Turning the Car into a Gamer’s Paradise

Gaming is a big business. In 2020, the gaming industry was approximately $180 billion and grew 20% year-over-year, which makes gaming bigger than music and movie industries combined. And with 2.7 billion gamers globally, there are about twice as many gamers as there are vehicles on the road—an exciting opportunity for automakers.

​Consumers crave moments where they can break away from the monotony of daily life and become fully immersed in a world outside their own. The HARMAN ExP Gaming Intense Max enables these kinds of experiences, transforming the car into an immersive gaming environment. In a recent episode of the HARMAN Experiences Per Mile podcast, I discuss the inspiration behind this new solution and the technologies it’s comprised of. This blog post highlights parts of the discussion, but you can listen to the entire podcast here​

Gaming Intense Max has support for live video game streaming and provides a home theater quality gaming experience for you and your friends while you're safely parked in the vehicle. The solution leverages HARMAN's world-renowned audio solutions along with a 5G TCU, and the HARMAN Ignite Service Delivery Platform (SDP) to create a fast and immersive gaming experience in the car. 

Something that non-gamers get wrong as they are developing products is, they assume their users are primarily teenagers. It’s interesting to note that the average gamer in the US is now more than 35-years-old. Being an avid gamer myself, I was able to provide a relevant perspective while leading the program development for Gaming Intense Max.

We started by conducting in-depth consumer research. In our findings, it was clear that people find themselves with an excessive amount of downtime in the car—waiting for friends, appointments and even their kids at school. This time is often filled by playing games on their phone.  However, phone gaming has its limitations. The display is small, limited to very casual games and not connected. As we talked to more gamers, we realized that they wanted more out of their experience in the car. They wanted an extension of their PC or console gaming, access to their favorite games, high-end graphics, immersive video and audio and the ability to use their controllers. These insights were the inspiration behind Gaming Intense Max.

You may wonder: why HARMAN?  It’s interesting to note that HARMAN has a deep history of producing high quality consumer professional audio products. JBL just celebrated its 75th anniversary and has powered some of the most immersive audio experiences in the studio, cinema and concerts. Last year, as part of that heritage, we launched JBL Quantum, JBL's first headset and PC speaker range exclusively focused on gamers. This is one of the key features of Gaming Intense Max. 

With Gaming Intense Max, immersive and accurate positional 3D audio is delivered in two ways. One way is through individual vehicle headrest-based systems, so each individual person can experience exceptional audio. The second way is by offering JBL Q800 wireless gaming headphones which provide complete isolation with ANC for maximum focus. Both sound solutions are powered by the JBL Quantum Engine software which accurately renders the 3D positional audio to increase gamer’s situational awareness and improve reaction times.

Another key feature of Gaming Intense Max are its multiple high-res screens. In front of the driver is a 49-inch QLED screen that stretches across the whole front dash, providing the same immersive field of view you would get in a high-end PC gaming setup at home or your home theater. For multiplayer gaming, the front display splits into two full HD 16:9 displays in front of both the driver and the passenger. In the back seat, the rear display extends and swivels and becomes a 32-inch widescreen display for the rear passenger.

For demanding scenarios like multiplayer gaming, our high compute Digital Cockpit​ platform supports multiple high-resolution displays and users. Communication is key to victory for multiplayer gaming, and our In-Car Communication solution ensures clear, two-way conversations among everyone in the vehicle through proprietary voice and signal processing technology. We also use ClearChat, which combines world-leading beamforming microphones, echo cancellation, and noise reduction algorithms to remove unwanted cabin noise for the gamer. Lastly, Personal Bass Impact adds another dimension to the experience as it turns all action happening on screen into things you can feel as well as hear.

As consumers begin to think of the car as a venue to enjoy their time, whether it be while charging their electric vehicle or a quick escape during their lunch break, they're going to want to maximize their experiences. Research shows us that gaming is one of the activities they already enjoy doing. Elevating this experience is an opportunity for automakers to delight these consumers and create loyalty to their brand. 

To hear more from me on this topic, listen to this episode of the Experiences Per Mile podcast​.

​Jason Riggs, Vice President, Intelligent Audio at HARMAN International 

Connect with the Author: LinkedIn​

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