Developers creating game apps for wearable tech

Games are one of the most popular mobile app categories and now some people are betting that they can help launch wearable tech into the mainstream – or at least that games could be really cool on wearables.

So far, the public hasn’t latched onto any one wearable model. Google Glass isn’t widely available yet and the few smartwatches haven’t made much of a splash. The biggest hit in wearables right now are fitness trackers, but most of those rely on a companion mobile app to let users really interact.

But a few developers are already thinking outside the smartphone and creating games that take advantage of the features of wearable tech. If they can come up with the next smash game, some reason, it will help drive the consumer desire for wearables. From Reuters:

Niccolo DeMasi, the CEO of mobile games maker Glu Mobile, compares the potential of wearables to that of Apple Inc’s iPhone launch in 2007 – an event that was the catalyst to create much of the mobile app world that exists now.

DeMasi and others are betting that by developing compelling apps designed with the wearables’ special features in mind, they can create overwhelming demand for the products.

“A whole new app ecosystem is going to be born,” said Shawn Hardin, chief executive officer of Mind Pirate, which will release “Global Food Fight,” its first game for Google Glass, this month. “Those who are going to make that happen in a big way are going to be valuable companies because of it, and those who wait too late won’t be a part of it.”

They might be right, since something needs to spark the wareable wave if we’re going to meet Juniper Research’s prediction that 130 million wearables will be shipped in the next four years.

How do you game on a wearble, you ask? Here are two examples that already exist:

Glu wanted to get a jump on its rivals by creating a word puzzle game called “Spellista” for the prototype of Google Inc’s Glass.

Because Glass allows hands-free experiences, Spellista’s gameplay relies on voice commands and head movements that work with the device’s gyroscope. With voice commands, a gamer can snap pictures on its 5-megapixel camera and create word puzzles to share with friends.

Another distinct feature of Glass is how it transmits sound. With Spellista, a user hears the game’s tutorial through sound vibrations traveling through the skull behind the ear rather than traditional speakers. That lets the user simultaneously hear ambient sound. …

With Mind Pirate’s app, “Global Food Fight,” the Silicon Valley startup wants to demonstrate that wearable devices are well-suited for “micro-engagement” – or 30- to 90-second game sessions.

The three-dimensional app is designed for multiple players. Gamers can use head movements and taps on the Glass touchpad to virtually hurl tomatoes or gooey pies at one another and build obstacle courses to help them dodge hits.

“You could sit on a train and launch a food fight using voice commands, and you could be playing with multiple people” who could be virtually anywhere, Hardin explained.

Not everyone is jumping on board, but modest amounts of VC funding have already been invested by those who want to make sure they’re not left behind if wearables take off. Beyond funding, there are plenty of creative people out there who recognize that if wearable tech comes to the general public, people will most likely want to play games on the new devices. And if the development pieces are already in place, that means there’s some need for testers (as if you needed an excuse to buy a new toy)!

What type of apps will dominate on wearable tech? Will it be games? Social platforms? Productivity apps? Will wearable tech fizzle before it ever really takes off? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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