We’ve all done it, at some point. We’ve all become so frustrated, so annoyed, so utterly ticked off at a game that it’s goaded us into a fit. Most of us last did this in high school, although frustrated yelling at the screen is, naturally, a long-standing tradition. Still, gamer rage is a problem, and Sam Matson is designing a headset to teach gamers to not take things so seriously.
The headset, which is little more than a prototype at this point, uses an optical pulse sensor tied to an Xbox 360 to track your heart rate. Rage levels are tied fairly directly to elevated heart rate, so in order to keep people from flying off the handle, you use the headset tied to a special game. Essentially, the real game is to keep your cool, according to Matson:
When the user’s heart rate is calm and steady, the game is easier. There are fewer enemies and they are weaker. If the user’s heart rate escalates, the game will become increasingly difficult. More enemies will come and they’ll be harder to kill.
So, essentially, the more angry you get at the game, the more the game actively screws with you? Matson is trolling, right?
Nope, he’s using a game situation to practically apply stress reduction. The simple fact of the matter, and I speak from personal experience on this one, is that video games are a superb way to find out that you’ve got a more general rage problem. People who are more tightly wound are more likely to freak out at, well, anything, and more likely to need to learn coping strategies. It’s a lot easier to learn how to calm down playing a consequence-free game than it is to have to learn that kind of thing in real time.
Currently, it’s not clear when or if Immersion will arrive on consoles, but it really should. Not just because gamers could collectively stand to calm down, but come on, a game dictated by your heart rate sounds absolutely killer.
via Sam Matson