Virtuex Omni – Shut Up and Take my Money!

Ever wanted to know what it feels like to really be in a video game? Virtuix has teamed up with the folks over at Oculus Rift to develop the Omni. The Omni is essentially a gaming platform that allows the user to move around freely whilst exploring a 3D environment and when combined with the Oculus rift VR head set it creates a very immersive experience. Not quite a Star Trek holodeck, but the next best thing!

Currently the Omni is fundraising on Kickstarter and has raised 650 K against a 150 K target with 45 days of fundraising left. The idea that you can actually physically move around in a game, walking, running, jumping, crouching and turning as necessary has obviously caught gamers’ imaginations. It also has great potential as a fitness platform allowing users to run through a variety of beautiful environments without ever leaving the comfort of their homes.

The technology consists of a circular concave base with carefully designed grooves that fit studs on the shoes that come with the Omni. These enable the users feet to slip over the surface of the Omni but still have good grip in the grooves enabling stability. A support belt with flanges that extend down to the base of the Omni provides further safety.

The technology works with Xbox Kinect and will support accelerometer and magnetometer solutions. Given that one of the features of XBox One will be a much more sophisticated version of Kinetic, Omni will probably be able to support an even wider range of actions at launch than the current prototypes. Currently the projected retail price will be somewhere between $499 and $599.

Plug and Play? Console gaming in your pocket.

iPhone and Android apps have really redefined the hold that the big gaming studios have on the video games market with smaller studios and independent developers releasing multi-million euro titles (http://www.businessinsider.com/most-profitable-games-app-annie-2013-2?op=1).

The Gamestick is a nifty little idea from Playjam and could start to redefine the console game market by providing an easily accessible console platform for indy developers. It’s the size of a large USB stick and plugs directly into the HDMI port on the back of your TV. One charge is enough to play 40 hours of games and with 8GB on board and 32GB expansions a decent number of games can be stored.

Sporting an ARM A9 dualcore processor with a Mali 400 GPU common in low end tablets, the Gamestick will be a great platform for the sort of high-end tablet games that are grossing well on iOS and Android platforms.

Whilst games won’t have the sort of rich complexity and photorealistic graphics of AAA console games, they will probably be low cost or Freemium which will be a refreshing change from the forty pound titles common on XBox and Playstation. Gamestick is definitely a product to watch with interest.