Google demos play up the gaming potential of Glass

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Google is hyping the gaming capabilities of Google Glass as we move towards the official roll out expected later in 2014. The search giant recently released a demo video showing off five “mini-games” designed to take advantage of Glass’ various sensors, such as the gyroscope and accelerometer, as well as features such as voice activation.

The games are pretty basic and the graphics aren’t anything to get excited about, but these quick mock-ups are only meant to inspire developers with possibilities. Like many smartphone games, Google’s Glass demos are designed for short durations to be played during those fleeting free moments you have during the day.

As you might expect, a few of these games rely heavily on head movements.

There’s a tennis game where you use your head to “hit” the ball; a balance game requires you to keep a pile of shapes from falling off your head; and a matching game encases your head in an augmented reality playing board. A skeet shooting game, meanwhile, uses voice activation to launch and shoot your clay pigeon, while a Fruit Ninja-style slicer game tracks hand movements.

Once you see these games, it’s easy to imagine some more interesting possibilities, like a version of Angry Birds where you get to see the game from the bird’s point-of-view.

Then again, racing and maze games where you tilt your head instead of your smartphone—or maybe even a multi-player dodge ball game?— could give new meaning to the term “Glasshole” if played in a public park.

Paving the path

One game that Google didn’t show off in its demo is Ingress—the smartphone-based augmented reality game designed by Google’s Niantic Labs that turns the real world into a virtual battlefield.

Google hasn’t released a version of Ingress for Glass yet, but augmented reality games would be far more ideal on Google Glass than a smartphone. Unlike augmented reality on a handset, Glass is perfectly designed to project digital overlays into your field of vision. In fact, Niantic head John Hanke told us last summer that with Niantic hoped to anticipate the burgeoning field of wearable tech while designing Ingress.

“There’s this whole wave of devices coming that are sort of post-cellphone,” Hanke said in June. “We wanted to kind of anticipate that…[and] make a really fun, location-based game that would kind of take advantage of those devices when they’re available on the market.”

Ingress isn’t just about gaming, however—it’s also helping Google experiment with inserting ads into an augmented reality experience. Ingress does this in several ways, such as making Duane Reade pharmacy locations into way stations where you can pick up weapons, or turning Jamba Juice shops into Ingress Portals.

That type of advertising seems to be the realization of what companies such as Facebook have been trying to do with smartphones for several years. Instead of flashing brand names, coupons, or ads on a screen, Ingress actually brings people right into stores where people can complete game missions and maybe grab a Pomegranate Pick-Me-Up while they’re there.

Smartphone-style tennis and shooting games may make up the bulk of early Glass games, but anyone planning on picking up a pair of the specs will want to keep their eye out for games like Ingress—ads and all.

This story, "Google demos play up the gaming potential of Glass" was originally published by TechHive.

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