Saturday, 22 March 2008

Thing 7 - Toys these days....

It's funny what you take for granted these days when it comes to technology. My husband is a bit of a gamer, although not what you would call a serious one. And yet, you should see the set up that comes with our X-box 360. This PC-sized box sits above our TV. It's connected to the internet, and other gamers, via wireless modem. My husband doesn't have to sit too close to the TV as the controller is wireless. Plus he has a headset that allows him to talk with the people he's playing with - usually directions such as "You go up, I'll go down - watch out for that guy!" etc.

This kind of technology has been around in one form or another for years now, but it still seems pretty damn impressive if you stop to think about it for a second. That x-box and modem is processing and transmitting multiple forms of data - graphics, AI moves for the enemies, the movements of the live players, plus the chat over the headphones. All pretty much in real time. Amazing. And that's all for the home consumer. It sure makes the average teleconference software look pretty clunky!

When you then of it, multiplayer games are essentially a form of recreational collaboration between a group working towards a goal (the "quest") in a controlled environment (the game). And of course as games such as World of Warcraft evolve, the scope of the environment just gets broader. It's not a big step from this sort of fantasy world to Second Life - a virtual world creating a digital face for people and companies. But I would argue, as a non-gamer, that it is still a big step for many to jump into that virtual world. Maybe I'll get there one day.