Why 4D Matters: The Next Level of Gaming Immersion

3D gaming is still on the cutting edge of new technology, but the combination of stable hardware in the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive for high end consumers and the Samsung Gear VR along with Google Cardboard for entry level users has brought VR to mainstream audiences.

On the other hand, 4D is starting to make its way into professional as well as experimental consumer level setups as the growing adaption rate of VR headsets paves the way for body vibration, scent and other sensory based augmentation to work its way into game development. Theatres have started implementing technologies such as D-BOX rumbling seats and 4DX for fog, wind, motion, moisture and other effects that build on the revolutionary Terminator 2 3-D show at Universal Studios.

These evolutions of the sensory simulation experience for gamers create an elevated sense of immersion, simulating touch and smell in a way that games haven’t attempted since the short lived CES attempts at Smell-O-Vision from cartridge loaded emitters. I thought about this after experiencing a vivid demo of FATED: The Silent Oath at PAX East 2016 on a custom rig with PC connected horse reins (!), fans, a mist machine and a rumble pack synchronized to the game. On a show floor packed with splashy booths and elaborate stages, FATED’s immersion really helped the game stand out and attract audience buzz with the uniqueness of its 4D setup.

4D peripherals and deluxe editions of games are valuable sources of income for game creators, and the extended sensory experiences are also exciting new ways to participate in games and interactive experiences.

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