Technology & Gaming Editor
Valve is set on developing a video game controller that detects your biometrics, CVG reports. Company president (and video game messiah, if the internet has anything to say for it) Gabe Newell has confirmed that Valve is moving away from the motion controller craze (Wii remotes, Kinect, and PlayStation Move), due to problems involving precision and latency. However like it or not the man is talking the truth.
For example, on the Kinect, there’s a noticeable lag between your actions in real life and the Kinect’s interpretations of your actions on the Xbox 360. A couple months ago I was playing Rally Ball on Kinect Adventures (imagine Breakout but you are the paddle). I would reach out to try and block a ball from falling off screen, but the time it takes for the Kinect to interpret these movements took too long, and I lost the game after losing too many balls.
This is the problem with motion games especially on camera mounted consoles. It’s hard to develop and play a game that involves fast reflexes (at least, in my opinion), because the hardware just isn’t good enough to give you reasonable feedback. This is part of the reasoning behind Valve’s decision to make the move towards biometic technology.
Newell said, “Motion just seems to be a way of [thinking] of your body as a set of communication channels. Your hands, and your wrist muscles, and your fingers are actually your highest bandwidth - so to trying to talk to a game with your arms is essentially saying ‘oh we’re going to stop using Ethernet and go back to 300 baud dial-up’.”
If the biometric controller is a success which is very likely based on Valve’s successful track record, it will open up quite a few interesting possibilities in the video game world. For example, if you want to play a game, just pick up the controller, which will sense the user and turn on your game console. However, what if you are not an extremely lazy gamer? Well, imagine this and this is just speculation, a biometric controller could measure your skin moisture and heartbeat. Now, say you’re playing a horror game (Amnesia, anyone?). Your controller could detect your stress levels via how sweaty your hands are, how fast your heart is beating, maybe even how hard you are gripping the controller. This would open up quite a few nasty possibilities – the game could make sure you are never calm while playing the game. This possibility would open up a world of awesome.
There’s no word on when this controller will debut, but for the readers hungry for more Valve news, the company is currently working on the fabled Steam Box console. Read about it here on CVG.