Game Development Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professional and independent game developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

We've seen that multi-touch on smartphones has been wildly successful. On the iPhone, in fact, it's the only tactile input the user can provide! However, I'm wondering how likely it'll be for multi-touch to take off on desktop PCs (and PC gaming) in the future. Right now, it's mostly a lack of good multi-touch monitors on the market, but the fact that there's not much of a push by manufacturers is disconcerting. It'd be really nice to have multi-touch gestures to navigate in an RTS, for instance, and music games would be really fun with multi-touch input (think Elite Beat Agents or DJ Max Technika, but on the PC). An example.

Do you think that multi-touch for PCs will eventually take foot and become popular, or will it stagnate?

P.S. I'm guessing this would be best suited for CW, so if a mod feels like it's appropriate, feel free to mark it as such.

share|improve this question
Personally I think this is a bad question since it's all speculative, but instead of closing it outright I'll just convert to CW. – Tetrad Nov 1 '10 at 19:01
Also Elite Beat Agents (and all DS games) don't use multitouch since the DS isn't equipped for it. Any DS game that asks for multiple inputs (usually two) actually is just checking for a single input in the middle of them since thats what the hardware returns if there are multiple contacts. – coderanger Nov 1 '10 at 21:05
@coderanger Oh yeah, I realize EBA is single-touch. I was referring to hypothetical titles which would have similar gameplay, but utilize multi-touch for multiple notes at a time. Technika does that. – ThatsGobbles Nov 1 '10 at 21:29
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I can say multi-touch games will be a different genre, not another standard method of input for pc games. There are games people will still prefer to use on controllers. (Imagine street fighter using multi-touch)

Multi-touch might only just be useful for entertainment and future homes or even educational game purposes.

share|improve this answer

I don't think that Multi-Touch will ever be big on the PC. One big reason: Just try pushing your monitor. If you are like 99% of all users who have their monitor on a feet or arm, the monitor will now be pushed back.

Multitouch works on the iPhone because you hold it in your other hand and provide resistance.

But on a PC, finding the right balance between proper placement of the screen for working AND ergonomic usage just won't happen. Either you tire out too easily or you can't see properly or you have stuff in your way on the desktop, e.g. keyboard and mouse. Trying to move the monitor then results in cables being in the way.

Sure, you can solve that by mounting it on a flexible arm and moving between work and play modes - welcome to the <1% of users who have such a setup.

Multitouch is a nice idea, but the ergonomics are simply too horrible and there is no viable solution anywhere near.

share|improve this answer
Multitouch doesn't have to mean touchscreen. Apple got a lot of the multitouch tech from FingerWorks which made multi-touch-based keyboards, not displays. – coderanger Nov 1 '10 at 20:27
@coderanger very true, but then you have the disconnect between screen and input, which requires a mouse pointer. Also, Apple is the only mainstream company that 'got' multitouch right - says a lot about the quality of the industry and convinces me even more that mainstream multitouch won't happen. – Michael Stum Nov 1 '10 at 20:33
Whats wrong with having a cursor? Its been a pretty good abstraction so far, so just streamlining the input process is unlikely to make it worse. Take a look at the TouchStream keyboard that FingerWorks used to make. The idea is to minimize hand movement by use the entire surface for input. At a very simple level you can think of it as a touchpad and keyboard in one. – coderanger Nov 1 '10 at 21:03
@coderanger Nothing is wrong with having a cursor if the game is suited for it already. Or maybe even if not, as I can see Multitouch even useful in FPS games which don't have a mouse pointer but a crosshair. I just don't believe that the hardware vendors are up for it and that we'll have the chicken/egg problem: No Games => No Hardware, No Hardware => No Reason to make games. I think RUSE was the only Triple-A Multitouch game. Maybe we see Multitouch on Apple machines as there is one standard Multitouch Device, but on Windows? I'm still sure it won't happen. – Michael Stum Nov 1 '10 at 21:35
I don't think games will advance the state of multitouch hardware, but PCs will benefit from it sooner or later and since it will likely become an important input device for PCs in general, it will be important for games. – coderanger Nov 1 '10 at 22:05

Ergonomics of multi-touch vertical monitors just doesn't work, not to mention that having your hands in front of the screen isn't ideal for visibility.

The idea of multi-touch pads for desktops is interesting, but they have issues. Wacom and similar tablets work well because they can sense the pen when it hovers over the tablet. This allows the user to move a cursor around the screen without committing to a button press. You can't do that with multi-touch, so either the user is always pressing a button, or you need some other indicator for clicking. Neither option there is ideal.

share|improve this answer

If multitouch becomes more popular and supported in games, it'll more than likely be due to multitouch trackpads on gaming-capable laptops becoming more and more pervasive and not due to touch monitors.

For desktop work, I don't see multitouch monitors being that popular. I don't think the ergonomics support it.

share|improve this answer

PC doesn't have to take all "good" interfaces. Even if we have multi-touch monitors right now, I think it would be very inconvenient. I would not use it! Even iPhone game plying is painful if you play long. (not too long for PC/Console Game)

I think new devices for multi-touch screen(for PC, but not main monitor) will become available.(for designer for example?) But I don't think such devices are greatly concerned in game development.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.