The Industry's Seedy UnderbellyDoing the CrowdWaveThe Industry's Seedy Underbelly - RSS 2.0
"We look at casual games and what are the key skills in a sport," says Edwards of game design influences. "We look to build sport-specific games," like a tug-of-war game that challenges the crowd to see which section can "pull" farther.
Edwards acknowledges that he's not much into hardcore gaming fare and generally prefers to get out and play hockey than stay home with a console, though he does own a Wii, on which he gravitates toward games that require a lot of movement.
"I tend to prefer real world physical stuff," he says. "I like the games where I get to stand up and move."
Developing these games for a unique system does present unique challenges. For CrowdWave, the biggest one is time. The game developers have between 30 and 90 seconds to make it clear to the audience that they are about to play a videogame, show them how to play and then have them actually play.
"We don't have time for people to learn and play multiple levels," says Edwards. "They need to be simple from a gameplay perspective, but interesting from a visual perspective."
Creating an interesting visual experience on large arena screens gives venues another incentive to buy into the system: branding possibilities. In Save!, the goalie wears the home team's jersey, while the tug-of-war game can feature team mascots or cheerleaders. Venues can also sell advertising space in the game; it could be two Ford cars pulling away at the virtual rope, for example.
With the sales handled for the 2010-2011 sports season, Edwards says he's focused on where he can bring the Vision Interactive system next. First up: the arenas that have already installed the system. Those venues tend to have more going on than just the home sports team: concerts, rodeos and Monster Truck rallies among others. All of them could use a videogame during downtime.
But that would require even more new games.
As the overall gaming market is soon to have plenty more motion-capture titles with the recent launches of the Sony Move and Xbox Kinect, Edwards would like to open up his gaming platform to third-party developers to see what they can bring to the table.
"For this to really take off, we need to have other people thinking about how to make it work," he says. "No group of individuals can corner the market on creativity."
Robert Janelle is an Ottawa, Canada based freelance journalist. His blog is at http://waa.loudandskittish.com