So now you can get a Kinect for the Xbox 360. Or a Move package for the PlayStation 3. Or maybe you already have a Wii. The point is, this holiday season, gaming is going to be all about moving. There's a three-front motion-tracking war going on and it may be a while before there's a clear winner.
Nintendo's Wii has been around for a few years now, so movement-based gaming isn't as novel as it used to be. Sony's Move is fun, but along with Microsoft's Kinect, it may have to play catch-up. … Read more
It's apparently going to be a better year than expected for Activision Blizzard.
The World of Warcraft developer announced yesterday that its third-quarter revenue grew to $745 million, up from $703 million it posted during the same period in 2009.
The company also reported a $51 million profit, representing a gain over the $15 million it tallied in third quarter last year. Its adjusted earnings of 12 cents a share beat Wall Street expectations of 9 cents, according to the Associated Press.
In the first three quarters, Activision Blizzard's revenue stood at over $3 billion. Last year, it … Read more
Hulu is slowing ramping up the availability of its Hulu Plus platform.
Current owners of the 2010 models of Sony Bravia HDTVs started getting access to Hulu Plus yesterday. And next week, the company plans to make Hulu Plus available to PlayStation 3 owners who have a free PlayStation Network account.
Hulu Plus has been available on Sony's console since July. However, the service was only made available to select PlayStation Plus subscribers. With next week's launch, any PlayStation 3 owner (in the U.S.) will have access to the service.
Going forward, Hulu plans to expand the … Read more
Microsoft's Kinect motion-gaming peripheral, which launched yesterday, has already been torn apart by the folks over at iFixit, who have revealed some rather interesting components inside the device.
iFixit, a DIY repair site, was apparently quite surprised by what is packed into the relatively small Kinect. The site said the device boasts so many built-in sensors, that only the Pleo dinosaur robot comes close to matching it. And due to how "mechanically complex" the device is, iFixit believes it was "clearly designed by a team accustomed to designing large hardware, like the Xbox."
A group of Vermont college students has come up with a soccer-centric video game that teaches boys how to pass, dribble, tackle, score--and, hopefully, respect girls.
If that seems like an unlikely connection, students from the Emergent Media Center at Champlain College in Burlington would disagree. They've spent two years developing Breakaway, a free interactive online game that manages to impart lessons about violence to boys 8 to 15--while tossing them some lively gameplay.
"Breakaway is a game experience that offers youth the chance to discover how to become a champion both on and off the field," said Ann DeMarle, director of Champlain's Emergent Media Center.
The game--which debuted at the World Cup in South Africa this summer and today saw the release of its third and latest chapter--has attracted 1,000 registered users from 95 countries including Ghana, Mali, Tunisia, Indonesia, and Azerbaijan. In the early days of the game's creation, student developers journeyed to the townships of Cape Town, South Africa, as part of their research into social conditions that can lead to abuse.
The outgrowth of a United Nations-supported initiative aimed at using games to teach respect for girls and women, Breakaway has been endorsed by Cameroonian soccer star Samuel Eto'o, who also appears in the game as a virtual football mentor.
The title presents interactive storylines, each featuring new characters, that have players bouncing between skill-building mini-games focusing on speed, strength, agility, and timing, and narrative challenges that require collaborative decision making on social issues such as gender equality and racial stereotypes.
In one instance, a team captain who's talented and popular but tends to be a bully becomes progressively verbally abusive toward your sister as she stands on the field. In another, a member of your all-boys' team moves away with his family, and a girl replaces him.
Who you choose to side with during such situations--those team members who defend the girl being bullied or excluded or those who contribute to her ostracization--influences the caliber of soccer training you get, and thus, your chances of advancing as a player. … Read more
Note: This story was updated on Friday 11/5 with additional information added to the facial recognition feature item, as well as a clarification to the use of the Kinect unit with the older and newer Xbox 360 hardware configurations.
Microsoft's Kinect motion-camera accessory for the Xbox 360 has been out less than a day here in the U.S., and reports both good and bad continue to trickle in.
If you want to know what CNET thought of it, you can head over to our full review of the device. Below are some things, both positive and negative, that have cropped up in the peripheral's short existence on the market.
The good 1. You can still find one. Online retailers appear to have stock aplenty. In late October, that wasn't the case, with Amazon and Best Buy putting a halt on pre-orders of the peripheral. A look around all the big online retailers today shows it in stock and ready to ship out within 24 hours in most places. That may not be the case as we get closer to the holidays and shortly after the international releases in Europe, Japan, and Australia later this month, but it's certainly off to a better start than the Xbox 360 itself.… Read more
Clearly Nintendo did something right: years after incorporating motion controls into the Wii, the competition is finally following suit. With the Microsoft Xbox 360 Kinect, Sony PlayStation Move, and even the Nintendo Wii Remote Plus controller all landing during the same holiday season, it's only natural to compare and contrast these three similar-yet-different systems.
Does evolution equal fun? Motion control might be the future, but the present three options all have their ups and downs. Check out our debate below and weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section.
Who is it for?
Dan: Breaking it down into cliches of which audience goes for each console, the PlayStation Move feels like it's aimed at self-identified gamers--those who are into shooting, racing, and, well, more shooting. You get that vibe through everything from the Kevin Butler TV commercials to the console's information design, which at times seems almost joyfully counterintuitive.
The Xbox 360 Kinect is courting in equal parts the home theater enthusiast and the novelty seeker. Nintendo's Wii MotionPlus, at the same time, has quietly caught up by incorporating its ill-conceived external dongle into a regular-size Wiimote, but will the casual Wii audience go back and buy new control sticks?
Scott: The Move is for "hard-core gamers," according to Sony, and the button-covered design may come off as a bit intimidating for the Wii crowd. The Kinect is controller-free, and the motion-heavy gaming is perfect for fitness nuts, families, and casual players with luxurious living rooms. The Wii is still for nearly anyone, but mainly kids, casual gamers, and those without HDTVs.
Setup and space requirements
Dan: Finding a place to stick a Wii sensor bar used to seem like such a hassle; if we only knew how good we had things back then. The simplicity of that nearly passive Wii sensor bar seems positively nostalgic now; not only do the Kinect and PlayStation Move require bulky external Webcams, but both cameras are hard-wired and sure to drive the cord-conscious crazy.
The PlayStation Move is actually fairly forgiving in its space requirements, at least compared with the Kinect. Maybe the tens of millions of people living in New York aren't Microsoft's target market, because we have yet to speak to an NYC apartment dweller who has not had to clamber over their sofa to set up the Kinect (and you can forget about playing many of the multiplayer games). Not to overemphasize this point, but the rigid space requirements for setting up and using the Kinect are incredibly annoying. … Read more
Update at 4:03 p.m. PT: This story has been modified with response from Microsoft.
The first person who figures out how to build an open-source driver for Microsoft's much-hyped new Kinect motion controller could win a $2,000 bounty offered by a leading open-source hardware developer.
Kinect, which launched today, is currently available solely for Microsoft's Xbox 360 and may well someday be extended to the Windows platform. But for New York-based Adafruit Industries, that's not enough.
And that's why Adafruit--led by MIT Media Lab alum Limor Fried and Make magazine Senior Editor Phillip … Read more
Sony and Microsoft are now directly competing in the motion-gaming arena, but developer Ubisoft says Nintendo's Wii still has some fight left in it.
"I think that anybody who makes assumptions about the Wii going away quickly, or is over, is taking a big risk," Tony Key, Ubisoft senior vice president of sales and marketing, told Industry Gamers in an article posted yesterday. "Certainly, Ubisoft doesn't believe that."
Key noted that the Wii is still the "most successful home console ever." And given that more than 3 million Wiis were sold last … Read more