There are a few people in the video game industry that, when they speak, the rest of us listen. One of those individuals is none other than Valve’s Gabe Newell. The guy behind Half-Life and Steam, among other things, Newell is often regarded in the industry as a font of wisdom as well as a kind of soothsayer that can read the vapors of the current zeitgeist and offer up some kind of prediction as to where things are headed.
Heck, for proof positive of his influence in the industry, look no further than one of Valve’s more recent releases, Half-Life: Alyx. The virtual reality segment was long seen as an appendage to the broader field of gaming but Valve’s masterful foray into that niche with the aforementioned Alyx demonstrated not only how VR could be the next level for many of us but also what that potential future could look like. In other words, Valve basically showed us all why VR is worth it and why devs should go for it where that platform is concerned.
Now, Newell is giving the world some insights into what he thinks the future of gaming devices will be, whether it is a VR headset, PC, or console, and it seems to go somewhat beyond the experiences we have now in a fundamental way: Total immersion.
How is this going to be achieved? Through a technology called brain computer interfaces or BCIs. And, just as luck would have it, Valve happens to be working on just such a concept.
The device looks like a VR headset except for it will be able to interact directly with your brain, bypassing your eyes and ears, Newell explained to outlet 1 News according to The Gamer. Because of this, it can customize the experience to your specific personality and tastes based upon how you react.
“We’re working on an open source project so that everybody can have high-resolution [brain signal] read technologies built into headsets, in a bunch of different modalities…The rate at which we’re learning stuff is so fast that you don’t want to prematurely say, ‘OK, let’s just lock everything down and build a product and go through all the approval processes, when six months from now, we’ll have something that would have enabled a bunch of other features,” Newell said.
Gamers who played the much-beleagured Cyberpunk 2077 might recognize this concept. In that game, so-called “brain dances” are described by the denizens of Night City as being akin to next-level video games as well cinematic experiences. They are described as offering a full-sensory experience and, because of this, span all sorts of genres. There is a brief exploration during this aspect of it all during the game though the player never actually gets to experience the non-quest brain dances in the game. Maybe, if Valve has their way, we’ll all be able to experience them IRL.
What do you think of Valve’s proposed BCI technology? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Also, check out some of our other content here.