HP has gaming handheld tech in the works

"Mscape" could turn handheld units in to gaming devices; games using the technology can use GPS, motion sensitivity to "get gamers off the couch."

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SAN FRANCISCO--The handheld gaming space may be getting a little more crowded, but not from a company one would expect. Hewlett-Packard is working on gaming technology that could let players use their surroundings as a backdrop for an immersive game.

The company unveiled a commercial for its gaming prototype "Mscape" in San Francisco. The ad featured a number of young hipster gamers roaming San Francisco while playing a game on Mscape that used cues from their environment as triggers to unlock new levels or bonuses. "We want to get kids off the couch," Rahul Sood, chief technology officer of HP's gaming division, said during a presentation here. HP did not say if they were working on hardware themselves.

Details were sketchy, but HP appears to be taking a cue from the response to Nintendo's Wii gaming console, which is built around a motion sensor in the controller and requires its users to be more active. Mscape is definitely still a prototype, but Sood said he's "really pleased with our progress so far." The tagline for the gaming handheld? "Your world is the playing field. Get in the game."

Sood was far cagier about HP's own plans for such a handheld in an interview after the presentation. "But the company is developing the basic technology that would allow handhelds to turn into gaming devices and hopes to license it far and wide," he said.

"HP Labs has been working on the Mscape technology for about two years," said Patrick Goddi, a company researcher in Palo Alto, Calif. "It's the underlying layer that game developers could use to take advantage of sensors like GPS (global positioning system) or accelerometers like the ones in the Wii controller," he said.

The early concept involves a handheld and a series of small sensors that a game organizer could lay out around a city or park. Those sensors would trigger certain events in the game, like a bonus level or an attack by the bad guys, based on a small demonstration of the concept here.

Discussion

169 comments
chrisdojo
chrisdojo

sounds like it will be a failed project to me.

smoothn00dle
smoothn00dle

This have M$ fingerprint all over it. Let me guess is running some type of Windows0S. This is to counter PSP-PS3 remote control feature. PSP & DS are hard to beat. Would that be another nokia? By the way, nokia still talk about games, what are they up to?

Jaeme
Jaeme

It would seem to limit your market to just people who live in larger centers because of the need for external sensors. What company would want to limit their audience? Otherwise your stuck playing a newer form of geocacheing, which is hardly a mainstream passtime.

Somini
Somini

Could this really turn out well? Even MS haven't dared to take up the competition with Nintendo and Sony on the handheld market yet, so why should HP be able to compete?

dr_jashugan
dr_jashugan

I hope this isn't a Big Brother device for control over the masses. :|

V-Nine
V-Nine

Oh great, now I'll have to travel the world for real just to unlock a stage....pain in the buns but cool.

nemes1s3000
nemes1s3000

Can't wait to see what it looks like.

KyanMehwulfe
KyanMehwulfe

HP getting into gaming is not as unusual as it sounds. Their creative lead is Rahul Sood who was given the position after his own Voodoo PCs was aqquired by HP. Still, despite their strong leadership and computer R&D, this comes off as a little too far fetched. Not exactly the 'tornado' I was expecting based on the allusions in Sood's blog.

xJasminex
xJasminex

Lol, HP getting in to the gaming industry?

JustQuest
JustQuest

This will definately not go well with localization even when it is implemented how will the rest of the world be able to play especially if you live where no body can hear you scream. I'd say this is like 5-6 yrs down the track.

KaotixGTX
KaotixGTX

Hey hey hey now. I'm tired of all this N-Gage bashing. It did SOMETHING right: It gave us something to laugh at.

Talgrath
Talgrath

As others has said, this isn't going to work. Shaking a portable gaming device? Not a good idea, one slip and you could break the device. Certain things only being unlockable by going to physical locations in the world? All well and good if you live in a metropolis where these unlockable locations happen to be, but what if you live in the middle of nowhere? People in small towns like playing video games too, and having to visit a metropolis in order to unlock certain content means you're getting less bang for your buck than those in a big city.

MJ22see
MJ22see

Ditto theKSMM, only if they somehow limited use to inside automobiles. From there hopefully people are smart enough to not actually let it affect their driving.

theKSMM
theKSMM

Running around town shaking and gyrating a handheld while trying to focus on its screen sounds like a recipe for disaster to me.

akira3333
akira3333

im sure were all board with the same ,old same old,port 2d game or 3d,im sure we can rome the world in a virtual linked up gps game which will be awsome,just let your technology go.. weve got a whole world to platy with ,thats mapped out with GPS,but with no players...so come on connect!!!!!

akira3333
akira3333

"stick withh your psp" or is it your portable ps1 ha...ha

mpeg3s
mpeg3s

Look at the Ngage and Gizmondo. Unless they can get MS or Sega it will NEVER fly.

billybob7897
billybob7897

I'm all for motion sensing (love the Wii), but would it work on a portable system? Wouldn't it be hard to watch the screen while moving the device? But I'll stay open-minded. HP is a solid company.

alz619
alz619

wow this sounds so cool HP making a new a hand-held console it will be great as we all know they make excellent computers.

SemiMaster
SemiMaster

Not sure we need another handheld on the market right now...

Proman84
Proman84

What HP didn't mention is the last part of their mission statement. The whole thing reads "We want to get kids off the couch... and into our beds". A noble goal, I say :). In all seriousness, I think that it's about time someone challenged Nintendo DS.

subrosian
subrosian

Lame. I'm going to put this with LARPing on the "cool meter" - can you really see yourself running around with a bunch of other people in a park, holding a gameboy while you look for the right spot so you can fight Bowser? Get real. The best thing about portables is the ability to play where you want to play - why would I want to limit my gaming to specific physical locations? This has all the appeal of lasertag - y'know, it sounds cool but then it's $10 a game, you can't run, the sensor vests don't work right, and you get beat by cheaters who cover their sensors, or little kids who are too short to get shot.

sandy4v
sandy4v

I'll stick with my PSP

GonzoGuy
GonzoGuy

Definitely sounds interesting. We need more data gamespot. Do we have a video of this commercial anywhere?

akira3333
akira3333

this looks a fairly similar project to the bogus Nintendo ON ..revolution video,if not the same idea..??

rustoo
rustoo

It is a great thing that more and more firms like HP are going into gaming. This will bring about newer ideas as well as decrease the prices of gaming hardware and software. :)

zsc4
zsc4

This seem interesting..I wonder how it will work and play :?

GFofgaming
GFofgaming

Looks good, but its takes more than technology to enter a gaming market: 1: Third party support 2: Name brand (HP not known for its gaming) 3: God Ads And Lots of other stuff.

motang
motang

Interesting...I wonder if it is going to be like the N-Gage

matrixman2k
matrixman2k

Don't know it sound like a long shot... good idea although not practical. Imagine a poor game that doesn't even interest our obise kids to get off their backsides... But then anythings worth trying, even if it's gonna cost the world to implement all the sensors and so on.

Pete5506
Pete5506

Wow just stop with the handhelds

thisisjosh
thisisjosh

it's not a damn handheld or console people. read, learn. be smart.

DelayStation
DelayStation

sounds 50x cooler than the wii, ps3, and 360 duct taped together. my assumptions is it's all lies and it'll be nothing as cool as they're labeling it as.

ogretroll123
ogretroll123

This is obviously going to fail. Good job HP.

Ryo_Kensen
Ryo_Kensen

If they do it right, this could be a really cool console. If they do it wrong, it'll be the new N-Gage.

comthitnuong
comthitnuong

I think there are enough handheld items on the market nowadays.

RedG375
RedG375

Sounds a little strange... I don't know if I'm buying it. I do like how they're thinking outside of the box though.

MegaJynx
MegaJynx

I smell another N-Gage/Gizmodo, it's just like any other handheld to go against Nintendo, its look nice on paper... but fails because life isn't paper. I mean, I really like the concept, but it won't do well, Nintendo simply has a death-grip on the entire mobile gaming market, even Sony couldn't do much about it except scratch it.

gamemaster_ca
gamemaster_ca

Well put Hewlett-Packard on the List of with Sega, Sony, NEC, Atari, Bandai, SNK, Wattra, Nokita, Tapwave, Tiger Electronics, Tiger Tellimatics and Others as Failed Contenders In the Handheld Market.

Elyoshi
Elyoshi

Its been tried, its been failed, already not to confident that this won't blow grits. Also, safty seems like it would be an issue for something like this. Gold coins in front of semi trucks come in mind. Thats a BIG game over. No bueno.

SNIPER-CAZ
SNIPER-CAZ

where i live the they can put sensors in the cars, extra levels can be huge corporations, bonus points - trash objects, and bad guys as dirty bums laying around. With hp caring so much about the enviroment , where i live it will be safe again to roam around downtown all thanks to the kids ... good job hp putting those kids to works and taking them off there safe couchesv!

Neoyamaneko
Neoyamaneko

The article should have been renamed to "HP has joined the Suicide Club". :roll:

Mardil
Mardil

It doesn't sound too cool. What happens if I live in a small town? Will that make my gaming experience less enjoyable?

_equivocal_
_equivocal_

"...a series of small sensors that a game organizer could lay out around a city or park." After buying all this stuff would you really feel comfortable laying your equipment out in a public place? With GPS you wouldn't have to I guess, but who knows how much that would cost...

PyroSean30
PyroSean30

lol i can see it now, kids are getting kidnapped/mugged because the game told them to go to downtown

Kiaininja
Kiaininja

If price is good and they can get a good amount of games that uses the device in fun ways, than maybe it's worth getting. They should even use independent game developers just to get enough games and make it more attractive to consumers.