Kinect might be the big name in full-body motion control, but it’s Tobii that’s got eyes on lock. And while its past (awesome) demos have been interface-centric, now the company is taking on games. It’s not perfect yet but man do I ever want this to be awesome.
I just played some Deus Ex: Human Revolution with my eyes, and the framework that’s there is not without its jank, but still futuristic fun. Obliviously you can’t play a FPS with just your eyes, so it’s just little stuff the controller adds to the experience. Close one eye to toggle your iron sights, lean forward to peak out from behind cover, slouch a little more than usual to crouch.
It was great when it was working — much like another gesture-control related gadget you may have heard of — but the head tracking was a little spotty, and I kept crouching by accident. Turns out it’s hard to “crouch” when you’re sitting. And none of that’s as cool as the promised Starcraft integration, for example, which I didn’t get the chance to try.
Of course, demo situation was far less than ideal: crowded show floor, people everywhere, developer hardware, a laptop that was running Deus Ex at an unplayably choppy frame rate to begin with, so there probably more to this than meets the eye at first. Maybe, hopefully, in better conditions it’s closer to the awesome future Tobii’s promising.
The real consumer-ready version of Tobii’s game controller — the product of a partnership between Tobii and SteelSeries — still has some time to cook; it’s coming in mid-2014, at which point there will hopefully be a bigger stable of 3rd party games with cool functionality (Starcraft, WoW, Civ 5, and Deus Ex right now which, not bad), and some specialised first party stuff to really show off what this thing’s packing.
For the time being it’s a curiosity, more first-gen Kinect than anything. But hopefully it can make good on some of its promise.