Neuro games are something new that can take gaming beyond the traditional violent, controller-driven game and give us wonderful user interfaces, brain-enhancing entertainment, and even fitness-improving applications. These kinds of games sound so great, but they’re being overhyped as well, considering how young the industry is.
The conference is just in its second year, but it drew more than 550 people. The industry has its own prophet and evangelist in Zach Lynch, founder of the conference and the man who wants neuro gaming to become a recognized category that combines games, brain research, sensors, and new kinds of user interfaces for computers and entertainment devices. Neuro games touch our nervous system in some way. The diverse category includes Lumosity’s brain-training games, which have been played by 60 million people; Microsoft’s Kinect body-sensing cameras; Emotiv’s brainwave-monitoring headsets; fitness games like Nintendo’s Wii Fit and Brain Age handheld titles; and even the Oculus Rift virtual reality goggles.
It might be a bit of a reach to say these one-of-a-kind games and technologies are related. But if we accept that they are, then the category is already huge. These neuro games could help gaming reach broader audiences and put the appreciation of gaming on the same level that people have for art forms like books and movies. At the same time, it’s still probably quite likely that an entrepreneur who tries to raise money for a neuro gaming project will get laughed out of the room. I don’t know if neuro games as envisioned will take off, but developments like it are critical for the reinvention of the games business, which has always been evolving.