Apple Watch: Time for a new breed of gaming
What if the Apple Watch could be used to improve in-game experiences? It's certainly possible since Cupertino's entry into the wearables market is already packing useful sensors for game developers. It could, quite literally, be a game-changing wearable.
In fact, two internal research and development teams over at Electronic Arts are already examining the possibility of utilising Apple's smartwatch for gaming. Frank Gibeau, an executive who oversees EA's mobile content, told CNET: "One of the things we're intrigued with in the mobile division is seeing wearables emerge as a gaming platform."
Enhancing games remains a big target for the wearable industry. Headsets such as those provided by Oculus are hoping to take us to whole new places whilst wrist-worn wearables will provide us with a new means to interact with this inevitable next-generation of gaming.
"If you look at Oculus and its relationship with Facebook and Google Glass. Now with Apple's big announcement with the watch... There's a trend here where wearables are going to increase in performance, capability and unique functions over time that we believe will enable gaming experiences," Gibeau said.
So how could this work in reality? Whilst some games may be ideal for your wrist (one developer is working on an arm-wrestling game, for example) it may be suited better as an extension of games running on the connected iOS device. What if Dead Space could tell when you're at your most relaxed via the heart rate monitor? What if Raving Rabbids could simulate your wrist actions?
Microsoft has been looking at ways to do this via Kinect for the company's Xbox console for some time. The Kinect can also detect the players heart rate, emotions, and actions... but no titles as of yet have been released which fully take advantage of its capabilities. With the Xbox team seemingly retreating on Kinect; it may be some time before we see such innovation put to practical use in an actual console.
Mobile games are reaching to "console-level" graphics themselves. The now-ubiquitous term is how most attendees have described Apple's on-stage demos of new games which take advantage of iOS 8's new "Metal" API. Metal allows for vastly improved graphics performance through better utilisation of the iDevice's GPU.
The Apple Watch requires an iPhone to work and is set for release in early 2015. As for pricing, the device will start at $349 in North America with exact models and other markets to be announced at a later point. One thing is for sure; expect that 5k gold version to be eye-watering.
Do you think wrist-worn wearables will enhance gaming experiences? Let us know in the comments.