny magic window into the data driven world, while the AR console brings the magic to our living room.

The announced games for Kinect are pretty limited to a racing game, an adventure game involving white water rafting, sports, and dancing.  The only brand name was a Star Wars game that seems like a perfect fit for Kinect and a virtual pet game Kinectimals that gives us the only true augmented reality experience like the PS3 EyePet. The system is due out in November, just in time for the holidays.

Playstation Move and EyeToy

PlayStation is rightly packaging the Move controller along with the EyeToy (for promotional as much as technical reasons.)  While it doesn’t quite compare to the gesture based Kinect, it is a step forward.  However, if I were buying a system for its AR inclusion, the Kinect wins hands down (pun intended.)

4 Responses

  1. …and the 3DS, which had two AR demos at E3 (one marker, one motion based), both submicroscopic displayed.

  2. @Thomas

    That’s what I heard too. Let just say that the 3DS is pushing it. It has 3 camera. One toward the gamer, 2 for stereoscopy on the front. It also has a 3D display and a 2d touchscreen display. Isn’t it some kind of revolutionary?

  3. Also includes a proper gyroscope :)
    The only downside is no gps :(

    Still, this sounds pretty cool to me;

    “Here comes augmented reality folks: in this demo, you aim the 3D cameras (on the outside of the system) at a card with a Mario-style question block, and when it locks onto the position of the card a creature forms out of it. Once he pops up, you tilt the system to maneuver a targetting reticule to blast at the virtual creature. The effect is pretty spectacular as the surface around the card will fold up like a box before it lets the creature out. One of the more impressive aspects: apparently the use of two lenses enables the system to triangulate distance from the system. When the game was saying “get 18 inches away from the card” it was actually counting off the inches of how far away you were. Basic but nifty.”

  4. It sound pretty cool, except for the card. I don’t want marker style AR! :)

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