Human beings are born, then they grow and play. Even as children we are used to handling different kinds of toys and, growing up, we never stop playing. Why is playing important? How did we get to video games? What does the video game market offer? These are just some of the questions that we will try to answer.
FROM GAMES TO VIDEOGAMES
The playful aspect of life has always fascinated both scientists and philosophers. The game, in fact, helps children believe in their own abilities, providing a set of basic tools for living in society. According to some theories, children recognize the recreational activities in the same way in which adults faces their work. However, the time devoted to games decreases while growing up. Spencer, the philosopher, explains this phenomenon by identifying games as a possible way to let out excess energy: as children we feed ourselves in abundance and easily, as adults we have less free time and we channel our energy in work and, therefore, in the search for food. Growing up, our way of playing changes and, in the same way, over time, the different types of games have changed. We have gone from the ancient Roman’s dies to virtual reality video games. Despite the changes, the entertainment logic, fun and learning that are at the basis of games, has remained the same. That said, playing is very important activity for both young and old people. To support this thesis, widening our gaze towards technology, it is useful to make a classic example: cell phones. Before the era of smart phones, mobile phones had very little functionality, but games were necessarily present. We can say that the world of technology has quickly recognized the importance of games and has invested a lot in this. We are living in an era where innovation and games try to mix as much as possible. That’s why PlayStation VR and MindWave were born.
One of the fields that technology giants are focusing on is, undoubtedly, virtual reality. The main novelty of 2016 is PlayStation VR. What has changed from the classic console? The degree of involvement is unprecedented. To play sitting on the couch, getting caught up by the plot and carrying out the missions is different from living the game thanks to the viewer. Imagine being on vacation, deciding to go diving to watch from inside a cage the colorful fish swimming around you, then comes a shark that decides to attack you and you’re forced to resurface. All this being inside the game. The only problem is the feeling of disorientation that some feel after removing the viewer, nothing that can’t be overcome in a matter of minutes. The VR is a new technology and needs time to be optimally developed. We are at a good level, but to make the sector grow and to reach a wider audience with virtual reality we need the thrust of competition.
An interesting device is the MindWave by Neurosky: a simple helmet with sensors that can record brain activity. There are many applications, from games to the monitoring of attention levels. MindWave is used to control the progress made with meditation, to check what type of music relaxes us and which one makes us focus better. To do this there are several applications. Among these, SpeedMath asks us to perform mathematical calculations while the device monitors our level of concentration. This technique can be used to flush out attention disorders. Furthermore, you can also play: after launching the BlinkZone app, you will need to focus in order to bring the fireworks as high up as possible and then set them off by closing your eyelids. It works!
The video games industry is increasingly incorporating technologies such as VR. Until a few years ago we would not have imagined being able to play with the power of the mind, yet today it is reality. All these technologies have huge potential for growth and while we wait to see what the future will bring, we look forward to seeing you at Wearable Tech Torino 2016 on the 18th and 19th of November!