Collision Conference made its way to Toronto and gathered an audience of over 25,000 this past week. The first of three Collision Conferences to be held in the city sought to line the show floor of the Enercare Centre with startups and tech behemoths and celebrate the growing tech industry.
Collision Conference held panels and insightful keynotes for participants. PlayStation’s Sean Layden held a keynote where he advised up-and-coming entrepreneurs. Layden reflected on the freedom Sucker Punch Productions and Media Molecule had when approaching the development of their new games. Unifying everything under the tech umbrella, a large focus of Collision was placed on fintech, security, medicine, and business development. Unfortunately, the gaming industry took a bit of a back seat. However, I was able to scout out a few booths and find some startups that are trying to make an impact in games.
Collision Conference’s opening night invited selected startups to stand on center stage and discuss their company. Horizon Blockchain Games was one of them and introduced the audience to Arcadeum and SkyWeaver. Simply put, Arcadeum is gameifying cryptocurrency. Dota 2, Second Life, TF2, and have supported and encouraged their communities to exchange in-game items for real-life cash. Arcadeum is the next step by becoming an open source, open economy ecosystem revolving around their debut title, SkyWeaver.
SkyWeaver is an online trading card game, similar to Dota 2, built for blockchain. Users can battle, trade cards, and ultimately earn crypto through the platform. Skyweaver will ultimately be driven by community engagement. The game is built so that the community’s actions and decisions affect the marketplace. Winning or losing will reflect on how rare a specific card becomes. The rarer a card is, the more it becomes a commodity on the marketplace.
Skyweaver is currently in its beta stage, and more information can be found on their site.
Based out of Hong Kong, EmotAI is focusing on improving the performance of professional gamers. EmotAI is a headband that tracks performance and gives the users feedback. The wearable measures brainwaves and the player’s heart rate over the course of a few matches to pinpoint moments where focus and response time suffered. The development team behind EmotAI want to provide professional gamers with data and solutions to help set benchmarks for them to work towards improving the weak points. The headband is currently in its alpha-phase of development. The team encourages interested parties to sign up for a newsletter for more information about the official launch date and specific pricing.
Pong is back, but not in a conventional way. Unis Technology has licensed the Atari Pong classic and made it into a coffee table for your home. Originally designed as a Kickstarter project in 2017, Unis Technology took over in 2018 and begun handling development and distribution. Atari Pong Coffee Table has AI software built in so players can go against a computer or head-to-head versus another player. Atari Pong Coffee Table utilizes a spin-wheel and magnets to maneuver the paddles. A mechanized arm and magnet attachment moves the “ball” according to the proper trajectory. All-in-all It’s very by-the-book of what you can expect from Pong.
Keeping in mind that this is a wooden coffee table that will likely sit in a living room, the controls can be covered by small panels. The large tempered glass top will protect any possible water damage. LED lights run along the screen for some flair, and the table comes with Bluetooth speakers built in and six USB charging ports.
Atari Pong Coffee Table is selling for $2999 USD. More information can be found on their website.
While it seems like everyone has their eyes on cloud gaming, Edmonton startup Digi Play is taking a slightly different approach to playing games through the cloud. Although it is still in the alpha-phase, Digi Play has a working build of a free-to-play browser-powered gaming service. Unlike the competition, Digi Play is focusing on letting players relive the old-school gaming days with titles like Doom 3, Tomb Raider (1996) and Tetris.
While the catalogue at this point in development is small, Digi Play has designed a great UI for the platform. It was very reminiscent of the current Netflix design and easy to navigate. For a demo, I was able to try out an FPS called Brawlbots. Keeping in mind how far along Digi Play is in development, the experienced slowdown and stuttering were expected. Digi Play is aware of the issues that need fixing and is focused on nailing the requirement of only 10mb/s for use.
Digi Play is also designed to run on low-end PCs and a number of browsers including Chrome, Safari, and Microsoft Edge. This grassroots company is taking a book from mobile games and offering each title for free with baked in ads. The idea is that ads will roll upon each death as to not directly interfere with gameplay.
Digi Play is allowing interested users to sign up for closed alpha access. More information can be found on their website.
Collision Conference will continue to be held in Toronto for two more years. Paddy Cosgrave, the founder of Web Summit accomplished quite a bit last week. Gathering the different corners of the world to showcase advancements in tech is quite a feat. While Collision Conference is not solely dedicated to the gaming industry, I do hope we continue to see visionaries and inspired startups in the industry come forward each year.