If there is one industry that strives on bridging the gap between technology and humans to come up with a surrealistic experience, it is the gaming industry. Know to receive a lot of flak for its inability to contribute anything to the human body (except a lot of laziness and promoting violence), the gaming industry has come a long way to prove that while fun, gaming also helps hone motor skills, develop strategic thinking, and contribute to the overall wellness of a gamer. As far as physical movement is concerned, the gaming industry has gotten it right with games that make you want to get up from your couch and move. For the emotional spectrum, it seems like gaming has made some headway with emotion-aware gaming.

What is emotion-aware gaming?

Suppose you are playing a scary game with plenty of twists that make your heart race. The game cannot detect your fear and enhance your gaming experience by making you fight a bit more. As far as communication between you and your game is concerned, it is strictly one-way, with the game doing what you ask it to do. With emotion-aware gaming, things are about to change. The game notices your fear, stress, or anxiety and changes the gameplay to make it harder for you to finish it. It stimulates all those negative feelings and lets you make smart decisions while feeling them, thereby preparing you to face real-world situations in a calm way. After all, if you can cross that stressful situation in a game, you can breeze through it in real life.


How does it work?

For now, Affectiva, a company formed out of MIT Media Lab, is leading this new trend in the gaming industry. It has designed a software that will scan your face for stress indicators by using a simple webcam. It also has other gadgets like a heart-rate monitor and a pulse-detector that will monitor your feelings while you play the game and the game becomes tougher or easier based on your emotion. If you are stressed and react negatively to the situation in the game, the game becomes tougher. If you are cool and level-headed, the game get easier.


The first game that the company has released based on this technology is called Nevermind. It is a psychological thriller that changes its course according to how you feel. The homepage of Affectiva reads, ”What if we could play games that read our emotions and adapt in real-time?” That sentence itself is enough to send a few chills down your spine and spiral into an imagination of a game consuming you into its world! (Ok I’m kidding).

Trailer of Nevermind

How does it help?

With emotion-aware gaming, the gaming industry gets real-time emotional insights about each player which will help them create better games that merge reality and the digital world. The more involved you become with a game, the better it prepares you to face any kind of situation in the real world. As for multiplayer gaming, by reading the emotions of players you are playing against, you can strategize better and go for the goal than blindly hitting a few buttons.

Emotion-aware gaming is futuristic and I can’t wait to see how well the gaming industry makes use of this new concept.

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