The Steam giant explains the process of building its debut hardware.
By Andrew Goldfarb
Valve isn’t getting into the hardware business lightly. While some consider the Steam giant’s sudden interest in physical boxes to be out of left field, the company has actually been researching the hardware space for nearly two years, making strategic hires and preparing itself for longer than most consumers realize. With its own OS in the works and the recent news that Steam has 65 million accounts, the house that Gabe Newell built is set to make a big splash when it enters the hardware race sometime next year.
Google’s Niantic Labs has been experimenting with an augmented-reality, mobile-only game for nearly a year. And now the experience, Ingress, is about to formally launch on Dec. 14.
Augmented-reality games overlay a fictional virtual environment atop the real world, and Ingress is a step into a future where augmented reality is common and playable across wearable computing devices like Google Glass. Ingress links to real-world meetup events that are then reflected back in the game’s fiction.
Try not to roll your eyes when Ben Unsworth trots out the buzzword ‘gamification.’ He means it in a much more literal way than most anyone else.
Developers have typically use the term to refer to slapping some reward badges on, say, a fitness app. But for Mr. Unsworth and Globacore, his Toronto-based interactive shop, gamification looks more like taking a classic side-scrolling game from the 80s, and – like TRON, without Jeff Bridges – sucking players in and depositing them in a pixilated world, come to life in three dimensions.