Google Play launches an "Enhanced Gameplay" collection highlighting haptic feedback games

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Through haptic feedback, Immersion can recreate the feeling of rain, a ball bouncing around on the screen, or even mimic how it feels to drive a car around the track

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Games on Android phones are about to add a new dimension of gameplay. A San Jose, CA company called Immersion has created a way to add a layer of touch to your favorite mobile games, making it feel as though you’re actually there. Through haptic feedback, the company can recreate the feeling of rain or a ball bouncing around on the screen, and even mimic how it feels to drive a car around the track.

Those games will be featured in a new section of Google Play launching today called "Enhanced Gameplay," where Google highlights some of the best games that interact with a player on a haptic level.

Haptics use the motor built into things like your mobile phone to create small vibrations that can add a level of realism to something like a movie or mobile game. In your smartphone, its technology triggers the actuator motor in the device right when you perform the triggering function, adding a new dimension to the gameplay experience.

Immersion has worked with Rovio, Ubisoft and others to incorporate its technology into mobile games. Developers can implement the technology through the company’s SDK, which has a number of built-in effects, or work with Immersion directly on creating a custom experience for their game. In a game like Angry Birds Friends, for instance, the technology allows you to feel the rubber band being pulled back on the slingshot and then feel blocks crashing down when you hit a structure.

In a game like Angry Birds, Immersion's technology allows you to feel the rubber band being pulled back on the slingshot

Games in the Enhanced Gameplay collection include:

  • Angry Birds Friends by Rovio Entertainment Ltd.
  • Archery Tournament and Basketball Tournament by Fat Bat Studios
  • Clouds & Sheep and Ninja Hero Cats by HandyGames
  • Drag Racing and Nitro Nation Stories by Creative Mobile
  • Fishing Superstars: Season 3 by GAMEVIL Inc
  • Hero Siege by Panic Art Studios
  • Orbital Free by bitforge Ltd.
  • Solo Air by Coding Caveman
  • The Spookening by Modesty
  • Trials Frontier by Redlynx, a Ubisoft studio

We had the opportunity to demo the technology earlier this week, and it’s pretty impressive. One demo had six different types of balls, and you could switch between them and see how each felt as it bounced around the screen. There was a perceptible difference between the feeling of a basketball and a marble. Whats more, you could even tell where the virtual ball was on the screen when you looked away, an impressive feat given that the motor producing the vibrations is located at the top of the phone.

Android users can check out some of the games using Immersion's technology now in Google Play.

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