uWand opens up new demographics for casual games

In July the uWand team travelled to Seattle to attend our first games conference, Casual Connect. The Casual Connect conference is a landmark event each year with a focus on casual games like Angry Birds, Plants vs. Zombies and Farmville.

We collaborated with Intel and Transgaming to demonstrate casual games that can run straight on your TV or set top box without a games console. The prototype TV remotes we used were industrial design ‘blanks’ we’ve built so that the manufacturers who use uWand can create their own designs. We demoed several games including Plants vs. Zombies and Garage Inc using the GameTree TV system.

The obvious buzz this year was around the increase in social interaction as part of casual gaming. But it’s becoming increasingly clear that not all social gaming is equal. As Marc Nieuwhof from our team tweeted: “The social gaming needs of a Black Ops clan is very different to a Grandma playing with her grandchildren.”
The videos of the presentations are available online.

We particularly enjoyed the panel discussion of casual gaming on the Smart TV with Anthony Johnson, Paul Nowosad and Sevan Kessissian. The panel discussed the growth of the Smart TV gaming space, the importance of social media and the role of carriers in delivering cloud based gaming to televisions.

The comments from game developers who tried out remotes enabled with the uWand technology were that: uWand on a TV remote seems to open up new demographics for casual games. They were excited about using their existing games (often created for mobile phones) in a new environment such as television (without having to develop a separate application for a particular games console).

Many consumers do not identify themselves as ‘gamers’ and therefore might not have purchased a dedicated games console in the past. The Smart TV revolution will open casual gaming up to these new markets and new demographics who can now interact directly on their TVs.

We are looking forward to seeing what the next twelve months holds for casual gaming on Smart TVs before the next Casual Connect comes around.

You can watch many of the presentations from the event on the Casual Connect video page website including Rise of the Smart TV for Casual Gaming. Watch the video from 9 minutes through to see a small shout-out for the importance of control devices in casual gaming.


About Navin Natoewal, General Manager Philips uWand

Navin Natoewal is General Manager of the Philips uWand team. uWand is a direct pointing and gesture control technology for remote controls. uWand offers fluent 3D gesture control and direct pointing capabilities with the same intuitiveness as a multi-touch screen. uWand, a result of 80 man-years of research and development, can be implemented in remote controls and interact with multiple electronic devices such as PCs, TVs, set-top boxes, DVD players and game consoles. Users control the devices simply by pointing in the appropriate direction or making specific movements in all three dimensions. For more information please visit http://www.uwand.com
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