Latest Gaming Technology

The video gaming industry has certainly evolved over the last few years. The latest technology now has much more improved graphics which has made the appeal of video gaming a lot more popular. The growth of the gaming console, PC games and video games has been absolutely phenomenal.

It is no longer just a casual game that people used to enjoy for a few minutes when they got the spare time. The video gamer now gets totally immersed in the game that they are playing to such an extent that you would think that they are actually living the whole episode.

There has now become a breed known as the pro gamers that has surfaced today. The so called pro gamers are a group of video gamers that are employed by many software developers, game promoters and hardware companies.

There are pro gamers around that can be given contracts by large companies to take part in either team events or individual events at large gaming tournaments. The company sponsoring them would literally pay for any costs that these pro gamers incur from paying for their travel and duration of the stay at these tournaments to actual practice sessions.

You can now find massive gaming tournaments that are held all over the world all year long. Games that pro gamers usually get sponsored for are such games as Fifa, Quake 3 or 4, Counter-strike and many more besides.

These tournaments are usually sponsored by large institutions such as Intel, Pepsi and others. The tournaments can even have cash prizes for the eventual winner often up to as much as $400,000.

This is not the only way that gamers can earn a living from their skills. Many developers and game designers pay for gamers to test their products before they are officially launched. They recognize the benefit of the feedback that these gamers can give them in relation to their games.

Game testers will often be given contracts to test these games on behalf of the manufacturers and paid for their services after the contract has been fulfilled. This means that you could effectively make a career out of playing video games.

How Gaming Technology Will Change Manufacturing

The gaming world has been revolutionized by games that track a player’s natural body movements and translates them into the virtual environment. By using gesture and voice recognition, gaming consoles such as the Xbox Kinect allow players to kick a ball, shoot an arrow, and actively participate in the game by simply moving their bodies, no controller required.

Watch out manufacturing, the revolution is coming. Very soon, factory floors may start seeing gesture and voice recognition systems, combined with biometrics, which allow workers to control factory operations with natural body movements and voiced commands. A simple example of this, according to a Machine Design.com article, involves logging into workstations.

Currently, many automated factories operate off of Graphic User Interfaces (GUI’s), where a worker would log in by clicking on an icon and entering a username and password. In the future, the same worker could simply step up to the work station, which would scan his retina and automatically log him in. With a simple gesture the worker could command the computer to start operations, and by holding up his hand in a “stop” gesture, halt operations. The machine could be programmed to ask for confirmations of these gestures, requiring a vocal “yes” from the operator.

So how does this technology work? A color video camera works with a depth sensor that provides a 3D perspective and a set of microphones which isolates individual player’s voices. Advanced software tracks the layout of the room and player movement, monitoring movements and responding accordingly.

A biometric natural user interface (NUI) would be able to identify only the person logged into that particular machine, responding singularly to that person’s gestures and movements while ignoring all other workers. Should a worker leave a workstation, it would not respond to anyone else and can even be programmed to shut down after a specified period of time.

A few clear advantages of gesture-based interfaces include:

Eliminates reliance on touch-screens in greasy, dusty, or less-than-ideal environments where these screens can become unreadable and hard to use.

Increases worker safety – allows workers to keep on gloves and protective glasses, which may have previously required removal to work with keyboards or see touch-screens. Also leads to a cleaner work environment, by eliminating the need to touch screens, keyboards or a mouse.

Reduces maintenance – gesture-based interfaces eliminate the need for keyboards, mouse’s and other input devices which often wear out and need to be replaced.

Requires less training – workers naturally have gesture-ability and many are used to using this type of technology in consumer applications (games and smartphones). This will make adaptation to it in the industrial setting very easy for them.

Eliminates language barriers – since the gestures are all the same, no matter what language you speak, this “universal language” would be the same in factories all over the world. It would also further reduce training by eliminating keyboard and language training.

Reduces costs – reduces training, maintenance and costly halts in production

Machine Design predicts this technology first showing up in factories for heavy equipment or applications with extreme conditions, like cold rooms, in which there are more dangerous processes, more things to clog up input devices, and its harder for workers to maneuver around the touchscreen or the mouse.

Gesture based technology is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to NUI’s. Check out the rest of the Machine Design article for where this technology is headed.

Video Gaming Technology Takes Strides Forward

One type of technology that definitely brings people a lot of entertainment, enjoyment, and even social bonding is video gaming platforms. Ever since Atari and other primitive video game platforms first came out about thirty years ago, the video gaming industry has tried to make better and better devices to keep people interested in all the have to offer.

There have been a number of breakthroughs in video gaming technology over the years, and as a result we now have video game platforms that have built in hard drives, optical disc drives, enormous amounts of RAM, and even multiple computer processors working in parallel. In the past, the major competitors in the video gaming industry have been Atari and Intellivision, and later Nintendo and Sega, but now it’s pretty much come down to Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s Play Station 3. Both of these two products have a lot in common, including the fact that they both have multiple processors, built in hard drives, optical disc drive, the ability to connect to the Internet, and stunning graphics that can reach HDTV resolutions.

One of the features that they both have in common is the ability to play high definition DVD’s onto HDTV sets, making them high definition DVD players (as well as normal DVD plays and CD players). Even these High Definition DVD formats are in competition because the Play Station 3 plays Sony’s Blu-ray high def DVD format and the Xbox 360 plays Toshiba’s HD-DVD format. The way in which these two devices accomplishes this are a little bit different though. That’s because the Xbox 360’s ability to play high def DVD’s comes from an optional HD-DVD drive that can be attached to the unit via cable, and the Play Station 3 comes with a Blu-ray drive installed.

The fact that these two devices play different High Def DVD’s has brought them right into the middle of a format war between Blu-ray and HD-DVD. Both formats essentially accomplish the same thing (although there are technical reasons why Blu-ray may be superior), but can’t be played on each other’s players and disc drives. For that reason, it’s generally agreed that only one of the formats can survive the format war.

Both Sony and Toshiba (with Microsoft’s help) have been trying to gain an edge in the market for their respective formats, and both of these video game systems have become pawns in the format war. It was hoped that the Play Station 3 would promote the benefits of the Blu-ray format to people who would buy a Play Station anyway and then watch Blu-ray discs on it as an afterthought. The problem with this strategy has been that the extra cost of including a Blu-ray drive is reflected in the Play Station 3’s price and many gamers don’t want to pay the extra money. The Xbox 360, on the other hand, has avoided that pitfall by making its HD-DVD drive an optional separate purchase.

All format wars aside though, these to gaming platforms are very impressive pieces of technology.

A leader in technology reporting, Julia Hall has published articles about the latest digital devices and gadgets for over ten years. After graduating from MIT with a degree in electrical engineering, Julia turned down huge salaries from some of the most recognized fortune 500 companies in the world to pursue her dream of becoming a leading consumer advocate. Julia uses her expertise to cut through the too good to be true deals offered by high tech companies to reveal the real steals and the real duds that we’re bombarded with daily. If you enjoy staying on the cutting edge of technology, whether for business or pleasure, but find yourself occasionally confused by the overwhelming information out there let Julia be your guide.

Revealing The PlayStation 3D TV – Powerful 3D Gaming Technology From Sony

Sony’s ever popular games console may be about to step up even further in desirability with the recently announced arrival of the PlayStation 3D TV. Sony announced at the Electronic Entertainment Expo during June 2011 that they will bring the model to market alongside their existing range of 3D TVs in an attempt to take the 3D games market by storm. Sony are planning to use breakthrough technology which allows two players to see individual different game images on screen by simply pressing a button, revolutionising the existing split screen method, and opening up new potential in the ways that competitive games are played.

The out of the blue announcement firmly places 3D gaming as the one source of 3D content that has true potential to place 3D TV at the centre of our home technology needs. Watching images in 3D naturally increases the feeling of immersion, which of course is one of the key attractions of gaming in general – to take you out of this world and into another where you’re in control and slap bang in the middle of the action. With video games attempting to deliver a true 3D experience unsuccessfully for many years, and the Nintendo 3DS not quite delivering everything it promised, it very much looks as if it Sony will ensure that their new PlayStation 3D TV takes the pole position in the race for the best new 3D entertainment of 2011.

Sony have stated that the PlayStation 3D TV screen size will be 24 inches and come as part of a bundle that will include various essential accessories such as active shutter 3D glasses, HDMI connector cables to hook up the PS3 to the TV, and a 3D game which first indications suggest will be Resistance 3. The glasses operate on a rechargeable lithium ion battery that according to Sony needs a 45 minute charge to give up to 30 hours playing time, plus just a few minutes charge is expected to provide a few full hours use. With a planned Autumn 2011 release date there is plenty of time for elements of this bundle to change, and it’ll be no surprise to see either different or extra games included.

For anyone who’s been following the progress of 3D TV technology over the last year or so, the 24 inch display size might be surprising. On first impressions it does seem on the small side given much of the focus on 3D TV has been on building and selling bigger screen models to increase the immersive feeling that’s a major part of watching 3D images. But Sony are aiming this innovation at gamers who are used to smaller screens, they might be playing in bedrooms and other small spaces where standard larger 3D TVs are way too big.

At roughly £320 or around $500 the price might just about be set at the right level, though extra pairs of Sony glasses cost between around $50 – $70 as well. Early reports indicate that the picture quality delivered by the 1080p, 24 inch, edge LED lit display is strong, and other specifications of the model include a 5000 to 1 contract ratio, 2 HDMI inputs, and a 176 degree viewing angle for players. This wide viewing angle looks to be a critical element of the TV, allowing players to sit next to each other exactly as they do now to enjoy multiplayer games and yet still get the full 3D effect.

Other features include a headset port, two HDMI ports, one component port, and two speakers. All combined with an ultra thin display. But the ability for players to see different 3D images while playing the same game is of course the jewel in the crown. The technology uses what’s known as quad speed frame sequential display technology, and in simple terms it works by combining the glasses with the TV to send the separate 3D images to the different players.

Most major manufacturers, and Sony in particular of course, believe that 3D games will drive the adoption of 3D TVs even higher, and this looks to be the first real effort from a major games manufacturer to try and prove that point. For an experienced gamer the PlayStation 3D TV could become one of the all time must have gaming gadgets. And for those of us who don’t class themselves as hardened gamers, then this new development might be the fuel that sets us on the road. There are already over 100 PS3 3D games in circulation and if the PlayStation 3D TV is successful it will be no surprise to see that number increase substantially.

At the expected price of around $500 this option may just encourage anyone who’s been sitting on the fence about buying a 3D TV to jump in with both feet. And the potential for the future is outstanding. Imagine when 3D games get to be paired with motion-sensing controls or head tracking technology, we could be facing whole new ways of gaming. Players could manipulate 3D environments with a wave of their hand. Game play and even player level creation could become far more intuitive than ever before. Should the PlayStation 3D TV be as successful as seems likely, it could open up the doorway to even more new and innovative gaming experiences.

It all sounds good, doesn’t it? But there are some drawbacks. The major one is that the dual player mode will only work with 3D games that have been specially created to take advantage of it. Clearly that means that all existing games will be incompatible from this perspective, though of course you’ll be able to play them as a single player in 3D. Sony will reportedly have around 100 fully compatible games released by the end of the year.

So we’ll need to wait and see what further developments take place. But if the idea of the PlayStation 3D TV doesn’t grab your imagination there’s an alternative way to hook up your PlayStation to a 3D TV with the recently released Sony combination 3D TV/PC. Known as the Vaio All In One, the combo comes with a 24 inch, 1080p HD LCD monitor, plus a built-in Blu-Ray player. Connectivity to a PS3 is via an HDMI port. At a price of around $1400, the All-In-One could be a better option for anyone who wants to combine 3D gaming with their other online activities.