Thursday, March 17, 2011

Tablet TV Games

1) A lot of people have smart phone and some have tablets.
2) A lot of people today can browse the web on their TV. This is done via an internet enabled TV, an attached box like a Wii, XBox, boxee, or something else.

Both of the above will only be increasing as time goes by. What major unique situations does this present that has not been seen before and how can it be taken advantage of?

1) Each user has a screen that can be private while still being in the same room.
2) Not locked into only 2 or 4 players on split screen, how about 20 or 400 people?

Some other minor attributes of this type of setup:
- There is a common screen + sound device
- In person communication / same room BUT users can go to another room to discuss if needed and still have their controllers / private screens
- System can also involve some physical objects due to the fact that everyone is in the same house.

Some initial (mostly bad) ideas:

- Poker
- Football simulator (other person can't see what play you pick)
- Pictionary (pass around a device which people draw on which is shown on the screen)
- Each device is a first person car racing game, TV shows the track / location
- WW2 B52 Bomber simulator. Each tablet is a first person perspective of one of the jobs in the bomber. The TV would contain the radar etc requiring users look at the TV goes with the feel of the plane and the required real time communication works well.
- Multiplayer airport landing game (each ipad would control a set of planes and or airports and the TV would be a zoomed out view or the multiple airports)
- Any coop games where getting more people helps (chaos equals fun)
- Some turn based board games
- Presentation "software" (at is core tv + 1 controller)
- A Kitchen game where orders are shown on the tv and ach person is in charge of preparing part of orders. Lots of talking would hopefully result
- Train game where each person controls part of a subway/train system
- Snow plows. TV shows a city and each person drives a plow communicating where they are going to go to clear the snow.

Downsides:
- Sitting on a couch the tv is pretty far away so resolution isn't as good as a board to a board game one foot away
- controller screens are down in your lap, tv is up high, makes real time games a bit hard as they are on different eye levels.

Overall jumbled thoughts on this topic:

1) The distance to the TV from the users limits the usefulness of any game

Given the distance from the couch to the TV I wonder if for many games what is shown on the monitor could just as well be shown on the tables/smartphones. A monitor on the dining room table two feet away can provide a much bigger map than a TV 6 feet away. The monitor also solves the browser compatibility problem. The monitor could also display from an ipad etc. Also given that a TV doesn't have a touch screen the user has to some how interact with what is shown on the TV which results in some representation of the screen data also being shown on their device. More thought needed....

2) Private displays are the key, but when each user has a rich tablet display why not just skip the whole TV requirement and just make a bunch of co-op games for the ipad?

3) Barriers to entry on the TV
While TV's might have browsers it isn't the latest and greatest chrome. Much more likely to find an older opera etc and slow javascript engines. Requiring everyone log into a site tvgames.com adds one more chance for people to not bother and do something else. Compared to ipad's that find each other with no user work required.

4) Tried before?
Back when the wii first got a browser a number of Wii browser games were in the news, why didn't that take off? Maybe all of those DVD games just get bought, but never played? Some Wii game sites on the first page of google show less then 400K hits in the past several years combined... ouch

Update: Looks like the Wii2 scheduled for 2012 will have some sort of touch screen. No doubt it will be able to take advantage of the above items.

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