New Wii gaming concept could literally put you to sleep
Nintendo's current approach to video gaming isn't in supplying the most powerful hardware or the most massive gaming worlds. It's about thinking outside the box. The company successfully took gaming out of the controller and into the space around the gamer, and started a trend in the gaming industry. With this approach, Nintendo went from being on the trailing edge of gaming technology in the fifth and sixth generation consoles to the pinnacle of innovation in the seventh.
Nintendo President Satoru Iwata continues to inspect the video game industry, looking for new approaches to the same business. At the company's E3 presentation today, Iwata gave the public a look at what could be next for Nintendo, an "entirely different way of thinking about games."
There, Iwata unveiled the Wii Vitality Sensor, a biometric finger cuff similar to those attached to heart rate monitors, which connects to the Wii remote. But it isn't the actual piece of hardware that is the innovation, it is the way in which Nintendo intends to employ it in a new style of video game.
Where Wii Fit was designed to train the body, and Brain Age was designed to sharpen the mind, Iwata said the Vitality sensor will be used to get in touch with the "inner world" of the gamer, and encourage the gamer to relax.
If video games have universally been one thing, it's stimulation: flashing lights, fast moving sprites, loud noises and exciting music are ubiquitous in gaming. But by keeping track of the gamer's biometric status, Nintendo could create games that do the opposite, to slow the heart rate and breathing, to focus the gamer. Iwata says there may even be games designed to put the gamer to sleep.
Iwata said that Nintendo has been conducting research on video gamers, and found that in Europe, Japan, and the US, there are more than 295 million active gamers. But for every two people playing games, there is one more person who is interested, but just waiting for the right time to be involved. Perhaps of these 149 million potential gamers, Nintendo has found a new market. One that goes beyond the casual gamer who wants low time investment, high stimulation "casual" games, and reaches out to the person who wants high time investment, and negative stimulation.
Video games as sedatives instead of stimulants. It's a thought.