My final blog has been created and posted to e3expo Check it out
The Nintendo Wii paved the way by introducing motion sensing technology through its “Wiimote control”. Now Microsoft is poised to enter the motion sensing controller market, but they intend to do it without a controller.
Last February Microsoft purchased a startup company called “3DV Systems” to acquire its Z-Cam technology. This technology is very much like a webcam except it allows you to use your entire body to control games. Unlike the Wii you do not need to be holding a separate controller. You only need to be within the vision of the camera. The motion sensor in the camera will allow players to “”kick, punch, duck, dive, [and] jump.” And to recognize “hand gestures like pinching, grabbing, and scrolling”. This camera will also allow for simple things like video conferencing. The ultimate goal is to allow users to literally do anything they want and have the game recognize it without ever having to pick up a controller.
Sony has also decided to enter this business as to not be left in the dust. Rumors have been flying since early 2007 when they registered patents for a motion sensing device. This new device is posed to be very similar to Nintendo’s “Wiimote”. It will use a webcam to pick up LED lights from a controller giving it exceptional accuracy, especially in the Z axis (which the Wii is very poor at).
This technology is set to vastly improve Sony’s currant “Sixaxis” motion sensing controller which has failed miserably compared to Nintendo’s “Wiimote”. The new controller is supposed to be more wand like as compared to the classic controller shape.
All this information is set to become official at the e3 “Electronic Entertainment Expo” In early June. This expo is usually the year’s biggest event for video game companies. They build up as much hype about upcoming products as possible before publically announcing them at the expo. This years expo is set to be the biggest since the new wave of consoles were releases in 2005.
Rumors have been spreading around for over a year that a new PSP (Playstation Portable) is in the works. Sony has now all but confirmed this rumor. This new system is reported being called the PSP: GO!
It is reported as having a bigger screen and a slide out control similar to many smart phones available today. It is also expected to be released without the unpopular UMD drive. The old UMB Drive has been plagued with slow load speeds and quickly draining battery life. Instead the new PSP will use downloadable content for its game as well as small memory cards.
It looks as though this new system is going to be taking a page out of Apples book. The system is reported to being released in two different models, a 16GB and a 8GB model. It will not have a second thumbstick that many PSP users have been requesting since the original PSP release in 2005.
So when is this new system really going to be released? According to author David Ellis of 1up ” we have learned that Sony will quell those rumors by unveiling their revamped PSP at this year’s E3 conference in June.”
The game lineup is stacked full of quality releases just waiting for this new PSP to launch. With long awaited titles such as “‘Gran Turismo Mobile” set to be released in October or November it should be an exciting time.
Patrick Seybold, senior director of corporate communications and social media for Sony Computer Entertainment America, said “We don’t comment on rumors and have made no such announcements. It’s a shame that a little speculation on their part gets so much attention.” Ultimately we still know very little for certain but should find out much more at the E3 expo in June.
Console sales have slowed down recently, and for the first time (in March) we saw the Playstation 3 outsell the Wii. Despite this small setback Nintendo is still the most popular system on the market.
Nintendo has now sold over 8 million units in Japan and over 50 million units worldwide. This is compared to Sony’s Playstation 3 which has only sold 2.7 million units in Japan and the Xbox360’s 1 million units in the region. Nintendo’s DS handheld system has also now sold over 100 million units worldwide.
Nintendo has caught quite a bit of flack lately because of their lack of third party game available for the system. Even though the system is the most popular developers are struggling to create content for it. One reason for this is consumers are getting bored of the system and what it does.
In an effort to continue interest in the Wii, Nintendo has been developing what they call “MotionPlus”. This new “MotionPlus” is an add-on peripheral that connects to the bottom of the controller. Once connected this greatly increases the motion precision abilities of the controller and thus allowing developers to create games that allow the consumer to do things that were never before possible.
Nintendo plans on bundling a golf and tennis game with this new peripheral. The goal is to make the motion sensing in these games as realistic as possible. To make people want to continue to purchase the new games and have them feel like they are really participating in the activity.
As far as game sales go, Amazon has now got into the mix and has started creating downloadable games for the console. These games will be available for relatively cheap and yet still provide excellent third party games with tremendous quality.
The Developer Vanillaware (who created Odin Sphere and Grim Grimoire) is creating an action role playing game call “Muramasa: The Demon Blade”. This game provides a variety of control options that allow the user to switch between the nunchuk (controller) and the classic gamecube and is being hailed as “this year’s prettiest, most enticing Wii game”.
Ultimately, Nintendo is not happy to just be on top of the charts. They are trying to pull out all the stops to continue sales for their system and keep their lead.
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Renowned designer Will Wright is no longer employed with video game powerhouse Electronic Arts. Will is most notably responsible for hit games such as The Sims, Sim City and Spore. Instead Will Decided to start the Stupid Fun Club
Will left EA to pursue his own dreams. Although he is no longer employed with EA, they have decided to partner with his new company, Stupid Fun Club. EA owns an equal portion of shares in Will’s new company as he does himself.
So now you are wondering, what is Stupid Fun Club? Well, let us take a look. Will describes the company as an “entertainment think tank,” and further explains the company as something that will develop new intellectual properties across a variety of media. Games, films, TV shows, Web sites and toy
Will already has big plans for his new company. He has been in discussions with Hollywood talent agencies about bringing the game Spore to movies and television. Will explains his reasons for making a Spore movie as well as for leaving EA and starting his own company by saying “We’re basically planting the seeds to spread Spore out to a much wider group of people than would ever play a computer game,” and continued with ‘The entertainment industry is moving rapidly into an era of revolutionary change. Stupid Fun Club will explore new possibilities that are emerging from this sublime chaos and create new forms of entertainment on a variety of platforms.”
EA CEO John Riccitiello said that “”We believe in Will’s vision for Stupid Fun Club, and we’re looking forward to partnering with Will and his team long into the future,” when asked why they allowed Will to leave the company and why they agreed to partner with him. This new company gives Will much more creative freedom to do more entrepreneurial things such as create movies.
This is not the first time that Will has started a company. In 1989 he co-founded the company Maxis with Jeff Braun. This company created Sim City and was acquired by EA in 1997 and Will has worked with them until now.
When Gamespot.com asked Will if he would be able to do things now that EA would not have been ok with he replied, “I think EA recognizes their core competency is in the game space, and I would not expect them to do a really good job of producing a television show. With the Stupid Fun Club, we’re open to working with different partners who are very competent in their areas. We’re going to do most of the development outboard of the Stupid Fun Club, so the actual project development will be with these partners, like Electronic Arts for games. But we’re going to be very involved with the ongoing development of those concepts.”
It is clear that Will has huge dreams for his company. But can Stupid Fun Club survive starting up in such tough economic times? It will be a while before we know if the business venture will be successful. Will has not yet released any major project information and said that “we’ve got several projects in the works right now and it’s just not clear when they’ll be announced.” If any of these projects turn out as successful as either The Sims or Sim City, it will be worth the wait.
Nintendo has been dominating the market with their console sales of the Wii and handheld sales of the DS. Nintendo (Wii and DS) system have outsold both Microsoft’s and Sony’s current gen systems combined. They may be selling systems and games faster then stores can keep them on the shelves, but one thing they are not doing is being green.
Greenpeace just released a quarterly report of “Guide to Greener Electronics” in which it rated 17 of the top electronic manufactures on how green they are. Companies are given a score depending “their willingness to remove hazardous materials from their products, their attempts to responsibly take back and recycle obsolete hardware, and their efforts to reduce climate impact from their company and products.” Nintendo finished dead last out of all of the companies tested
This is not the first time Nintendo has been rated last by Greenpeace. They have achieved last place every time since 2007 when Nintendo was included in this quarterly check. This quarter Nintendo did not even manage to score a full point on a ten point scale. They received a measly point eight. They received the lowest possible “bad” score in eleven out of fifteen categories and a “partially bad” in the remaining 4.
When questioned to comment about their dismal score, Nintendo had this to say, “Nintendo takes great care to comply with all relevant regulations, including avoiding the use of dangerous materials and recycling of materials,” and also that “”Nintendo is always actively looking at ways to continue to increase its environmental stewardship and holds this as a corporate priority worldwide.” While indeed following all laws and regulations regarding e-waste, Nintendo has still done little over the last two years to improve they use hazardous materials.
Nintendo has been trying to increase their score. Their aim is to decrease emissions and greenhouse gasses by two percent each year. Unfortunately business has been so good for Nintendo that it has actually led to a six percent increase since 2006. Nintendo has also agreed to phase out the use of PVC but has yet to issue a timeline as to how long or even when that will take place.
Nintendo is not in bad company with their low score. Microsoft, competing company with Nintendo, only managed to score two point seven. This is less then two points higher then Nintendo received. Sony on the other-hand got a fifth place score. The highest scoring company was Nokia with a seven point five. Greenpeace is very critical on there scoring and does not give out points easily.
In this tough economy it is hard for companies to swallow losses that are included with being a green company. With all of Nintendo’s extra cash from being on top of the sales charts hopefully they will be able to use these funds and decrease their waste. Will this ever actually happen? Well a Nintendo spokesperson had this to say “all Nintendo products supplied worldwide are designed to comply with relevant global standards.” And I will leave the interpretation up to you.