Qualcomm have a serious plan in action to make mobile gaming even better and more profitable. First is the Augmented Reality SDK they will release soon – free of charge along with a 200,000 US dollar developers’ competition.
The second part is even better and extends beyond AR games – the key word is interoperability. Specifically, make the games on several different platforms, connected in a peer-to-peer network for multiplayer gaming that is not limited to single platform…
Working closely with Mattel (a major toy manufacturer – think, Fischer-Price, Disney toys, Barbie, Scrabble, and Matchbox), Qualcomm is looking to give Augmented Reality (AR) games a huge boost by releasing a free SDK for developers – and as a proof-of-concept, they created an AR Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots game.
The SDK will be available for public download this autumn and not long after that a developer challenge will start – 125,000 US dollars for first place should lure in devs to try and make the best game or app that makes the best use of Qualcomm’s AR technology. Second and third place get $50,000 and $25,000 respectively.
As for the Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em game, that will remain a proof-of concept for the foreseeable future. There’s a humorous demo video of the game running on the Nexus One, but Mattel says that the game must work across several platforms to be financially viable.
This is where the second part of the plan comes in – a peer-to-peer multiplayer platform that uses Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to link together several people on several different platforms.
There’s a funny demo video for that too – a Nokia N900, a Nexus One and a laptop play a game over both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. The connection is seamless – the Nexus One is hooked over Bluetooth, while the Nokia N900 uses Wi-Fi.
I don’t know when this tech will reach the market, but when it does it will remove a major obstacle to mobile multiplayer gaming – not having the same phone as your friend that just challenged you to a virtual robot fight.