Microsoft Kicks Off E3 2010 In High Style
Microsoft took the wraps off Kinect (nee Project Natal) at E3 2010, promising an experience that will "bring living rooms to life in a social and accessible way."
The much-anticipated gaming technology from Microsoft will launch on November 4. Pricing was not announced. To the thumping sounds of techno music, the company trotted out actors who leapt, lunged, and waved their arms in the air, demonstrating various sports and fitness-themed applications. By Matt Peckham, PCWorld's Game On blogger.
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Microsoft Teased Gears of War III's Impressive New Multi-Tentacled Enemies
After rolling footage for fan favorites like Metal Gear Solid Rising ("It's unlike anything you've ever seen"), Gears of War 3 (Marcus Fenix and friends battle giant squid-like creatures), Fable III ("It's a revolution!"), and Halo: Reach (Halo meets spaceship battles), the presentation turned to all things Kinect.
The Advent of Mass-Market Controller-Free Gaming
"Imagine a world where you can watch a movie without a remote, play a game without a controller," said Microsoft Games corporate vice president Marc Whitten. "Imagine that living room is smarter... Imagine that finding content on your TV is so simple, everyone can do it."
ESPN and Microsoft Revealed an Exclusive Kinect-Enhanced Partnership
Nodding to sports fans, Microsoft rolled out a Kinect-based ESPN interface with commentators Josh Elliott and Trey Wingo. The two showed how users could use voice commands to access DVR-like pause and replay features, at one point joking that "Kinect is going to make taunting that much easier." Additional features included accessing ESPN game scores, video statistics, real-time polls, and sports trivia, all without leaving the video feed of the game itself.
Kinectimals, a Family-Friendly Kinect-Based Pet Simulation
The first--and arguably most impressive--of Microsoft's Kinect game demos involved a little girl onstage, who played with a virtual tiger cub (dubbed Kinectimals). As she cupped her hands and stroked the air, a pair of virtual "ghost" hands petted and caressed the tiger cub. The girl proceeded to call the tiger over, ask it to pick up a toy, then jump rope with it, and the tiger responded dynamically, reacting to her voice (and possibly the emotion in her voice) without hitches.
Kinect Sports, Microsoft's (Superior?) Answer to Wii Sports
Kinect Sports, Microsoft's answer to Wii Sports, will as expected offer a panoply of activities, from boxing to soccer to volleyball to bowling. Also noted: Javelin-throwing, hurdle-leaping, and table tennis. While it all looked decidedly Wii-like, the level of interaction was notably deeper and more precise, as it involved players' full bodies--legs, arms, heads, and torsos.
Go for a Joyride in Microsoft's Kinect-Based Racing Game
Joyride, an Xbox LIVE avatar-based racing game, lets you drive using your hands to grasp an imaginary wheel, but with wrinkles: At one point, the demonstrator thrust both arms out to her vehicle, and stunts seem part and parcel of the final experience.
Snatch Coins, Dodge Obstacles, and Ride the Rapids in Kinect Adventures
Kinect Adventures looks like a series of obstacle-course games for up to four players. The first demo involved two demonstrators grabbing jumping and grabbing coins, Mario-like, while a second demo dropped two players into a river raft racing over rapids. At times the leaping and flailing was fairly intense, and you had to wonder at the potential for multiple players to crash into each other.
Dance Central Tests Your Ability to Perform Real Dance Moves
The final launch game was called Dance Central, an Harmonix-developed Kinect-based dance move game. With a soundtrack including No Doubt, Lady Gaga, and the Beastie Boys, players can perform some 600 moves and 90 dance routines, including some for the songs' original music videos. The game tracks your fidelity thereto and rates you appropriately.
A Brand New Xbox 360, Slim-Sized, Including WiFi and 250GB For $300
The company ended the show with a jaw-dropper, trotting out the redesigned, black-framed Xbox 360 just as goers assumed the show was about to wrap up. Microsoft calls it "sleeker, smaller, and whisper quiet." All that, including its high-end 250GB hard drive along with integrated 802.11n wireless for just $300.