KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – January 5, 2023 Have you ever wanted to watch a movie but your partner, family member or housemate wants to keep dropping into new rounds of Fortnite? We’ve all been there. As the living room, and specifically the screen in it, became the place where families connected, it also emerged as the battleground for epic tug of wars between “my show’s on” and plenty more of “just one more game.”
Last year, a dedicated team of conjurers in Dell Technologies’ Experience Innovation studios broke the mold of the PC gaming experience by introducing Concept Nyx – an edge gaming concept that provides easy access to gaming libraries across multiple devices and screens so players can take their gaming session around the home effortlessly. This year, the team has taken their experimentation even further to explore how to make gaming libraries more accessible than ever.
One controller to rule them all
The keyboard and mouse have long sat at the heart of PC gaming – playing an integral role in real-time strategy or MMO (massively multiplayer online) games. Next, console-like controllers crept up next to PCs, offering simplicity and couch-friendly design but leaving much to be desired in terms of fine-tuned control. There had to be a better, reimagined controller designed around the modern gamer and their needs.
The first designs had custom attachments, a ton of buttons, sensors, and even created a modular design that could be taken apart and customised for each game. But what if the controller recognised the user from others at home as it gets launched right back, as soon as it is picked it up? Or what if the controller automatically optimised itself depending on the type of game being played?
Introducing the Concept Nyx Game Controller
This concept is one way for Dell to test out technologies to help coordinate with future experience roadmaps. The number of features that were squeezed into this prototype is impressive. At first glance, it might look like just another controller, but take a closer look and there are many unique features never before seen on a PC gaming controller.
Personalised settings and content could truly be at a user’s fingertips. A clever fingerprint reader could get the player into Guild Wars 2 in an instant, and stream to any other devices or screens by pointing the controller at them and pulling the trigger. There is even a voice command function as an alternative option.
When it comes to immersive game play, Dell is experimenting with haptics and self-adjusting variable resistance thumb sticks that can be tailored to gamers’ preferences or the specific game they are in. It may it be driving a tank, using a bow to hunt, or taking down robots – the thumb sticks and X-triggers could give gamers rich sensory feedback. There are also embedded PC gaming musts in this concept which includes shift buttons to allow for more front button options, innovative scroll wheels for easy navigation and weapon cycling, plus an intelligent touchpad for instant access to customisable controls – all of which would make it easier to stay out of the settings menu and stay in the game. Imagine being able to easily switch between weapons, armor, potions, and other inventory items with a quick flick down on the scroll wheels.
It is sometimes tough to keep up with the different gaming controls across different games, so Dell paired the controller with fully customisable intelligent on-screen controls and overlays to show the button mapping. With this feature, there is no need to guess if the X-button is mapped to shields or grenades.
No More Tug of War
Remember that fight between the gamer and show binger? The white flag might be flown in the future, because the built-in Wi-Fi connection directly to Concept Nyx means everyone in the household could easily multitask and view messaging apps, emails, movies or games on intuitive split-screens. What’s even better – connect one (or a couple of) wireless headsets and game on half of the screen while the other half is used to watch a movie – or better yet, play two games!
There is also an improved and simplified the Concept Nyx dashboard so that users could easily see what their friends are playing and access games quickly. Dell is experimenting with new shared experiences which could bring families and friends closer together, giving people the flexibility to game with and around others in the same room. For families, Dell wants future gaming experiences to be shared and celebrated between parents and the next generation of gamers. To help with this, Dell developed some innovative parental tools and dashboards that would allow parents to observe, participate and interact with their children.
All play and no work? AI solutions for hybrid life
And finally, ever feel the need to be in two places at once? Imagine multitasking, perhaps getting work done with one eye on a game or watching a movie, and then the phone rings. What if, in addition to the split screen capabilities, a user could activate an Artificial Intelligence (AI) assistant to listen in for their name or pick up on when someone asks them a question so that they don’t miss anything important? And what if there are captions added to the call so users could skim for extra context when called up to respond?
It may sound like one of most audacious explorations to date, but the integration of work and play is real, so Dell is going to continue exploring ways AI could help seamlessly transition between tasks and spaces.
What next for Concept Nyx?
Gaming leads the way for immersive experiences and these explorations have been the blueprint for the development of Concept Nyx’s intelligent edge ecosystem beyond gaming. As gamers themselves, Dell is stoked to push the boundaries of intuitive gaming experiences and hope to bring the learnings from this journey to future portfolios. Watch out for further updates!