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Looking Back, Looking Forward

2014 brought a few interesting technologies that may have an impact in the gaming world, many of which won’t be fully realised until at least 2015. Here is a rundown of some technology that emerged in 2014 or is due to appear in 2015:

  1. Oculus Rift, the Virtual Reality headset made it into version 2 in 2014, with version 3 codenamed ‘Crescent Bay’ to be launched early in 2015. The big question is whether or not virtual reality will be accepted by the gaming community or whether it will be consigned to the ‘skip of failed tech’. Several companies are betting on VR becoming popular, including Samsung who have launched their own VR headset that uses their latest cellphone as the screen. Oculus themselves, purchased in 2014 by Facebook, have been recruiting some big players in movement tracking technology and bought up Nimble VR, a small tech company developing hand-tracking systems. Google also made a much less expensive step into the virtual world with its budget Google Cardboard virtual reality headset. Many thought it was a joke at first, but the reality is that it’s a cardboard headset containing some cheap plastic lenses that houses a smartphone in a similar way to Samsung’s headset. Sony were also developing their own VR headset, the Morpheus, for Playstation 4, but it is now believed that the project has been canned. Microsoft are also rumoured to be developing a similar system, and meanwhile in Scotland a company called Eyedak Ltd is developing its own headset.
  2. The Steam Controller finally made an appearance too, but the design has only just been finalised, so we’re not likely to see it in the shops just yet. The controller which mixes together a gamepad design with touch pads is being hailed as the new best way to control your game, providing a halfway house for gamepad  and mouse users. It remains to be seen whether this will prove to be better than either of the systems it aims to replace, and there’s still no news on how much it will cost.
  3. Valve’s other project, the Steam Machine has failed to appear in 2014. The new range of gaming platforms, co-built with a handful of hardware vendors was to run the SteamOS and provide a new gaming platform to run all of your favourite games downloaded via Steam.Valve has restated its intention to have the hardware on full release in 2015, but we shall see if there is any appetite for yet another gaming platform.
  4. Also in the virtual world, the company Virtuix has brought a virtual reality treadmill to the pre-order stage. Designed to allow players to walk in a realistic way in a virtual world, the treadmill known as Virtuix Omni is compatible with Battlefield 4 and is suitable for gamers with a large room and probably an equally large bank balance.
  5. HP is launching a new 3D monitor that allows users to interact with objects on screen in an augmented reality kind of way. the system uses a special stylus and a set of 3D glasses to create the effect. The screen is based on the Immersive 3D technology from zSpace.
  6. Intel is also jumping on the bandwagon of interactive display technology with its RealSense devices that will allow the user to interact with screen based objects with gestures and movement, as well as to create 3D scans of objects.
  7. 2014 also saw the release of yet another Nintendo DS. This one had two analogue sticks, Near Field Communication and a cartridge slot. In other news a Nintendo fan has built a tower of old DS models that reach from his bedroom in East Tokyo to the moon.
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