You may remember back in July we brought you news of an exciting integration between smartwatch 2 and the game “Aces of Luftwaffe”. In one of the first real examples of wearable tech’s active integration with a mobile gaming experience, Aces of Luftwaffe allowed you to control a plane with the smartwatch on your wrist. Well, given the pace of development in this space, we thought it’d be a good idea to catch up with Christopher Kassulke, CEO of HandyGames, who worked on the project to see what he’s recently been up to and what he has to say about wearable tech and how the new options it opens up it might impact the gaming industry
Q – where did the drive to build games come from, what was your first gaming experience?
I’ve been a gamer as long as I can remember and I pretty much had all the consoles as a kid; an Amiga, Atari, Master System, Sega Mega Drive and PC. But it was Asteroids and Space Invaders that I played the most. They’re absolute classics. Although saying that, I was a pretty big Monkey Island fan as well.
Q – Describe Aces of the Luftwaffe in 140 characters?
Control and fly a Plane with your smartwatch 2 or smartband SWR10 on your Sony Xperia!
Q – How did the idea for using smartwatch 2 and smartband as a remote game control come about?
We wanted to do something cool and unique with the smartband and smartwatch that hadn’t been done before; something that would have that “WOW Effect” and show that wearable tech and gaming didn’t just have to come in the form of an AR headset. And controlling a plane with your wrist just sort of sounded perfect. It’s definitely not something that you’d expect to be able to do.
Q – What does wearable technology really mean for mobile gaming, beyond the gimmicks, what can it really add to the experience?
It is a new platform and a completely different kind of gaming experience. I think something goes beyond ‘gimmicky’ once it genuinely starts altering the user and gaming experience, and I think Aces of Luftwaffe is one of the first games that really does change mobile gaming, allowing you to completely change you game on the move. We’re really excited about the potential that this sort of integration has.
Q – How far away are we from specifically developing hero titles for “wearable gaming”?
Since Aces of Luftwaffe we’ve recently launched a wearable version of our mobile game Super Party Sports Football, it’s probably our first ‘hero’ title in this space. There are endless opportunities for wearable tech and I think over the next few years, as technology improves and demand for wearable tech increases, the bigger gaming titles will start taking note of the huge potential of smart wear integration.
Q – What does the future for wearables and mobile gaming look like?
In a word – exciting. There’s new technology coming out all of the time, but it’s just a case of the speed of software development and desirable designs catching up with the potential of the technology. AR headsets like Occulus Rift and Sony’s Project Morpheus are obviously game changers as well, but it’s the immediate and easily accessible smartwear accessories that I think have the most potential to impact gamers.
Q – So what exactly would you like to see introduced to gaming from a wearables perspective?
Well for me one of the most exciting aspects of wearable tech is all the data that it captures; how long you’ve slept for, how many steps you’ve taken, your heart rate – things like that. It’d be very cool to have that data being fed into game play and have your experience react to what you’ve been doing. So, say you only had 3 hours sleep the night before, your reaction times in game would be slower. That sort of thing.
Q – We’ve talked about the impact that wearable tech has on game development, but what about the other way round. Do you see gaming having a further impact on wearable hardware? What would you like to see in terms of design for future wearable tech?
Oh without a doubt, I’m quite certain that trends and developments in gaming will have an impact on wearable hardware, particularly in design. The challenge with integrating gaming with smartwear and wearable tech, is how to make use of accessories that don’t include screens. Whether that’s a necklace that monitors heart rates or bands that affect virtual movement, it’ll be interesting to see.
Q – And lastly, and probably most importantly, if you could be best friends with a gaming character who would it be?
Easy…Duke Nukem. Don’t even have to think about it.