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Tobii launches $1 million fund for eye-tracking PC development

"Eye tracking represents the next evolution in video games," says rep

Tobii Tech, which produces eye-tracking hardware, has launched a million dollar development fund to incentivise the production of games using the technology. The fund takes the form of both cash and marketing incentives, according to the firm.

The "Boost to the Big Time Program" will offer "strong potential to innovate, global game distribution, stellar marketing opportunities, cash payments and development support for those developers and studios that show superior creativity and promise in bringing gaming to the next level with eye tracking."

Scale and scope are no boundary to entry, with games of every size invited to apply for the funding. Included in the deal are potential partnerships with Tobii's associated publishers and studios, such as Ubisoft and Avalanche; the pre-purchase of 10,000 copies of eligible games for inclusion with package deals of hardware; engine and other software support; as well as promotional boosts through Tobii's partner channels.

Henrik Johansson, VP of products and marketing at Tobii has a fairly rosy perspective on the future of eye-tracking, which will be competing with both AR and VR for the minds and wallets of consumers, as well as the attentions of media.

"Eye tracking represents the next evolution in video games and, even more, an opportunity for developers to create experiences unlike anything gamers have seen before," says Johansson. "Developers joining the program will revolutionize gaming, get the opportunity to partner and showcase with the world's largest gaming hardware manufacturers, reviewed by the world's most prominent gaming media and get paid at the same time."

However, with the memory of Ouya's million dollar 'Free the Games' fund still fresh and raw in many developers' minds, Tobii may find it has to show more than it tells to convince studios to sign up, particularly when focusing on a technology of which many may not share the same optimistic opinions.

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Dan Pearson