Sometimes, amongst all the nitty gritties of our everyday lifestyle, there seems to be those crazy aspirations of doing something extravagantly unimaginable, of conquering the world of darkspawns and freeing the universe from negativity like Grey Warden from Dragon Age: Origins. Or maybe getting into the shoes of Michael, Trevor, and Franklin to experience an action packed adventure like Grand Theft Auto V. This is probably why the 2013 Essential Facts about the Computer and Video Game Industry from ESA says that 58% of Americans play video games today thus resulting in 51% of U.S. households owning a dedicated game console. With the increasing population of fiery and extremely energetic game developers across the globe who have successfully made gaming step into the real world, these numbers does not seem to be surprising at all.
In fact, the world of gaming is more like this passionate scientific laboratory where new technology gets brewed everyday in order to make gaming a lifetime experience for every player. The latest of this technology comes from the leading eye trackers of the world Tobii and the masters in manufacturing top-quality gaming gear Steelseries through their first mass market eye tracking peripheral for games with the use of Tobii EyeX, an experience that can make players go beyond the virtual world of gaming and enter a new universe where it’s just your eyes that will play it all!
Gaming Now Becomes a Treat to the Eyes
This is not the first time that Tobii has gone wild with its “eye-magic” technology. Before the advent of EyeX, these superheroes behind eye-tracking had stunned everyone in the industry with their first eye-tracking incorporated prototype laptop along with Lenovo way back in 2011. The very same year they also released EyeAsteroids, the first ever eye-controlled game. Then there was EyeMobile, Rex and finally the milestone in the future of gaming – EyeX. But this time the outcome happens to be all the more glorifying because Tobii is not doing it alone. They have the rockstar manufacturers from the gaming gear world too – that’s Steelseries and as Bruce Hawver, CEO of Steelseries proudly says, “Eye tracking is something entirely different and exciting for this consumer market, and we are thrilled to be working alongside Tobii and the developer community to deliver an entirely new technology to this industry.” Although there’s a slight tinge of mist on the look and feel of the final product which is eventually going to be a clear sky in the coming months, the CES 2014 is going to be holding the first example as to how this new age eye-tracking peripheral can be a whole new immersion in the world of gaming.
The slim, bar-shaped device that plans to bring a new dawn in gaming comprises of two cameras and an infrared light source which, by using Pupil Center Corneal Reflection (PCCR) technique can track the direction of your gaze easily, as explained on Extremetech. This consequently creates an enriched world for game developers without the requirement of traditional hand controlled features. Just as Game developer Fredrik from Tobii technology says, “With real-source integration, you can for example, modify the user interface depending on where you’re looking. You could also give the gazed data to the AI of the game.”
It’s the Passive Gaze Triggers That Creates Awesomeness
Then there are the passive gaze triggers which helps you to integrate eye-tracker with any object or character of the game. So, when you travel into a medieval bar in Skyrim and look at the bartender, she nods at you and since there’s head tracking incorporated too, you can nod back as well! Or say, navigating the mini maps in games like Starcraft which happens to be a tedious task all the time given the fact that you might lose control of your army too. With EyeX, the entire process magically transforms into this super easy interface where it’s just a gaze that can take you from one place to another. It’s like this whole new arena of exploration where characters interact on the basis of where you are looking. You could have eye-controlled missiles to knock down the enemy plane or maybe zombies who come alive once you look at them and an enormous range of other possibilities. This is not just a cool gadget in gaming, this is what we call the dawn of a new millenium where there’s going to be a rapid surge in the communication bandwidth between the game and the player.
Encouraging game developers to start sailing this ship of eye-tracking across the new horizons of gaming, Tobii and Steelseries are launching their EyeX Dev Kit this March 2014, preorders for which are available on Tobii’s site for $139. There’s also a special edition for the CES 2014 coming at a price of $95 only. Game development requires a new, creative approach and the introduction of eye-tracking into games through EyeX is actually giving that opportunity to all the game developers out there. An intuitive gift idea for your crazy game developer friend, EyeX is undoubtedly making games all the more addictive. Happy Gadgeting!