The vest is initially aimed at gamers who play first-person shooter games on their computer, Ombrellaro says, but he hopes to expand the technology across all types of game content and player demographics. Future plans for the vest include modifying it to simulate G-forces for use in racing or flying games. The gaming vest is designed for ages 10 and up, and it’s expected to withstand two to three years of continuous use.
“There’s definitely a market for products like this,” says David Riley, senior PR manager for entertainment, software, and toys for market-research firm NPD Group. Riley notes that from January to September of this year, more than $1 billion worth of gaming accessories have been sold. The 3rd Space vest, he says, is a high-end accessory along the lines of special gaming chairs that provide enhanced sound and rumble effects, and it should be popular with a similar audience. Riley says that the vest may have additional appeal because it is portable and could be easily taken over to a friend’s house. Although he thinks that gamers looking for a realistic experience will like the vest, he warns that the company will have to be careful about how it presents the vest, or risk trouble from special-interest groups.
The vest will be on the market in late November. For $189, customers will be able to purchase the device along with a special copy of Activision’s Call of Duty II, enabled for use with the vest, as well as Incursion, an original title from TN Games. The company plans to release patches, which can be downloaded from the TN Games website, enabling the device to work with Doom 3, Quake 3, and Quake 4. Software developers can integrate their own games with the vest by downloading a tool from TN Games.