Mike Wesolowski is a Senior Experience Architect at ÄKTA, a Chicago-based experience design and digital innovation consultancy.
It wasn’t until I conquered my first dungeon in The Legend of Zelda at my friend’s house that I decided to throw a convincing tantrum at my parents about why I also desperately needed my own Nintendo Entertainment System. Like many other millennials, it was the very first video game console I owned.
Back then, I just wanted to save a princess from an evil king; I knew very little about how Nintendo actually redefined the language of how we interact with video games. I had, what I suppose UX nerds today would call, a good hardware user experience.
Fast forward a few years and the global gaming market is expected to rake in $86.1 billion in revenue in 2016. Driving this projection is the expected quick increase in consumer adoption of Virtual Reality (VR) technology hardware products such as Microsoft’s HoloLens, Sony’s Project Morpheus and the Oculus Rift. It’s no longer just about unique and memorable game characters and exciting incentives, but holistic and immersive user experiences.
VR will make its way successfully into consumer gaming because of clearer and more definitive user expectations for next-gen gaming experiences — and technologies like movement detection, sensors and beacons. Consoles like PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One have already shifted gamers’ expectations for visual fidelity and sound design. Such huge advances in user interaction elements taking place in incredibly immersive gaming environments (thanks, Nintendo Wii!) have created momentum for next–gen gaming hardware in the consumer entertainment industry.
A Gapless Gaming Language
Gaming technology has always been used from an “external” perspective; the hardware is an accessory apart from the physical self. With VR aiming to blend our physical environments and virtual worlds, next-gen gaming experiences will become more visceral and life-like. Users will be able to use their five senses and manipulate their surroundings using their entire bodies instead of just a controller.
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