Social networking and augmented  reality  are the tech buzzwords du jour--but what happens when you mix the two up? You get the casual game Cannonballz from Zugara. And it's a little taste of how gaming might go in the future.
The game's promo video pretty much explains how it works:
It's a pretty low-level form of AR, and the tech isn't so far from what you can already do with the PlayStation Eyetoy...but the idea's definitely interesting for a couple of reasons. Firstly its all programmed in Flash online--so its the sort of game that may even end up playable on smartphones in the future. Secondly its use of social networking hooks, with its connection through to Facebook, adds in a rather neat little angle, a bit like an extended version of the emerging gaming social network scene on smartphones (like Plus+ on the iPhone).
And it raises two more thoughts about the future: It's powered by ZugMo's motion capture software...but the code doesn't necessarily need to be used for games--will we be interacting with our notebook PCs via more in-air gestures in the future? And finally don't forget about the recently demoed next-gen camera-based motion sensing tech for Xbox and PlayStation 3 . When they come out, with augmented reality motion-based games that are far more clever than Cannonballz, it's pretty believable that they'll have a social networking element built-in too. The concept of the loneliness computer gamer might be about to get a makeover.