What kind of interfaces -- not necessarily in the gaming sector -- do you keep up to speed on? Have you seen anything interesting in the science and technology sector?
RM: Yeah, that's the other thing that part of our day is, just trying to stay current with everything that's going on, attending talks, conferences, reading magazines, keeping up with academic journals, lots of different stuff like that -- surfing the web. It's hard to justify that's part of my job.
I work on the internet, so you don't have to justify that to me.
RM: Yeah, we do spend a lot of our time doing that. Also, it's really those ideas that, maybe, people haven't thought of making sense for video games, but maybe we can see that since we're in the games industry. Somebody from outside doesn't realize necessarily that an accelerometer really made sense to add to the video game world.
Is there anything right now specifically that you've seen that is kind of like, "Hey, that could be applied to gaming"?
RM: Yeah. I probably couldn't talk too much about that because if it's right around the corner it's probably something we would want to keep our own under our hat.
You can spill your guts.
RM: Sorry. Maybe, if I can think of something I've already said publicly. I think pretty much anything that lets us get the player's intent into the system more is the kind of technology that our group is focused on a lot. People call it "user interface" a lot, but I don't like that term so much. It's really that the person just wants to convey to the game what he wants to have happen, and however he can do that more effectively and easily, I think, is the kind of technology we're keeping track of.
Like brain wave sensing!
That's where it always ends up because the final end everyone thinks of, the ultimate end is the brain experience. And actually that's where my past diverges. But I think the brain interface thing is too far. Actually I think the body should stay connected. Like having your, you know, adrenaline pumping.
When you play some of the experiences like Rock Band where you break into a sweat playing the drums, those things are good. I like those things. I don't want to remove all of that. Some people just say, "If I could just get rid of all those human body problems..." I don't agree with that. I like it when it's connected. So I'd rather get more information about what they're doing. A lot of expression comes through what you do with your hands and your body, so.
I can't really talk about motion control without mentioning the Kinect. What is your impression of that, having just no controller?
That's another thing, we worked on cameras ourselves. EyeToy was meant to be a no-controller experience, mostly. And we worked on 3D cameras a lot. And I think there's a lot of great technology there. The Kinect or a camera, just like that by itself, is good but for a fairly narrow set of experiences. It's really good for dancing. There's no way you could argue that. It's great for dancing.
But it's not so good for maybe first person shooters or an RTS. Those kinds of things just don't really make as much sense for that by itself. So I think that it's a good tool, again, but it doesn't solve all the problems of video games by any stretch. So I'm happy to see any kind of innovation in these things on market.
I think it would be wrong if you thought that I didn't think Kinect was good to have happened in our industry. That [technology is] my area too. I like to see all these new things occurring, and each of the companies should keep innovating in its own way and making things better.
Kinect is kind of the first generation of that 3D camera technology too, in games at least. And maybe it would be good eventually for something like an RTS once cameras can really sense finger movement and the reaction speed is faster.
RM: You need a lot more fidelity to get the kind of control that you can already get out of the gamepad or Move even. I think to do some of the more subtle things, it's just not possible right now. And I think it might be a ways off because buttons are very exact. They know exactly what the person intends, they push a button or they don't. And that's a tough one to replace with some kind of other gesture.
For the audience that that's aiming for, they're not necessarily looking for one-to-one accuracy anyhow.
RM: But some people, I think, think that maybe the hardcore gamer could play Kinect to play a real time strategy game in a new way that's completely better than a game pad. I think that's a hard thing to do because you're losing a whole bunch of capability when you go to the interface. So how do you make it better? You could play a light version of an RTS for sure, but that would be different.
Kinect has got the microphone, too. What do you think of voice control?
RM: I think that actually [Kinect] does better in that area than I expected it to do. I tried Kinect on the voice networks, it's better than I expected. But it's tough, it's still very stiff. You have to speak the way it wants you to speak. And you have to kind of modify yourself to match it. You watch Star Trek and they just talk to the computers whenever they want, as if it's just another person.
We're still quite a ways away from it knowing whether you're talking to it or to another person in the room. And not having to really treat it so stiffly, I guess. I think that's not quite there yet. But I think it's good, I think it's a good vector. There's a lot of powerful information that can come out of voice.