Mass Audience Participation Games

Enabled by technologies in image processing such as optical flow, a company in Ottawa has been releasing mass-interaction games under the CrowdWave brand. Check out some demos here.

How do they do it?

One method is Optical Flow detection using a natural feature identification system like SIFT or SURF. Here’s a demo video of on person being tracked realtime.

Aside from the technicals, what is unique here is that the technology matches the venue so well. Crowd unity is what it’s all about; this catalyzes the crowd and captures that classic impression that fans influences the game by making it really tangible. Nintendo did the same thing with Wii control – all it took was for someone to notice the movements people make when holding a controller are arm movements, not just fine thumb/finder movements. Scaling the interface to match the audience is always good practice.


One thought on “Mass Audience Participation Games

  1. Thanks for taking the time to write about CrowdWave. You really nailed the appeal – “crowd unity”. The reason people go to a game as opposed to watching on TV is because they want to be part of it. You also identified a key correlation in the interface – big crowd, big movements. There’s something weird about text messaging to play a mass participation game – it’s a small activity. Texting takes you out of the crowd and focuses you inward – into the tiny world of a tiny screen. CrowdWave is designed to do the opposite – to take you out of yourself; to connect you to a bigger experience.

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