When it emerged in 2010, Microsoft Kinect promised to turn your body into the video game controller. But while the technology brought new attention to the idea of gesture-based gameplay, Kinect often failed to capture your movements with true fidelity. And while Kinect 2 greatly improved on its predecessors, at least one company at CES thinks there's still plenty of room for improvement.
PrioVR came to CES to show off their full- and half-body game controller suits, which use motion-capture technology to render your gameplay with great accuracy. On February 14th the company will launch a Kickstarter to begin selling its devices to customers, in both half- and full-body versions. The half suit, which covers the upper body, will sell for around $270; the full-body suit will sell for "less than $400," the company says.
Strap in and start shooting
I strapped on the upper-body suit and played several rounds of a first-person shooter demo. Sensors on my head, arms, and chest relayed my movements to a nearby PC, and the results were rendered on screen in real time. When I looked up, the view scrolled smoothly to the sky; when I jerked my head down, the view came right down with it.
Accuracy is of prime importance in shooting games, and PrioVR offered some of the most accurate gesture-based gameplay I've seen to date. With a wave of my arm, I could move my gun across my entire field of vision, and pulling a trigger on an accompanying controller allowed me to begin firing in real time. At certain moments I struggled to orient myself, but for the most part I moved through the game world with ease.
A spokesman says that the controller will first be available on PCs, and the company hopes it to make it available for consoles down the road. Given the competitive issues at stake, that might not happen quickly. But in the meantime, PrioVR offers a good lesson that alternative efforts at gesture-based gaming may be more accurate than the ones that made it famous.