AMD wants Star Trek Holodecks, but do you?

Does the future of gaming involve room-sized 3D experiences?

Star Trek game

If AMD researchers are right, immersive 3D gaming environments, like Holodecks in Star Trek, could be a reality within 10 to 15 years. But will you want one?

According to Universe Today, AMD is hard at work on heterogeneous system architectures, and believe that innovations in this field could lead to Holodeck-like systems. And apparently AMD are not alone in these ambitions, with companies like Microsoft also investing in this field.

The article goes on to list the various technical hurdles between where we are now and totally immersing 3G gaming, like processing power and efficient memory allocation; but it seems to dodge one very important question. Do we even want Holodecks at all?

The future?

Let's take a pessimist's view on what a Holodeck-ified future looks like.

  • Gaming has a bad track record with using real actors: does anyone remember the PC game Phatasmagoria? A multi-hour nightmare of porn-movie grade acting and terrible haircuts. Now imagine you have stepped into this world, and are tasked with engaging with these "people" in order to solve the mystery. Do you feel like sticking around?
  • P.T.S.D.: Thematically, gaming is a pretty dark place to be immersed in. If you're not dodging the unwelcome advances of ghouls and zombies, chances are you are knee-deep in bullet-ridden corpses on a battlefield in the middle of a scorching desert. If you think you are walking away from that experience without emotional scarring, you need to reconsider.
  • Highly addictive: Do you remember those stories about people dying while playing World of Warcraft continuously for days at a time? If the goal of Holodeck gaming is to make an even more immersive experience, expect even more people to find themselves willing captives of the virtual world.
  • If you think you look stupid playing Dance Central: then be prepared to have your neighbours calling the men in white jackets to take you away. You'll be jumping about, rolling on the ground and howling at the moon, all in the name of high scores. On the upside, at least it will help to create millions of new, hilarious Youtube videos.
  • Who has the room? I don't know about you, but I have no idea where I'd set up my Holodeck. Will I need to rent a second apartment? Should I give up the kids for adoption to reclaim their bedrooms? I like gaming as much as the next guy, but this is a serious commitment.

Perhaps we're not being adventurous enough, but when you add it up, we're more excited about the PS4 and Xbox 720 than we are about a walk-in holographic wardrobe with monsters lurking inside.