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A stellar week for gamers

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The game industry saw four different but equally compelling visions of the future this week thanks to Apple, Intel, and a cloud-gaming conference. Nintendo also announced at its event in New York that it would launch its upcoming Wii U game console on Nov. 18. Rarely do we get to see so many visions of gaming side-by-side. What a week! What a diverse industry, moving in so many directions at once. All of the news will be good for gamers, but it remains to be seen whose game business will prosper the most.

Intel kicked it off with a talk about "perceptual computing," which adds voice commands, face recognition, and gesture controls to the traditional touchscreens, mice, and keyboards as input devices for the personal computer. Perceptual computing enables new kinds of games that you can play up close with your laptop without ever touching it. The technology creates a whole suite of control mechanisms that game developers can exploit however they wish starting next year. Instead of doing silly things in front of our game consoles, we'll be able to do them in front of our Ultrabooks (thin and powerful laptops). By next year, these technologies should be staples across many laptop models. And after Windows 8 arrives on Oct. 26, touchscreens should become much more common, creating a better market for touchscreen games.

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