You’ll have all seen Apple unveil its incredible new smartwatch in September this year. It proposes a new future of portable technology that we will wear on our wrists. The Apple Watch has been talked about in hushed whispers across the internet for years. Finally, the technology has arrived. The big question is whether it will provide a practical everyday function to warrant its price. Let’s start by reminding everyone that we posed the same question about the iPad. Look how powerful that turned out to be.
Apple was certainly not the first to unveil a smartwatch concept. Android already has the software ready in the form of Android Wear. The innovative ‘Pebble’ interacts with both Android and Apple software. It raised over $10 million on Kickstarter to get its big launch. The technology is not new. But, with the launch of their smartwatch, Apple are about to inspire a huge global shift.
At Gaming Advanced, we are mostly interested in how this will affect the gaming world. Mobile gaming is already set to overtake consoles in 2015. So, what does that mean for smartwatch gaming? What are the options and what is the future? Well, quite simply, the smartwatch offers a platform unlike any other before it. The smartwatch integrates seamlessly with your everyday life. It knows your location, it monitors your heart rate and knows your own schedule better than you. Never before has a piece of technology been so closely linked to you. This opens up new realms of gaming possibility.
The current smartwatch iterations are, of course, limited. The technology is still in its infancy. The screens and the processing power are still relatively small. That will all change though. Apple has just unveiled its first model. HTC, Motorola, LG and Sony are all close behind with their hardware. Android software already exists to slot seamlessly into their models. That means the technology is already growing. The market is already beginning to compete. Rapid discovery and development is coming. Sure, the first models may lack power, but what about the second, and the third? We’re looking ahead at the potential here.
The technology allows for an unprecedented level of connection with the world around you. Let’s look at an example. Your smartphone will know your every activity. It is right there in your calendar. It knows where your ten o’clock meeting is and will direct you to it. Your watch will also use location services. So it knows exactly where you are right now. It knows how long it will take to get to that meeting. Once you are on your way, it will send an estimated time of arrival to the person you’re meeting.
They also use complex biometric scanning. It can tell whether your heart rate is higher or lower than average. It knows if your blood sugar is low. It even knows if you skipped breakfast! Your smartwatch may point out a bakery or coffee shop on the way to your meeting. If it’s a Starbucks and you visit regularly, it may already have put in your order and paid for it. This is a rough outline of what a smartwatch may do in our day-to-day lives. This is the sort of technology we can expect and this can be used when it comes to gaming.
The current gaming capabilities on smartwatches is limited. That’s because developers haven’t had long to get their hands on them. They haven’t yet been able to develop powerful, meaningful games for the platform. But they will. Currently, you can make use of simple smartwatch games. Things like Flappy Bird replicas or a free online demolition derby game. Simple games like Tetris and Snake are also available. At their core, these games are still addictive and timeless, hence their early introduction. Rest assured, we will soon move on to more complex territories.
One of the most useful things your smartwatch will do is anticipate your needs. For example, it knows when you’re on your morning commute. It knows that you leave the house at 8am and hit the subway around 8.10am. It knows that you like to play Candy Crush on the subway, so it has it loaded up when you step onto the platform. It might suggest other similar games. Likewise, it knows when you’re at the gym. It will instinctively put on your workout playlist and load up a hands free game. Smartwatches will be intuitive and adapt to your surroundings. It can even detect when you’re waiting in line at the store. It senses a slower heart rate and notices that you haven’t moved in a while. It may suggest an inconspicuous game and send sounds to your bluetooth headphones.
The sophisticated biometric monitor will also prove useful when it comes to gaming. Remember tamagotchis? Well, a smartwatch could allow you to customise and develop yourself in the same way. It will monitor your sleep patterns, eating habits and exercise routine. It will build an avatar of you based on this information that you keep on your wrist. Perhaps then you could fight and compete with your friends using this avatar. All this based on your own personal attributes. You could finally end those arguments of who is stronger or faster! Instead of using a character in online gaming worlds, you could send your own avatar into battle.
These are just the rambling ideas of a blogger. Imagine what a real developer could create. That’s the real beauty of smartwatches. Apps opened up the gaming world irreversibly. Smartwatches will operate in the same way; harnessing open design apps. Anyone with a great idea can create an app and implement it onto their smartwatch.
Most importantly, smartwatches are intimate. They are discreet. That’s what makes them so different from the likes of Google Glass and its imitators. A smartwatch is a very personal and very intimate technology. It will allow a more personalised gaming world. Gaming will be more intuitive and better connected. Smartwatches are the future of gaming. You just don’t know it yet.