A new game for Google Glass claiming to be “the first Google Glass game” (it’s not, Battleship clone got demoed earlier this month) offers a look at what kind of things might be possible for developers building these kinds of experiences on Google’s unique wearable platform. In a word, it looks simple, and is reminiscent of the old, very basic games that would come pre-installed on your black and white Nokia feature phone like Snake.
The game looks diverting enough, but it also looks painfully dated and questions abound about its real-world playability. Others have suggested a voice-operated mechanism for controlling in-game action on Glass, but any kind of consistent and repeated use of voice is not going to work in any situation where there are other human beings around. Not to mention that people play casual games on commutes precisely because they help them look away from fellow travellers. These games seem primed to result in at least a few uncomfortably long, unconscious locked gazes.
Google Glass gaming might be appealing if it were an AR-layered experience like a mix between Oculus Rift and Google’s own Egress game. But as a way to basically play checkers in the corner of your field of view while you’re doing your best to also be a real functioning human? I have my doubts. Everyone I’ve talked to about mobile gaming on the development side seems to have found that people still like to plunk down at home or at work for dedicated gaming sessions; I doubt very much they’re going to want to do that while staring off into space at less-than-impressive visuals.
Now, gaming as a use case for Google Glass is hardly fully explored at this stage, but what I’ve seen isn’t something that offers a lot of promise. There are a lot of question marks around Glass, but its viability as a gaming platform (a key factor in determining mobile success) might be the biggest of them all right now.