I haven't plugged my Kinect into my Xbox 360 in nearly six months.
The reasons are, to some extent, mine. But not mine alone. Still, whatever excitement I might have felt during the Kinect's debut has withered. It's not essential, not compelling. It's not why I play my Xbox 360. And if I don't have mine plugged in, I'm wondering how many other Kinects are suffering the same fate.
The Kinect's motorized movements get annoying. The Kinect camera is meant to sit under my TV and be innocuous, but it isn't. The … Read more
Since then, all three devices have been released commercially, each to great initial success and generally positive reviews. But, we've also noted, in anecdotally talking to people in and out of the industry, that a user's interest level in all three of these groundbreaking projects can drop off quickly in many cases.
The primary culprit seems to be a lack of must-play software. The number of new Kinect games slowed to a trickle almost immediately after the motion-sensing camera launched, and the same is true of the PlayStation Move (although that camera at least works with high-profile games such as Killzone 3 and SOCOM 4). The Nintendo 3DS, groundbreaking as it is, also suffers from a lack of killer apps. Big buzz games aren't here yet, nor are long-promised features, such as 3D video recording and streaming, although the built-in 3DS shop is set to go online next week.
So, our question here for you is: Of the big three hardware releases from E3 2010, the Xbox 360 Kinect, PlayStation Move, and Nintendo 3DS, which ones have you purchased but now rarely, if ever, use? … Read more
Even though it's supposedly an industry-only trade show, the Electronic Entertainment Expo is an event of epic proportions for video game aficionados, as evidenced by the legions of fans who follow the show's daily announcements online, through blogs, news outlets, and (a more recent development) video feeds.
But despite its decade-plus place in the public consciousness (I've been attending since 1999), the E3 show has been to the brink of extinction more than once, and while it has pulled off a remarkable recovery over the past couple of years, there's still a chance history may repeat itself.
In brief, what happened was the trade show equivalent of a boom and bust cycle. Throughout the 2000s, game companies competed to outdo each other, with excessive budgets and outlandish displays, creating literal mini cities inside the Los Angeles Convention Center that easily trumped anything seen at the larger Consumer Electronics Show, which takes place in Las Vegas every January.
The trend peaked in 2006, after which the participants collectively realized that entirely too much money was being spent on the show, which had long since stopped being a place for retail buyers to make deals with publishers, and had become essentially a weeklong press conference. Simply put, the week's worth of media hits was judged to be simply not worth the investment.
At the time, the Entertainment Software Association, a trade organization that runs the event, agreed to retrench, scaling down the 2007 version into what then-Entertainment Software Association President Douglas Lowenstein called a "more personal, efficient, and focused" show. E3 went from 60,000 attendees the previous year to about 4,000, and from 400 exhibiting companies to fewer than 40. E3 2008 was a similarly small affair, returning to the Los Angeles Convention Center, but keeping the small, low-cost format.… Read more
Just before the show started, CNET editors Dan Ackerman, Jeff Bakalar, and Scott Stein took a stab at predicting the key announcements. How'd they do? Let's take a look:
"Sure bet, take it to the bank!" This category was aptly named--the boys nearly had a sweep here.
Microsoft's Project Natal named/priced/bundled: We got the new name (
Kinect), the release date (Novmeber 4), and plenty of demos and details. But still no confirmation on the price (though it's looking more and more like $149). Score this one a half point. PlayStation Move price, date, launch titles announced: Sony delivered full pricing, bundling, and launch date details, along with a full slate of launch titles. Full point. Rock Band 3 focuses on its new "keyboard" instrument: Behold the keytar. Full point. Additional premium video partners for Xbox Live/PSN: Xbox Live Gold subscribers will get full access to ESPN3's online content--if they're using a supported ISP. However, Sony's PlayStation Plus paid subscription service lacked the same sort of "killer app" video content--so I'm scoring this as a half point. PS3 3D firmware confirmed/dated, with Killzone 3D demo: A pre-E3 firmware update and some newly 3D-ified games meant that the PS3 was firmly in the third dimension by the time E3 started. Sony sealed the deal with an impressive 3D Killzone 3 demo. Full point. New "3D" version of the Nintendo DS: Nintendo's glasses-free 3DS was, indeed, one of the show's big highlights. Full point.
Nothing makes an E3 show stand out like the collection of costumed characters, full-size monster sculptures, and movielike props that fill the halls, booths, and even the lobbies of the Los Angeles Convention Center.
It's closer at times to a comic book convention than an industry-only trade show, and a pretty good barometer of how the companies involved feel about the overall health of the expo (a frequent topic on conversation over the past few years).
If this last look at E3 2010 has you nostalgic for some of my hands-on hardware testing, trend-spotting, and photo galleries from earlier this week, click past the break for a handy roundup of all my E3 coverage from this year.
The annual Electronic Entertainment Expo typically concentrates on the games major publishers hope consumers will either purchase or put on their holiday wish lists in the coming year. Though there's always a certain amount of hardware, in the form of controllers, accessories, and PCs, for the most part, this a show about software, not hardware.
The exception is when a new game console is launching, and over the many years I've attended the show, I've seen the launches of the Sega Dreamcast; Sony's PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, and PSP; Nintendo's GameCube, Wii, and DS; and Microsot's Xbox and Xbox 360. That said, 2010 is the first year without a major living room console launch where I've seen almost all the attention focused firmly on hardware rather than software.
Both motion control systems have their strengths and weaknesses, but I thought that Kinect especially had promise for home entertainment control, and the PlayStation Move provided the kind of precision and accuracy that core gamers would most appreciate.
The 3DS, at risk of being written off as a novelty in the era of me-too 3D, was a surprising success (at least in the small doses it was offered up to attendees), with eyeglass-free 3D that actually seems to work. Though that's only a tiny personal screen for now, it makes those expensive, cumbersome active shutter 3D systems feel like a much tougher sell.
If the technology behind the 3DS holds up, it's really only a matter of time and scale before consumers expect all forms of 3D to not require glasses.
These new hardware devices were impressive in person, but they're all still a tough sell; console add-ons have traditionally not succeeded (from the Sega 32X to the Xbox HD-DVD drive), and Nintendo fans may have upgrade fatigue after the DS, DS Lite, DSi, and DSi XL.
The second major reason this year's E3 felt like it was all about hardware, was that the software largely failed to impress. This left the field wide open for the Kinect, Move, and 3DS to steal the show.
I've already detailed the overreliance on sequels and spin-offs, many on a rapidly accelerated production cycle to feed the need for annual product installments. But, there was a handful of games in development seen either on the show floor or behind closed doors that made my must-play list (and yes, most of them are sequels). In no particular order, they are:… Read more
Even if your new slim Xbox 360 console malfunctions, you won't be getting the now-infamous "red ring of death" error. That's because Microsoft has actually eliminated all of the red LEDs from the system's internal make-up. Instead, any sort of problem with the console will now be displayed using various combinations of green lights, GameSpot reports.
While we're relieved to witness the end of those dreadful red flashing lights, we're still skeptical about the new 360's reliability. Microsoft made a point to mention the new system's "whisper quiet" operation, … Read more
Amid all the hoopla surrounding E3, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata told a Japanese publication this week that he plans to bring 3D functionality to the company's next game console.
"If you display a 3D image, the image quality becomes extremely bad, so we'd probably do it with the next system," Iwata told the Nihon Keizai Shimbun. "We're thinking that the timing should be once the 3D television adoption rates crosses the 30 percent mark. We're looking at the adoption trends."
Iwata's comments seem to fall in line with Nintendo's recent … Read more
LOS ANGELES--If the huge crowds and crowds at E3 this week are any indication, the video game industry is in a lot better shape than a lot of people thought.
All throughout the two main halls at the Los Angeles Convention Center where E3 has been going strong since Tuesday morning, throngs of people make it hard to move, and at booth after booth, if you don't have an appointment, there's little chance you're going to get your hands on any of the hot games and hardware being shown here this year.
For more than a year, there's been a hint of doom and gloom surrounding the industry as its leading analyst, The NPD Group, has reported month after month of year-over-year sales declines. In April, for example, the firm bore the bad tidings that the industry as a whole saw 26 percent year-over-year declines, and that hardware revenues were down 37 percent year-over-year.
But on Wednesday, in a confession clearly timed to hit during the industry's premiere event, NPD admitted that its longstanding methodology for measuring industry sales has ignored some significant streams of revenue. … Read more
LOS ANGELES--At a show that's as large as it gets for video games, in a corner of E3 the was a product designed to be hidden from sight entirely.
Hitech Innovation's Wiretape, which the company claims is the world's thinnest wire at 0.16 millimeters, has been designed to de-clutter the usual mess of wires that can stretch down from high-mounted televisions, or across rooms.
It works like a roll of tape, running as long as it's needed before consumers can cut it with a pair of scissors. Then, the loose ends can be fed into … Read more