As for players who will - hopefully - be encountering Emotiv's hardware and software packages, Breen is aware of the "gimmick" status of the similarly innovative Wii controller in the minds of some of his audience. However, he doesn't think they'll run into the same resistance, he says. "The nature of what we're doing is providing a method ... for players to become more immersed in the material that they're already interested in. When you think about the trends, there's a long-term trend toward realism and toward more complete experience in the game world. When you think about your expressions and your feelings being part of the scene, this is really providing an avenue for that relationship."
Instead of typing slash commands or emoticons, "now you're just smiling. And when you're excited, your character demonstrates excitement by just changing his body language, or the music changes. It's just a reinforcement that that's how you feel, increasing tension the way films do. Or, in the case of the cognitive actions where you're imagining pushing an object with your mind, you're really mimicking the things characters are doing in the game. Whether that's magic or telekinesis, it's fantasy fulfillment." He thinks taking out the middle man and taking out, say, button presses, "which are not very good representations of the actions they represent," would make for a "much more fulfilling experience."
However, Emotiv isn't seeking to change things completely, he says. "I imagine that the device is a supplement to the joystick. It's not trying to replace it. The conscious actions, the nature of them is not as immediate as the joystick control, but it provides a level of satisfaction that's different. ... It's a different type of experience." And one that may completely change the way we play.
[em]Shannon Drake is a Contributing Editor for The Escapist and changed his name when he became a citizen. It used to be Merkw