The Age of Interactive Media

The Age of Interactive Media

The most interesting recent media ventures I see are Xbox Kinect, Siri on iPhone 4s and L. A. Noire. There is one thing in common. They are the new media technology that interacts with consumers. I think interactive media will be the future of the media industry.

First, let us talk about Xbox Kinect. The idea of full body gaming is just brilliant. It is a new way to play games. There is no controller required, because you are the controller. Kinect responds majorly to the gamer’s movement. It also recognizes simple voice orders such as, “play movies.” This system provides more interaction between the gamer and the game. It’s a bridge between virtual reality and the real world. I remember the first time I saw someone playing Fruit Ninja with Kinect, I was awed by the fluency of action translation this system. Imagine that in the future, we may play a game like Tron. How fascinating is that!

Voice recognition is the future of artificial intelligence technology. It is still a challenge for every computer science developer. Siri on iPhone 4s’ has descent voice recognition functions as long as you do not have a thick accent or talk too fast. The user can ask simple questions about the weather, your schedule, or how to bake cookies. It is interesting that a person can talk to a computer in such a human fashioned way. Siri is like the smart computer in the early Sci-Fi movies compared to Chomsky, which is one of the first Chatbots. Siri is definitely better, but its functions still need improvement. I think the invention of Siri is revolutionary. It brings the media technology closer to us and makes our lives easier.

I have to mention about L. A. Noire not only because it is such a good game, but also the technology it uses. The characters in L. A. Noire are based on the real actors. This game uses motion capture technology to capture real actors’ facial expression and actions. I believe this technology has been used in Avatar and other movies. Motion capture is quite common in game productions too. However, it is the first time I have ever heard any game using facial expression capture. In the game, I can ask a question and observe the facial expressions on the suspect’s face to decide whether he or she is guilty. Maybe it is because the complicated interactions in L. A. Noire, many gamers said Grand Theft Auto (which is a similar game, you play as a criminal instead of an detective) is better. For many reasons, the original game developer’s company has defunct after producing this game. I would still say L. A. Noire was a nice try.

Four years ago, my professor told us that this would be the age of mobile media technology. However, Moore’s law tells us, the media technology is constantly evolving. After four years, it is already the age of interactive media.