Over the past few years, the evolution of our gizmos and gadgets has become increasingly streamlined. Innovation has lost some of its spectrum, revolving around “does it have awesome apps which consumers will shell out for?” and “how thin can we make it?” If you look at business models and news from industry titans such as Microsoft ( ie. Smart-Glass), Apple (thin phones/tablets and The App Store), Sony (more thin phones and computers…), just to name a few, you can’t deny that 90% of developments, at the very least, are simply previous ideas being refined in the most obvious ways.
But there are still slightly more-obscured companies with vision. This is the category for Valve, and now quite literally.
Today, the New York Times offered us a glimpse of just what the revolutionary creators of games and platforms such as Steam, Half-Life, and Portal have been doing as of late.
Say hello to the face of innovation… well, actually, that face has nothing to do with it. Rather, ignore the face, and look at that funky contraption strapped to it.
If one were to check out the latest job-listings for positions with the company, they probably wouldn’t be surprised to see the famed game developer expanding into the realm of hardware. And it appears they’ve brought their pioneer-edge along for the ride.
What you’re looking at is Valve’s latest attempts to bring gaming to reality via headset. Very little information on the device is actually being offered. All we know is it is a piece of immersion hardware that could be fully augmented to react to the real world in 3 to 5 years, but be suitable for release gameplay even sooner.
The author behind the article, however, gave out this description.
Every way I look, the scene shifts, the battle unfolds. I have a crazy contraption strapped to my head: a boxy set of goggles that looks like a 22nd-century version of a View-Master. It immerses me in a virtual world. I whirl one way and see zombies preparing to snack on my flesh. I turn another and wonder what fresh hell awaits.
Will it survive the trials of production and integration? Titans don’t always like to play ball with sudden innovation. Will it be an economic success? Who knows. But is it a genius-driven, honest, inspired push to create something original and intriguing in a sea of lesser products? Yes, and that in itself is a rarity these days.
So, even while the market is being flooded with clones, maybe there is something to watch out for. Keep an ear to the ground.
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