Fellow gamers, it's hard to imagine that it has been over 6 years now since I posted about a system I created called "Xbox Input Machine"! My goal back then was to be able to play Halo with a Wiimote Ė which I accomplished. But, my feeling of accomplishment was short lived when I realized it wasn't straight forward to make aiming feel natural. In fact, the more I looked at it the more I wondered if it was even possible to solve at all! Game makers clearly put in a lot of aim assist to make console shooters playable using a thumb stick. Despite this, I made a video and published what I had and didn't think much more of it. Next thing I knew it showed up on Engadget, generated loads of interest, and the XIM Project was born. I had to decide on the set of principles
that would drive this project. Provide the highest-precision aiming of any device of its kind
: There have been many adapters of this kind over the years. Early on I knew I had to solve the aiming problem and it would be very hard. This had to be XIM's first principle Ė everything else was secondary. The result of that focus produced our "secret sauce" that we call Smart Translators. A sophisticated system that heavily utilizes Computer Vision for their creation, Smart Translators provide the consistent 1-to-1 aiming foundation XIM is built upon. The result of this effort has been evident Ė XIM is the aiming quality standard
. It's common to find people comparing competitors' devices to XIM (including our competitors themselves!). Since this is so important to us and we have such significant domain expertise in the area, we do keep a close eye on our competitors and their mouse translation tech. In all cases, they continue to be at least 5 years behind us. Simple to use
: This is so important for a device of this kind Ė especially for getting your aim to feel right. Subjecting the gamer to an endless process of adjusting "knobs" and graphs where they can never achieve the feel they want results in a very unhappy gamer. XIM solves this with its Smart Translator technology. Just one setting for your mouse is all you need for optimal aiming results in every game you play: Sensitivity. It's as simple as that. However, it's not just about the number
of settings the user has to deal with, but, also how
they adjust those settings. Making changes to settings should be as least disruptive to gameplay experience as possible. For example, required a wired PC connection for use at all times should be avoided. Allow the gamer to choose their hardware
: Another principle of XIM is to allow the gamer to game with their existing gaming hardware. This includes use of wired headsets through the controller so that gamers don't have to spend extra money on buying wireless hardware. Take steps toward the living room
: Consoles are living room experiences. XIM will take opportunities to enable mouse (and "mouse-like") gaming from the couch. This includes support for wireless hand-held devices. It will also take opportunities to enable "surface-free" mouse-like gaming. We are very interested in adapting the upcoming Steam Controller for console gaming. XIM is in a unique position with its Smart Translators to make a device like that work very well on consoles. Enable gamers with disabilities
: Console developers make little to no attempt in enabling gaming for the disabled community. XIM will bridge that gap by enabling these gamers to use their PC-based accessibility aides for gaming. Some of my proudest moments on XIM have been when I receive mail from gamers with a disabilities expressing their gratitude for giving them the ability to finally game on a console with their friends.
With next-gen consoles comes a brand new next-gen XIM that adheres to all these principles I've outlined. Orbital and I have been hard at work building our proudest achievement yet: XIM4
- Next-gen console support as well as current-gen in a single device
- A new real-time wireless configuration experience through smart phones, tablets, and PCs
- New advanced configuration features for hard-core gamers
- Cross-over controller support
- Best-in-class precision mouse translation
Here is a video going over XIM4 features in more detail:
XIM has always been a device in which its features are influenced and shaped by our very large and active community. Because we greatly value that feedback, we will be opening the XIM4 Beta to all existing XIM Edge users. All major features will be available, but, the number of Configs that can be stored will be lower due to limitations of XIM Edge. Unfortunately, this beta will not be extended to XIM3 owners due to significant platform differences between XIM3 and XIM4. Sorry about that.
The video showed wireless configuration using an Android device. At this stage of development, we support Android 2.3.3 (Gingerbread) and above as well as PCs with Bluetooth adapters (XIM4 will ship with a Bluetooth USB adapter in the event your PC isn't Bluetooth-capable). iOS is a target platform.
XIM4 is currently running against Xbox One. The current issue with Playstation 4 is that it does not offer any form wired connectivity to Dualshock 4 controllers (which wasn't the case with Playstation 3). We have every intention to bring XIM4 to Playstation 4.
We are planning to start the Beta over the next couple of weeks and we are currently targeting a XIM4 release of Q1 2014. As more details about XIM4 are available, I'll be posting them in this blog.
I'd like to thank the XIM community and their continued support of this project. We know that without you we wouldn't have achieved the level of success we have today. For that we are very grateful.