Your thoughts about augmented reality in video games

  (Edited: )

Presentation

Hello everyone, a quick intro about myself before I go to the topic. I am currently doing my Master degree with a major in Optical Physics (engineering). Obviously, since I post on this forum, I'm a huge video gaming fan (MMO, RPG, RTS mainly, I stick to my computer, and haven't tried a lot of other platforms). Until recently, I did not imagine that my personal passion and my studies could somehow lead to something uniting both. However, with the arrival of a lot of new technologies involving of course a lot of optics, this may take a whole new turn.

What is Augmented reality?

So, let's talk a bit more about what Augmented Reality, or Virtual Reality is. They are two different concepts, but often used interchangeably. The idea itself is to create a link between reality and a virtual world, so as to immerse one in virtuality (say in video games), or to use incorporate virtual artifacts into reality. There are more and more examples of this in many different fields, especially those in which the investments are big, like defense or avionics. You can find for example Heads-Up-Display (HUD), used in planes, to project information on the windscreen and help the pilot, or in some new cars as a fancy gadget ; glasses or contact lenses which add information to what someone can see, using some detection techniques that our own eye is not able to do naturally. There are hundreds of examples, but the most known, and maybe relevant because it's quite new, is the Google Glass. You can find a lot of info about that on the net, I won't talk too much about it here. 

AR in video games

Now back to video games. In the last 10 years there has been a lot of improvements of technology, reuslting in e.g. better movement detection and the possiblity for the Wii to exist, but also direct detection of the player's movements, which I believe was used quite a lot by Playstation (I would be glad if people who know more than me could contribute to this :) ). More recently was the creation of Eye-Tracking. Eye-tracking can be used outside of the gaming field, for instance to help disabled people : it relies on the principle of "tracking" one' gaze and being able to see a spot where a person's looking on a screen or another surface. In the gaming world, it's used to move/do any action in your game without using mouse or keyboard, and hence increasing the speed at which you can play and maybe the feeling of immersion. This was tested in Starcraft2 by a few players on stream, and also by Kaelaris during Swarm Launch, if I recall. 

Now, I don't want to spam you with too much info, so here's the purpose of this topic : 

What do YOU think about Augmented Reality and its use in video games? Is it going too far? Is it useful? Is it the next technological revolution to transform the way we live?

Please share experiences or thoughts/ideas/examples that you can come up with, I'm really interested in that ! :)

References/additional information, I will try to update with the various things people share here :
http://www.google.com/glass/start/ (Google Glass)
http://gaming.mirametrix.com/  (Eye Tracker)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augmented_reality (Generalities about AR)
http://www.naturalpoint.com/trackir/02-products/product-videos.html (info and videos about Track-IR)

Demo of IllumiRoom (increased experience with Xbox)

Track-IR demo (recognizing head movements)