There’s been a steady murmur around Google’s plans for a connected home, and that could be great for Android’s gaming platform. The latest leak comes from unnamed Google employees, telling The New York Times of the upcoming launch for a pair of Android-powered, augmented reality glasses. They’d resemble the Oakley Thumps, feature a heads-up display and support 3G and 4G connectivity. With a front-facing camera, GPS and a full range of movement sensors, these HUD glasses could really change the game for Android gamers.
These glasses would be an interesting extension for Android’s OS, porting games to a new visual medium and incorporating other factors like location awareness and real-time motion sensors. The glasses have yet to be named, and while no launch date has been revealed, they’re expected to hit stores by the end of the year. The price? Around the current cost of a smartphone.
Google is also said to be working on Siri-like voice controls for Google TV, leveraging the existing lineup of Android phones and tablets for a connected home entertainment system. Google’s not fond of patents, but anything competing directly with Apple’s proprietary technology will need some legal backing. Google filed for a patent for a voice-based remote control that would tie into Google TV, indicating the search giant’s plans for the connected home.
Android lures EA, game ratings board
Instead of talking directly to your TV, Android smartphones and tablets would power the interface for Google TV. This broadens the potential for apps and services to be built around Android’s version of Siri, enabling you to turn the TV on remotely and setting a channel on your way home from work. For gaming, this could present an opportunity for more media-rich gaming environments, better integrating mobile games with home-based technology.
While Google’s busy bringing sci-fi dreams into reality, Android’s gaming influence continues to grow. EA is working on a freemium title for Android called The Simpsons: Tapped Out. It will be a town-building game where you keep Springfield alive, playing from Homer’s perspective. Freemium titles based off popular brands have been an important initiative for EA as it faces competition in the social mobile space from rising stars like Rovio. In-app purchases will drive revenue for EA’s freemium releases, diversifying their mobile distribution channels.
In fact, Android’s platform has contributed to the tsunami of mobile games that are now plaguing ratings boards around the world, and they’re looking for an automated solution. The increasing pressure to apply the existing video game ratings system to mobile titles means an insurmountable amount of extra work for ratings boards. They’re hoping to manage the deluge by automating the system to a large extent, and tweaking the system with human intervention as needed.