A new patent filed by Apple (s aapl) called “Interactive Gaming with Co-Located, Networked Direction and Location Aware Devices” describes new possibilities for iPhone gaming in the real world. Essentially, the tech described would use players’ iPhones to recreate what amounts to a game of laser tag.
Readers who attended a birthday party for teenagers in either the 1980s or 90s will recall laser tag, a game in which participants wore light-sensitive vests that registered a hit when shot by “laser” guns wielded by other players. The new Apple patent describes a very similar system, in which iPhones could be used as both “gun” and “vest,” using the GPS, gyroscope and accelerometer built-in to the device to fire shots and detect those fired by others.
Accessory makers will be pleased to know that Apple is thinking of them, too, as it describes using things like a gun grip handle to augment the experience. Imagine the kind of cheap plastic add-on market the Wii remote currently enjoys invading Apple Store shelves.
Before you dismiss this idea outright, remember that Apple has made games in the past, including Texas Hold’em for the iPhone. It’s serious enough about the potential behind this idea to actually go to the trouble of securing a patent for it. Plus, the idea combines augmented reality, geolocation, and shows off just about all of the iPhone’s fancy internal sensors, so from a marketing perspective, it’s a solid concept.
Honestly, if this ever sees the light of day, I’ll be all over it. Think about the Game Center achievements and how much fun it could be if Apple included random location-based matchmaking. Would you play if Apple made something like this available?
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