We might be a bit biased, but it’s safe to say we’re comfortable in our belief that customizability is king. In the computing world, the ability to modify the way we engage tends to come from the landscapes of input and visibility. Both of these aspects can make or break an experience, and they’re areas that the mass market tends to underappreciate. Adopting a central example, we want to explore how it is that the more streamlined forms of interactive entertainment are often the ones that best demonstrate the viability of doing something different.
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The Flexibility of a Simple Experience
A piece of entertainment being simple to control and understand at a glance in no way limits its overall appeal and potential. This idea is perfectly illustrated by online casinos, which offer a huge range of streamlined options and experiences. Systems here range from daily free spins for bonus features like deposit matches to complete games with advanced special features. No matter what the player chooses to engage with, these services and the titles they host are easy to play and navigate and are playable over practically every platform with a browser, from desktops to tablets, and even smart TVs. They also demonstrate a perfect proving ground for new systems to test the waters.
Input on Every System
Human ingenuity can produce a million different ideas when it comes to input design for digital devices, with varied degrees of success. For the most complex form of input, the general layout for keyboards has been used on typewriters with QWERTY since 1874, and computer mice first arrived with computers in the 1960s. While great for complex work tasks, the complexities of modern keyboards are often overkill for some forms of entertainment like online casino games.
Addressing this concern has sometimes meant full mouse control, again perfectly illustrated by online casino gaming. At the far end of the control spectrum are touch screens on mobiles, which, while simple, still work perfectly with simple games. Even the coming generation of hand tracking for Meta’s VR could work well here, but between this space are a range of strange options and bizarre attempted reinventions.
One of our personal favorites is the Alphagrip iGrip, an attempt to fuse an ergonomic keyboard with a gaming controller. The result looks like it should be equipped as standard in the space shuttle. Others projects like computer mice with more than a dozen buttons have similarly tested what users want, and while all these systems are useful for online casino-level complexities, their general use is too niche to let them really take off.
A Matter of Looks
The ability to see is a fairly well-understood component of most interactive entertainment, and it’s an area where upgrades are constantly pushing what is possible. Crucial to the simplicity example is if a system can provide an upgrade to an experience as streamlined as online casino games, it could offer benefits for other uses too. On traditional screens, we’ve pushed far enough that further upgrades aren’t really necessary. Sure, we can offer more than 60 FPS and 4K resolutions, but, past these points, most users experience major diminishing returns. This applies to online casino games, it applies to movies, and it applies to gaming too.
More important for the coming generation is the potential of VR and AR. These new technologies could provide a new level of interaction, either in creating entire virtual environments or by inserting virtual components in a real environment. This tech can be especially demanding, making software like online casino games, which aren’t too processor-intensive, illustrate strong potential paths of exploration.
To succeed in the world of input and display you need to walk before you can run, and simple interactive entertainment can serve as a perfect proving ground in this regard. While history and the contemporary market are flooded with experiments and failures, being able to try new things is still important. Sometimes the market doesn’t see the next big thing coming, so testing the waters in input and display devices will always be key.