I will be the first to admit that I may not be the most qualified gamer out there, but I can tell you I am passionate about gaming and the development of professional gaming as a sport. When you look back 20 years ago at gaming it was just in its infancy stage and could barely walk (so to speak). Now, even the gamers, have risen up and created their own professional league, the MLG (Major League Gaming) (actually, it was founded in 2002).
I am nowhere close to the realm of a “good” gamer, but that doesn’t mean I am cut out of the experience. Similar to all professional sports, the MLG hosts spectator events just as TSN or Fox would for the NFL. Spectators from all over the world tune in to watch these (highly paid) professional gamers go head to head in a multitude of different game styles with a similar structure to every other sport out there (in terms of qualifying rounds, quarter, semi and finals/championships).
We all know technology advancements have made their way to the NHL, NFL, MLB, and so on, but (aside from the obvious technology in the MLG) where can technological innovations take us as a spectator? Mirametrix’s eye tracking technology has been used by our technical staff while playing games like League of Legends and Star Craft II.
The videos were posted on both YouTube and Reddit with an explosive response rate (it was even re-posted to other blogs and forums!). This tells us two things:
- There is, without a doubt, an interest in studying strategies used in professional gaming.
- There is a market out there for eye tracking software to be implemented into the MLG spectator experience (We just have to better define it and determine the best business model).
The video gaming industry has come a long way from systems like the original Nintendo Entertainment system, the Sega Master System, and the Atari XU (to the right) but the competitive nature of gaming has remained prevalent and is widely appreciated today. Similar to the revolutionary (at the time) gun-like controller released for these systems, eye-tracking is beginning to be implemented into the gaming community to change how we interact with our favorite games.
How can this technology be used in the world of gaming? Well, I see two main areas. The first, as mentioned above, is the implementation into the spectator experience. Tracking the movement of a professional players’ eyes can serve as valuable data to better understand a player’s specific strategy. By this I mean we can get information on where the player is looking most often (the time spent analyzing a map in a game like Star Craft II for example) and understand their thought process that led them towards their victory.
Another more hands-on (or rather, eyes-on) way eye-tracking can be brought to the gaming experience is the usage of our visual gaze as a controller system. Similar to the Mirametrix’s eye-tracking “gaze-based remote control” system, eye-tracking is moving into the living room and could open a number of doors with respect to gaming applications. Big gaming companies have been looking at new ways to innovate the gaming experience by using human gestures to control the character on screen (the Microsoft Kinect being a prime example) and we see this as a strong ingredient to the future of eye-tracking applications in gaming. I for one, am extremely interested to see this development in human-computer interaction take flight and forever change the way we interact with our beloved video games!
How would you feel about having eye-tracking technology implemented into your gaming experience? We would love to hear your thoughts on this exciting advancement!