Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The price of the future, part II

I was just trying to trace the alleged connection between Nintendo and the stereoscopic technology company ´Virtual Vision´ (a subsidiary of Emagin, who have in turn been rumoured to work with Nintendo before). I didn´t find any hard evidence concerning this topic, but I came across an interesting quote about costs, though. Lots of people seem to think that a technology like AR (with high-end gadgets in the five figures price range) could never be mass-marketed as a videogame tool. But it´s possible and it´s been done before. Remember the Nintendo Power Glove? Wikipedia describes it like this:

The Power Glove is a controller accessory for the Nintendo Entertainment System made by Mattel. This controller was unique in the fact that it was a glove instead of the normal controller. On the glove it included a set of controls like a normal controller. It also included a program button and buttons labeled 0-9. A person would hit the program button and a numbered button to do various things (such as increase or decrease the firing rate of the A and B buttons). Along with the controller, someone could move their hand in various movements to control the character on-screen. It was based on the patented technology of the VPL Dataglove, but with many modifications that allowed it to be used with a slow hardware and sold at an affordable price.

But what do you think that gadget cost as a high-end prototype? Well, I found the info on that. The following quote is from a Business Week article, entitled VIRTUAL REALITY - How a Computer-Generated World Could Change the Real World. It was published on October 5, 1992.
Entertainment is one of the first beneficiaries. Nintendo Co.'s $99 Powerglove, a simpler version of VPL's $ 8,800 Dataglove, lets video-game wizards play with hand gestures and has already helped spawn a host of VR-like video games.
The cost discrepancy between the professional tool and its mass-market videogame equivalent is staggering: the latter is only a little over 1% of the price of the former. And remember that there´s still a profit margin in there. This example helps us to understand that cutting edge technology can easily be brought down to an acceptable price, given reduced quality. This ties in with what Rick Shie, POC´s senior vice president told me some weeks ago. The costly ingredient of stereoscopic 3D projection are the projectors, he said. But, he had added, it was all down to what quality output the client desired.


Benihana said...

Hmm, interesting, but no real revolution or paradigm change, I think. :-)

Nintendo has reserved the words "Dotstream" and "Soundvoyager" at the nippon patent office. At the momnet, it's not known, what it means.


Anonymous said...

Nice research Falafelkid, it seems the Revo could just take us by surprise, because it revolutionary features could be anything out there, but for sure there is hope for AR which I would not mind at all

Falafelkid said...

Nor would I, anonymous ;P

Falafelkid said...

And Benihana: I can´t find the source on that page. Sounds interesting though. Got a link, please?

Anonymous said...

Nice copy off seriousgamers site. ASS.

He has talked about this many times.

grahf said...

Its still speculation, however you did do some homework unlike most other bloggers. I was unaware that the Powerglove was based off of $1000 tech. Very interesting. Keep up the great work btw, i check in regularly to see what you've uncovered!

Falafelkid said...

Grahf: Thanks for your comments.

Anonymous: First of all USE A DIFFERENT TONE! Secondly, give me a link. I´d be VERY surprised if Seriousgamer007 linked this article. It´s not on his site. I came across the article myself (as I have written). If you have read more posts on this on this blog, you´d know I always name my sources. You know nothing, mate.

sssd said...

please don't compare falafelkid to seriousgamer007. I mean, serious won't even let ANYONE comment on his blog now, let alone anonymous people.

And this is interesting research falafelkid, but I still don't see AR coming. I'm not saying it's not feasible, it's just not the way I think nintendo is going. It will be interesting to see what happens though.

Falafelkid said...

Thanks for your comments, sssd. I very much want to allow everyone to comment here. But those guys should realise that there´s some responsibility on their part, too. Anyway, back to the topic. I have written a lot about AR and it´s certainly a possibility. You´re right, though, in saying there are a number of reasons against a technology like that. The most convincing is that Nintendo wants to open up to people who have been put off by current videogames. Them talking about current controllers having too many buttons (as well as games being too long and complex) would make no sense of they did come up with a full-blown AR helmet. That´s something for gadgeteers, casual gamers or newcomers might be put off by putting that on. If AR will be used, it would be no more than supplemental to what´s on the regular screen. This way, it could be an optional extra, too.

My current guess is, though, that if we are to expect a truly groundbreaking technology like this, stereoscopic 3D projection is the most likely candidate. It´s certainly intuitive enough.

Lectoid said...

You know that visor's technology doesn't sound too different from the old VR Pods that some arcades had, what, 10 years ago. Your view changes depending on where you look.

Falafelkid said...

I guess you mean ´Mad Dog McCree´, ´Hologram Time Traveller´ and the like. I played Mad Dog when I was living in an English seaside town, where pretty much all you could with your time was hang around the ´amusement hall´. That was a wicked, wicked game simply for the technology involved. The gameplay itself required you to shoot or push a button once every five minutes. So imagine this technology with excellent gameplay...

Lectoid said...

No, I mean these things

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