Smart TVs are rapidly altering the living room. We are no longer restricted to just live TV as internet-enabled devices now provide access to Over-The-Top and on-demand video services. Thanks to the internet, Smart TVs are rapidly becoming an all-in-one media platform for consumers. The gaming industry has recognised the powerful position this places them in.
The growth of these connected devices and the expansion of cloud services has introduced a wealth of content that was previously inaccessible. Platforms such as Netflix and Spotify have opened the gates to a wide range of streaming content. Dropbox grants you access to your personal media collection from anywhere in the world and cloud gaming services deliver console quality titles direct to your TV. Using a connected device, a stable internet connection is all that’s needed to watch the latest films, stream music or play games, and this represents a growing market for service providers and equipment manufacturers to benefit from.
TransGaming is one company that’s already benefiting from recent developments in the living room through its GameTree TV platform, which is capable of delivering gaming content to any internet-enabled device in the living room. Vikas Gupta, CEO and President at TransGaming believes this to be the future: “There’s no denying that the TV industry is currently undergoing a massive transformation and Smart TVs are proving to be a powerful force when it comes to delivering gaming content to consumers.” Instead of fighting this change, Vikas suggests that the games industry should capitalise upon it. “Many homes already have internet access in their living rooms and people are using web applications to access additional content and video on their Smart TVs. So why not games too?”
Capable of delivering both console quality and casual games without the need for additional hardware, cloud gaming services are already growing in popularity. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that the next generation of games consoles could well be the last. “More consumers are playing games on a range of devices today and offering high-quality video games on set-top boxes is a natural evolution today considering the emergence of technology”. To keep the consumer engaged, and to finalise the transition from dedicated games consoles, service providers need to adopt a standardised approach. Set-top boxes and Smart TVs should essentially become mini-computers, capable of performing a multitude of tasks. “This allows consumers to receive a fully integrated experience without having to switch devices. Furthermore, no device has the kind of market penetration greater than set-top boxes and televisions,” says Vikas.
Yet a standardised hardware approach is only one part of the challenge. Vikas feels that in order to deliver a next generation experience in the living room, through a next-generation set-top box, a new control paradigm will also be necessary. This goes hand-in-hand with the requirement for a new user interface to deliver a better experience for the consumer. “Users don’t want a PC experience on the TV, but they do want a solution that’s capable of performing similar tasks but in a more customized manner. The way in which this is accomplished is by adopting a new control technology that preserves the ‘lean back’ 10 foot environment of the living room.”
A direct pointing solution could resolve this problem, delivering a controller that’s suitable for gaming straight out of the box. As an additional benefit, if manufacturers of connected TVs or set-top boxes chose to deploy a controller that incorporates direct pointing technology, this would also mean that consumers would not need to purchase additional peripherals to play games on their TV. This is particularly advantageous to a casual gaming audience, providing a platform that may, in turn, increase the number of casual gamers and their associated spend within the market. This is something that Vikas hopes to deliver through TransGaming’s partnership with Philips. “By using uWand technology, we hope to create a next-generation input device that will pave the way for a vastly improved user experience.”
The gaming platform as we know it is changing. Following recent hardware developments you no longer need a dedicated games console to enjoy the latest releases. In today’s world, consumers are increasingly turning to the internet to deliver their gaming fix. Cloud gaming providers, such as TransGaming, represent a viable platform for delivering next-generation gaming content. The only requirement now is the need for a new, intuitive control paradigm.