AM Net this morning has linked to a document discussing some new patents that Namco has won and as always, with new patents comes the speculation as we ponder about new content which they could be working on.
According to the article, 28 patents total have been won in the following fields (bad translation is Google’s fault): “Technical field related to 9 Stereoscopic vision Toyama” (so work on 3D monitors, which Konami Japan has been pushing hard with titles like Metal Gear Arcade and Road Fighters 3D); “6 gaming technology utilizing motion-recognition technology” (motion-recognition doesn’t sound like motion bases but seems to imply technology along the lines of the Wii or Kinect); “3 game-related technology for network communication” (proprietary network setups like e-Amusement, ALL.Net or CoinUp is my guess); “4 technical areas related to how to work with game characters” (augmented reality in some form).
After some searching around a link provided in the document,I found a page which lists the 28 patents Namco was awarded which you should be able to pull up here. I tried searching for Namco Bandai (using Japanese characters) in the advanced search and it came up with the patents talking about toys interacting with video game characters, toys that sense odors, a music game based upon player movement(pictured to the upper right), the stereoscopic patents are listed numbers 19-27 on the page I link to above, with several the titles mentioning something about methods for stereoscopic birds-eye views(from one picture I found, it looks like they have developed a way to get the stereoscopic effect on a cocktail style cabinet – imagine that for Pac-Man Battle Royale!) and even a stereoscopic application with a prize machine(also pictured, click to enlarge). When we will see these technologies make their debut
in arcades is anyone’s guess – sometimes patents are issued for a technology that never sees the light of day publicly or they use it for something else completely. Either way it’s safe to say that Namco is looking into stereoscopic 3D for their amusement content. At this rate I am thinking that 2011 will be the year of the stereoscopic game in arcades, with the technology finding it’s footing this year with titles like Disney’s 3D Ping Pong and Metal Gear Arcade. Of course, I think that will only be the case if they can produce screens which don’t require glasses and don’t require the player to stand in a very specific spot to get the effect right.