Eye-tracking invades triple-A, blockbuster gaming.
Tobii Tech announced today that Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed: Rogue will be the first major game to use Tobii Tech’s eye-tracking technology. That means players will be able to use their own eyes to control characters in the PC version in addition to a mouse and keyboard — bringing a new way to control a game in an era where people are experimenting with how we interact with our entertainment, such as Oculus VR’s Rift virtual reality headset or Microsoft’s new augmented reality HoloLens goggles.
Tobii bills eye-tracking as the next evolution of human-computer user interfaces. It enables players to gaze at a part of the screen in order to control a part of the game. The SteelSeries Sentry will ship with Assassin’s Creed: Rogue as a bundle for the first 5,000 units later this year.
Stockholm-based Tobii has been working on the technology for a long time, and it has cut a deal with peripheral maker SteelSeries to release an eye-tracking platform for the PC. And Assassin’s Creed: Rogue is the first game to take advantage of that platform.
“Eye tracking is such a natural way to interact with a game and creates tons of potential opportunities for gameplay immersion,” said Corneliu Vasiliu, the producer at Ubisoft’s Kiev studio. “We are one of the first to integrate this technology in a video game, and the first to implement eye tracking as a gameplay input in a game of that scale — providing Assassin’s Creed: Rogue gamers with an entirely new, complementary input to the keyboard and mouse. We recognized the power of eye tracking early and were quick to work with Tobii to create a completely new way to experience a game — we are really proud of the result with Assassin’s Creed: Rogue.”
“This is only the beginning of eye-tracking in gaming. It is an important step in Tobii’s long term vision to create a strong ecosystem of games and apps that use eye tracking to create even more immersive experiences”, said Oscar Werner, president of Tobii Tech (a division of Tobii) in a statement.
Tobii said it won’t get direct revenue from Ubisoft in this deal, but it will get indirect business value as the game will help the eye-tracking technology take off.
You can use the SteelSeries Sentry with a traditional keyboard and mouse. But wherever the player gazes, so does Rogue’s main character, Shay Patrick Cormac. For example, as the player looks to the left of screen, Cormac will look to the left of his environment, and the scene camera will pan to accommodate the exploration of this new visual territory, creating an “Infinite Screen” experience.
No longer will the size of a PC player’s screen restrict how you orient Cormac’s field of view and further explore the environment; the game auto-pans intuitively and in harmony with the player, Tobii said. People can revert to their traditional mouse control by simply grabbing it. Assassin’s Creed: Rogue will also pause and resume automatically if the player looks away from the screen and back again, preventing disruptions in gameplay.