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You Can Smell Your Video Games Now Because Why Not

Video game worlds are expansive places with lots of sights and sounds. With the advent of virtual reality, you can almost touch the environments you’re inhabiting. But scent has been one of the senses that gaming technology could never quite get right. (I mean, who wants to smell Ganondorf or Link when they probably smell like shit?) Thankfully, you won’t have to catch a whiff of their B.O., but a new device promises to open your nostrils to the aromas of the video game world.

GameScent is a new device by a tech company of the same name that sounds kinda goofy. Powered by AI, the $180 adapter captures real-time audio and processes those sounds to emit scents that correspond with the on-screen action. So, if you’re playing something like 2022’s stylish racing game Need for Speed Unbound, which I’ve been doing a lot lately now that it’s on PlayStation Plus, you’ll choke on—I mean smell, the car’s exhaust when burning out and drifting corners. The same is true of Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth. Just plug the GameScent into your console, PC, or TV’s HDMI port, breathe in, and let me know what Mako smells like. It’s Smell-O-Vision, but for games.

This big-ish box—it’s 18x16x12 inches—lets you smell all kinds of aromas in games. Playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and just got smoked? Your nose will pick up on the smells of explosions and gunfire lingering around the battlefield. Getting rained on in the forests of something like Horizon Forbidden West? GameScent will release scents based on nature and storms. In total, the device’s Scent Palette features six smells—Gunfire, Explosion, Forest, Racing, and Storm—with the last being a “Clean Air” one that eliminates the fumes clogging the air in your room.

In a press release, GameScent president Casey Bunch said the device is fully compatible with consoles, PC, and VR headsets, specifying that the company wants to “elevate” the gaming experience with scent-based technology.

“Studies have shown that the sense of smell imprints in long-term memory more strongly than anything else,” Bunce said. “With GameScent, we’re hoping to elevate gamers’ experiences to be more exciting and memorable than they ever have been before.”

It’s not the only type of fragrance tech pitched to Gamers™ in recent years. In 2023, the Japanese-based developer Aromajoin unveiled the aptly titled Aroma Shooter at the Consumer Electronics Show. This piece of tech “digitized” smells to blast them past all those pesky little nose hairs. It was hella expensive, though, running $998. By comparison, GameScent’s price point is a bit more approachable, though we currently don’t know how much the device’s “easy-to-swap cartridges” will cost. But there is DLC coming for the box. In fact, the company said that GameScent will get more smells in the future, including Blood, Fresh Cut Grass, Sports Arena, and Ocean. And if you want it, you can get it from some of the usual retailers: Amazon, Best Buy, and GameStop, as well as the company’s own website.

 

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Leah Sirama
Leah Sirama
Leah Sirama, a lifelong enthusiast of Artificial Intelligence, has been exploring technology and the digital realm since childhood. Known for his creative thinking, he's dedicated to improving AI experiences for all, making him a respected figure in the field. His passion, curiosity, and creativity drive advancements in the AI world.
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