Virtual and Augmented Reality

E3 2011 Hopes and Expectations

E3 2011 Hopes and Expectations 150 150 GAMESFWD

Once again the biggest video game trade show of the year is almost upon us. E3 2011, taking place June 7-9, 2011 in Los Angeles, CA promises to be one of the most interesting in some time. I’m expecting lots of details on Project Café from Nintendo, a date and price for the NGP from Sony and eagerly anticipate seeing where Microsoft will take the Kinect platform.

I thought I’d take a moment to go over what I expect to see and what I hope to see from “the big three” at this year’s expo and some of the more prevalent rumours floating about. In general terms of content relevant to Game Forward, I’m expecting Augmented Reality (AR) to be big this year and for Kinect for Xbox 360 and PlayStation Move titles to dominate their respective system’s first party lineups.

The PlayStation brand has taken a bit of a beating in the past few months, though E3 2011 offers a great chance for Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) to regain consumer confidence.

After an apology for the PlayStation Network security breach that took place in April 2011, I’d like to think that SCE will detail (as much as they can at least) what sort of steps they’ve taken since then to ensure our user and financial data is properly secured.

That unpleasantness is dealt with, I’m expecting a content-rich presentation from SCE, with lots of new details about its Next Generation Portable (NGP)—now rumoured to be called PlayStation Vita—including a near finalized launch date and expected price range.

Some new features being speculated are head tracking and PlayStation Move compatibility, though unless it is meant to be used as an ultra-portable console the latter seems impractical and unlikely. I’m looking for more details about its supposed PSN software compatibility.

In addition to the first party titles like Uncharted: Golden Abyss and Wipeout 2048 that have begun to appear in previews and the Call of Duty title mentioned when the NGP was announced, I expect to see plenty of third party content, including one or two launch window blockbusters and console launch mainstays like Madden NFL and Ridge Racer.

Uncharted: Golden Abyss Shows Off the Power of PlayStation VitaOn the PS3 front, I’m expecting a PlayStation Move-heavy presentation including first party titles like Uncharted 3 and third party efforts like Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 and Resident Evil 6. Beyond that, I’m hoping to see an updated version of Sorcery, a game they showed in 2010 and frankly anything else that isn’t a shooter.

SCE always has a ton of great first party content to showcase, both retail and for PSN and I’m sure that on of their montages will get me excited to see what they have on tap for the coming year. They almost always have a big third party exclusive to show off too, I’d guess the next Quantum Dream game, a resurfacing of Agent or maybe even the long-rumoured Final Fantasy VII remake.

Microsoft has been riding a wave of market-topping sales in recent months thanks to the somewhat surprising success of its Kinect motion sensing control system. From the looks of things, they intend on keeping it that way.

There are a veritable ton of Kinect-related rumours, including dozens of software titles appearing through trademarks or located on unpublished web pages by Internet-savvy gamers. Notable titles I’d expect to see include Dance Central 2Star Wars Kinect, a Gears of War rail shooter and Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, which appears to be a controller-Kinect hybrid title.

Mass Effect 3 also appears to incorporate Kinect according to information spotted on EA’s website.

I’m hoping to see more of these hybrid titles. Issuing hand signals and voice commands or having your head tracked are great ways to create immersion. I’m also waiting to see what Indie developers do with Kinect when it’s integrated into the XNA design platform and hoping to see more health and education-style apps appear on the Indie Games marketplace.

There are rumours of a Kinect-integrated redesign for the Xbox 360 fueled by recent sales and gift card offers and even one of a TV with an Xbox 360 and Kinect Built right in.

The Xbox 360 is also rumoured to be getting some new features such as cloud-based save files, full stereoscopic 3D support and that we will see free-to-play games introduced to the Xbox LIVE Marketplace. A NeoGAF member also claims to have overheard some developers discussing object scanning and interactive books.

On the traditional software side there have been rumblings of a Halo: Combat Evolved remake, a Forza-branded open world racer and Microsoft has yet to announce the full Summer of Arcade lineup for this year.

Project Café, the supposed codename of the next home console from Nintendo will undoubtedly be the focus of the company’s E3 media briefing on June 6 at 9:00 AM PDT, at least from a fan and media perspective. The console is said to be HD capable, have a touch screen-enabled controller that still has buttons and it is even rumoured that you will be able to stream content directly to the controller without needing a TV.

3D Classics Appear to be More than ROM DumpsEverything I’ve seen about Project Café seems a bit crazy in that it doesn’t appear to simply be a “Wii HD” or “Wii 2” and almost steers away from what Wii established, so I think it’s all possible coming from Nintendo. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a release date of spring 2012, a few key franchises’ Project Café iterations announced and we may even see The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword get “Twilight Princess’d” and see a dual release on both the new console and Wii; it’s original platform.

I’m not expecting much else in terms of Wii software announced, possibly a Kirby title or the long-hinted-at Pikmin 3 in addition to a new Wii Series title or two and possibly a couple additions to the Nintendo Selects line.

I’d like to see the Vitality Sensor make a return, whether for Wii, Project Café or even the 3DS. Such a a peripheral would not only lend to new gameplay experiences, but could be applied to fitness and rehabilitation programs.

For the 3DS, I’m expecting to get dates for Super Mario 3DSPaper Mario 3 and Kid Icarus from Nintendo and to see the next wave of first party titles announced, possibly even the next Pokémon title.

They recently unveiled the Pokédex 3D app, which will be made available as a free download for the 3DS when the Nintendo eShop launches on June 6 and makes use of the StreetPass data sharing system and AR functions.

3D Classics: Excitebike will also be a free download until July 7, giving us a taste of what to expect from the series. This remake will have two racing modes and the ability to save up to six created tracks.

Other titles to be available at the eShop launch include the Game Boy classics Super Mario Land and Alleyway, as well as Mega Man Legends 3: Prototype Edition from Capcom. I for one can’t wait to get my hands on the 3DS virtual console lineup and to see what 3DSWare has to offer and I’m probably more excited about that than even the new console. Nintendo says that the eShop will be updated every Thursday.

The system update will also allow users to transfer their DSiWare purchases and access the 3DS web browser, which can be used while playing software, but does not support Adobe Flash. Future updates will include a 3D short form video sharing application.

E3 2011 should make for an interesting week and that’s even without talking about the glut of third party content expected from giants like EA, Activision, Konami, Capcom, Ubisoft and Square-Enix. The next year or two should have a ton of great experiences to keep gamers of all kinds busy.

New technology also offers new opportunities, as well as challenges to those in the fields of accessibility, health, serious games and augmented reality.



Since its inception in 2008, Game Forward has been collecting links related to Serious Games, Health & Fitness Games, Educational Games, Game Accessibility and Virtual Worlds. This article will serve as a link repository that will be updated and edited on a monthly basis.

We have separated our links into three categories; Education and Research, Groups and Organizations and Hardware and Software Developers. If you feel that a link to your website should be included by Game Forward, please leave a comment below or send a detailed e-mail to links[at]gamefwd[dot]org. Please note that we are not interested in participating in advertising-style link exchanges and have set up these articles as a resource for people interested in the subjects we cover. Thank you for your co-operation.

7-128 Software – 7-128 Software delivers affordable, family friendly, computer games that are “Simply Entertainment” to everyone, regardless of special challenges. This mainstream casual computer game company makes many of its games accessible.

Apps in My Pocket Ltd – Apps in My Pocket Ltd applications are designed to blend the best educational practice with the 21st century magic of the iPhone.

Arkadium – Arkadium creates innovative game solutions for consumer brands, ad agencies, online gamers, and any company looking to expand their presence.
Blue Lightning Labs    Educational iPhone app developer.

Benjamin J. Heckendorn – Creative console and hardware moder.

Bent 360: Media Lab Inc. – A non-traditional player among digital agencies, Bent 360 is focused on developing “branded entertainment” content and technologies for brands, giving advertisers a way to engage audiences actively through entertainment, rather than interrupting their entertainment with messages.

Bigben Interactive – Bigben Interactive had grown into Europe’s leading manufacturer and distributor of video game console accessories and a major player in the distribution of video game software.

Brain Center International – Brain Center International is a scientific society specializing in the field of neuroscience. Building on very recent scientific discoveries, our experts in the fields of psychology, medicine and computer science have developed the NeuroActive brain training program featuring interactive multimedia software containing fun exercises whose benefits are optimized via artificial intelligence.

BrandGames – BrandGames specializes in leveraging computer game technology in business communications. They combine compelling corporate storytelling and highly immersive simulations to enhance organizational performance and individual development.

BreakAway, Ltd. – BreakAway, Ltd. is a leading developer of entertainment games and game-based technology products. They create entertainment experiences that enable people to master skills and concepts in virtual worlds, and transfer this expertise to develop tools that provide game-based solutions for real world problems.

Brightmind LABS – BrightMind LABS deliver therapy to children by fusing immersive computer gaming principles with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

BTS – BTS develops flexible discovery learning platforms that allow for rapid and cost effective customization to meet clients’ varied strategic learning objectives.

CogniFit – Based on its unique approach and continuing success, CogniFit is quickly becoming a world leader in developing a wide variety of powerful and effective brain exercise programs that promote cognitive health and lifetime brain fitness.

Concentric Sky – Concentric Sky offers web development and consulting services with a focus on emerging technologies such as Social Media and the iPhone. From simple websites to integrated mobile applications, they deliver innovative solutions that exceed your expectations – not your budget.

Consafe Logistics – Consafe Logistics is one of Europe’s leading suppliers of mobile logistics solutions to customers using logistics to improve their competitiveness. They develop, implement and support solutions throughout the whole supply chain, mobile IT solutions, consulting within logistics and process improvements.

Corporation Pop – Coportation Pop is a design company that crafts effective solutions that deliver the unexpected and challenge the predictable. They do this irrespective of media – from beautifully crafted books to immersive virtual world communities.

Datel – Datel has established its reputation for excellence by developing videogame peripherals that are both innovative and creative.

Digitalmill – Digitalmill is a consulting and development firm focusing on efforts that take advantage of modern-day videogame design, technologies, and related resources in innovative ways.

DreamBox Learning – With the global reach of the web and the power of software, DreamBox Learning delivers the effectiveness of great teachers to benefit any student, anytime, anywhere.

eDimensional – eDimensional has grown rapidly and emerged as the leading manufacturer and worldwide distributor of cutting-edge gaming accessories.

Emotiv Systems – Emotiv Systems has developed a technology that utterly transforms the way we interact with computers: the Emotiv EPOC™ technology and interface.

Enabling Devices – A company dedicated to developing affordable learning and assistive devices to help people of all ages with disabling conditions.

Escape Hatch Entertainment – Escape Hatch Entertainment, LLC is a collective devoted to utilizing an effective team of extremely skilled developers to collaboratively create the industry’s most innovative and successful products.

Evil Controllers – Evil Controllers specializes in custom modded Xbox 360 controllers designed to enhance game play for a variety of different game genres.The company takes advantage of the fact that computers are programmable, coming up with modified video game controllers that have the power to turn single shot and semi-automatic weapons into full automatic weapons. Through innovative design and ergonomic upgrades tailored for specific types of games, Evil Controllers provides gamers with custom controllers that best fit their needs.

Exergame Fitness USA – Exergame Fitness is the global leader in Exergaming products and medically driven programming.

FiatLux Imaging – FiatLux Imaging is the only free advanced visualization software for CT and MRI imaging data that runs virtually on any modern platform.

Fonix Speech – Fonix Speech offers speech technology solutions for mobile/wireless devices; interactive electronic games, toys and appliances; computer telephony systems; the assistive market and vehicle telematics. Fonix Speech provides developers and manufacturers with cost-effective speech solutions to enhance consumer devices and systems.

Forterra Systems Inc. – Forterra’s private, secure virtual worlds allow you to plan, rehearse and train in a safe realistic environment. You make your mistakes in the virtual world, so you can avoid them in the real one.

Game Production Services – Game Production Services creates serious games and immersive mixed-reality environments for education, training, and marketing.
HopeLab    HopeLab is a nonprofit organization that combines rigorous research with innovative solutions to improve the health and quality of life of young people with chronic illness.

g.tec – Medical and electrical engineering firm, makers of the intendiX, a personal Brain-Computer Interface Speller.

Gamercize – Gamercize is the maker of a patented interaction system which provides users with the best of both worlds, a workout that is second to none in the exergaming world and the very best of video game entertainment, available for Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 with the included GZ Pro-Sport and games controller.

Humana Games for Health – At Humana Games, playing video games keeps your mind and body fit. Come into our world and see how we’re helping people of all ages play their way to better health. Get your game on!

ImpactGames – ImpactGames is a world renowned pioneer in creating compelling interactive experiences around current events. Their aim is to partner with and enable organizations to change the way people consume information and understand the world around them.

Information in Place – Information in Place, Inc. (IIPI) focuses on developing learning environments and capturing expert knowledge and delivery of information in highly mobile environments. IIPI is a leader in developing context-aware (e.g., location, environmental conditions, skill level) mobile technologies and augmented reality solutions.

InteraXon – InteraXon has years of experience creating and implementing brainwave-controlled computing technology and applications as well as an ongoing awareness of state-of-the-art advances in the field.

Invensys Process Systems – Invensys is a global technology group, supplying solutions, software, consultancy and equipment to monitor, control and automate processes in a wide range of environments. From oil refineries to power stations, from railways to domestic appliances, they help their customers to optimise their processes and improve their performance.

iTECH Fitness – iTECH Fitness Inc. designs, develops, manufactures, and markets the fitness, recreation, and entertainment industries most comprehensive active gaming technologies, products, and service suite.

Kogito Interactive – Kogito Interactive creates games and simulations where learners engage in simulated conversations with virtual characters and develop their ability to manage others and communicate.

KY Enterprises – KY Enterprises makes adaptive equipment for quadriplegics and others who have lost the ability to use their hands due to illness or accident.

Linden Lab – Linden Lab created a revolutionary new form of shared experience, where individuals jointly inhabit a 3D landscape and build the world around them. Today this experience, known as the Second Life world, has a rapidly growing population of Residents from around the globe, who are creating and inhabiting a virtual world of their own design.

LiveWires Design – LiveWires Design Ltd, are the developers of a game that teaches children how to surf the Internet safely.

MediTouch – Meditouch has developed optical and image processing technology that determines the position and speed of motion of single or multijoints. Together with occupational, physical therapy and rehabilitation clinical know how Meditouch develops rehabilitation platforms that use active exercises and biofeedback to improve lower and upper extremity function and aid in rehabilitation.

Motion Fitness – By making fitness interactive, fun and rewarding we change the dynamics and now have fitness as an addictive physically played game.  Motion Fitness combines the best in Xergaming products.

NeuroSky – NeuroSky is the worldwide leader in bringing biosensor technology to the consumer mass market.

PLX Devices – Makers of the XWave, a neurofeedback controller for the iOS platform.

Next View Software – Next View Software is an innovative leader in the supply chain software market. Next View’s team has been delivering leading edge software solutions and benefits to customers in the global supply chain marketplace for over 20 years.

Nortel web.alive – web.alive is a virtual world software application that provides an enterprise ready, network secured virtual world platform for collaboration, assisted E-Commerce and virtual learning & training applications.

NorthSide Inc – North Side Inc. is developing software to support conversation in unrestricted English between people and machines. They are committed to supporting natural, unrestricted English interaction in real-time.

OpenSimulator – OpenSimulator is a 3D Application Server. It can be used to create a virtual environment (or world) which can be accessed through a variety of clients, on multiple protocols.

P.I. Engineering – P.I. Engineering designs and manufactures rugged, reliable input hardware for computers.

Past Perfect Productions – Past Perfect Productions reconstructs worldwide archaelogical and historical sites using scientific research and cutting-edge virtual reality techniques, producing 3D real-time content, film clips, animations with CGI characters that breathe life back into the scenes.

Persuasive Games – Games communicate differently than other media; they not only deliver messages, but also simulate experiences. Persuasive Games’s software influence players to take action through gameplay. While often thought to be just a leisure activity, games can also become rhetorical tools.

PIXELearning – PIXELearning is a world-leading provider of immersive learning simulations and ‘Serious Games’ for organisational learning and development, business education and marketing communications.

PlayGen – PlayGen are a leading serious games and simulations development studio providing highly flexible technology, content and training.

Project Whitecard – Project Whitecard specializes in 3D and interactive web-based projects, including websites, blogs, audio, video, games and RSS.

Psychic Bunny – Psychic Bunny is a hybrid media studio specializing in design and content for education and entertainment.

Rumarka – Educational iPhone app developer.

Serious Games Interactive – Serious Games Interactive is an award-winning, research-based developer of games, simulations and virtual worlds. They offer a unique blend of competences within games, learning and storytelling.

Skinput – A method that allows the body to be appropriated for finger input using a novel, non-invasive, wearable bio-acoustic sensor.

SmartBrain Technologies – SmartBrain Technologies is a growing, innovative, and caring company dedicated to providing quality technology products to help children and adults make the most of their potential. They develop state of the art “interactive devices” in the areas of health, learning, and performance enhancement to create the most advanced and powerful “brain exercise” system available.

Softkinetic – Softkinetic is the leader in natural interfaces that transform the way people interact with the digital world. They provide the most advanced software platform for building immersive, transparent and intuitive user experiences within the fields of Interactive Digital Entertainment, Serious Games, Interactive Marketing and Consumer Electronics.

Software Kids – Software Kids is committed to creating industry leading educational software that bridges the gam between the power and excitement of multimedia technology and the fundamentals of curriculum based learning for K-12.

Spongelab Interactive – Spongelab Interactive is a leader in advancing the integration of cutting edge technologies for teaching and learning purposes. Their mission is to educate students in the sciences by building content-rich immersive teaching tools designed around discovery-based learning that are accessible to educators and learners at school, at home and in the general public.

Tabula Digita – Tabula Digita is the company behind the award-winning DimensionM educational video game series for math. Tabula Digita is focused on delivering innovative and effective technology-based educational tools for elementary, middle and high school students.

The PEREGRINE – Makers of the Gaming Glove: faster, deadlier, more comfortable, and more precise than any keyboard. A remarkably innovative, human-machine interface that would allow any user to truly become the game.

Thornton Media – Thornton Media, Inc. creates custom hi-tech tools to help save endangered indigenous languages. We are Native-owned and have worked with over 100 American Indian tribes and Canadian First Nations since 1995. TMI is the only language tool company in the world devoted to Native languages.

TruSim – TruSim creates effective, immersive and engaging training games using high quality 3D games techniques and technologies. Their games are designed to be accessible and easy to use as well as being stimulating and challenging.

Virtual Heroes – Virtual Heroes creates simulations for learning, serious games and virtual worlds for the healthcare, federal systems and commercial markets.

VSTEP – VSTEP is the leading European developer of simulators and virtual training software. Using interactive 3D technology from the computer gaming industry, VSTEP creates training applications and games that allow people to build their skills in a practical and cost effective way.

Waterloo Labs – Developed the Eye Mario system which lets users control Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) software using only eye movements.

WILL interactive – WILL has become a force in the interactive training market. WILL Interactive is the pioneer for a new genre of education and entertainment media known as the virtual experience.

XOS Digital Inc. – XOS Digital, Inc. is the leading provider of digital technology and media management solutions to collegiate and professional sports organizations in the U.S. It provides its clientele with advanced digital technology solutions to enhance organization performance and image to improve the management and monetization of their digital media assets.