While Nintendo's new controller has generated great excitement for its alternative game control interface, the biggest opportunity could come from mobile phones
In his GDC Mobile session, Using Touch, Sight and Gesture in Mobile Games, developer and academic Paul Coulton showed just a few of the innovative ways mobiles could be used to play new kinds of games.
RFID technology is known as an alternative to cash, and is used in shopping cards around the world. Mobile phones are increasingly being marketed which act as ‘cash’ in themselves. Users simply swipe their mobiles across RFID tags in order to make micro-payments. Coulton demonstrated how game developers could make use of this technology to create fun experiences in the real world. He showed how mobiles were being used in ‘run and chase’ games that merge real world gaming with on-screen gaming.
Potentially more important is the arrival of motion detection technology in handsets such as Nokia’s 5500. He showed simple tilt-ball games as well as more sophisticated driving games, using gesture. He added that mobiles games could be played with the handsets left in a player’s pocket. “The possibilities are endless with this technology. It’s about thinking of new ways to play games, that might be played by very different people than we are used to,” he said. “Wii has had an amazing impact but this technology in mobile phones could ultimately be even more dramatic.”
He also said that the mobile phone cameras had been under-utilized in game development, but argued that it could be greater utilized if merged with some of the technologies previously mentioned. Players could use their cameras to ‘aim and shoot’ in games using the real world.
Coulton said, “There are challenges ahead in making use of these technologies, but they represent a real opportunity to create something new.”