E3; Ubisoft vs EA

On the first day of E3 as well as the explosive fallout from this latest console war EA & Ubisoft had their own talks which covered some of the games to come in the next year that neither Xbox nor Sony got around to, so here’s a look at what may have been missed:

EA
EA:
EA started out with what seemed a very serious almost over the top teaser to what looked like it may have been the next Battlefield only to have the wool pulled from our eyes to reveal it was actually Plants Vs Zombies: Garden Warfare, a 4 player co-op 3rd person wave survival game. Players get to play as several different plants all that have their own specialisation e.g. the Peashooter – essentially your average grunt, the Cactus – the PVZ version of a sniper and so on.
EA then moved onto Titanfall – See my previous post for more info on this game.
In incredibly large news that had the entire audience clamouring for more was the unfairly short teaser for the next Battlefront game, something I am looking forward to seeing as I’ve never played the previous versions despite how popular they are. This next BF game will be coming probably 2015 or AT BEST late 2014 and is being made by DICE so hopefully we’ll be able to have fully destructible Deathstars and the like.
The next Need for Speed  game was announced and is called Rivals, something interesting about this new NFS game is the `All Drive` multiplayer, it sounds like an open world full of players where games happen by chance and collision. One awesome thing about the talk was that Aaron Paul came out to talk briefly about the NFS movie soon to be out.
In truly awesome news Dragon Age: Inquisition was shown off and it looks truly awesome, a vast open world which is supposedly much larger than the previous iterations of DA.
EA sports then came out afterward to run off their list of yearly releases, NBA, NFL, FIFA (for which Drake was brought out for no apparent reason :| ) and also UFC which was initially announced by the hype man Bruce Buffer which I thought was actually a cool funny gag to use, however the talk did get weird as 2 champions were brought out for no reason, just like Drake, and Dana White got weirdly `Macho`. However in terms of the game one feature did sound cool, it’s called MMAI which essentially means on the fly change in tactics from enemy AI as if they had a real Corner Man telling them what to stop you from doing, hopefully this’ll make for some more fun & challenging fights.
EA then showed off Battlefield 4 and their Commander Mode – a top down view for mobile devices to help out in multiplayer matches. The demo they did was much better than the one at Xbox mainly due to the fact they actually had 64 people demoing the game. It looked incredibly dynamic in terms of game play as they were able to take out a pillar underground and the tank on the street fell through, so hopefully maps are full of these little awesome traps.
Rounding off the EA talk they announced Mirrors Edge 2, in the short piece they showed off you could see the same wonderful minimal style in terms of colour that makes the game stick out so much. The only annoying thing was the last screen image “Coming….. When it’s ready”. I felt a little annoyed here as even though it’ll probably be late 2014 or at worst 2015 I’d still want a date to look forward to, but then maybe this is just to hopefully avoid push-backs.

battlefield battlefront dragon age mirrors edge
In order: Battlefield 4, Battlefront (believe me there wasn’t much in that teaser), Dragon Age: Inquisition, Mirrors Edge 2

Ubisoft
Ubisoft:
Ubisoft started out their talk with Rocksmith being demonstrated by Alice In Chains, a cool feature is that the game band reacts to you. The tag line that was repeated was “The fastest way to learn guitar”. It was a fairly impressive display if quite over the top, but then again this is E3 and Over the Top is all part and parcel.
Aisha Tyler was hosting the talk and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want H. Jon Benjamin to come out shouting “lana, Lana! LANA!”, unfortunately this didn’t happen.
Anyway they then moved onto Splinter Cell Blacklist, however not much was actually said about it, I feel Ubisoft put it in just to remind people that it’s coming soon.
However they then moved onto Rayman Legends, it has the same classic look & feel to it, now with daily challenges and some competitive fun such as racing against `ghosts` of your friends or playing football.
Then came a game I’d heard nothing about but looked amazing which was Might Quest for Epic Loot, essentially you get to build a castle and fill it with mobs and such before choosing a hero, then you get to rob friends & strangers alike (and vice versa). So you’re objective is obviously to steal peoples loot whilst defending your own. It wasn’t very clear if you could then use said loot to improve your castle or gear for next time you go looting. Either way it looks an awesome game and a must buy.
Then Ubisoft quickly reminded the audience of the hopefully soon to come South Park the Stick of Truth via a little clip of a move called the Nagasaki Fart… yea on odd one but classic South Park humour.
Ubisoft then moved onto an interesting new game with a new take on the 4 player heavy co-op games (i.e. payday, Left for Dead) called The Crew. You play as one in a four player car heist crew. It has fully customisable cars in an Online persistent world, you can compete against other crews, work as a team or work singularly. Each style of car has specific types of goals and challenges for you to complete.
Next up on stage was Watch Dogs & Assassins Creed 4 – See my previous article for the read up on the live demo at the Sony conference.
In awesome news the team behind Trials are releasing 2 new games called Trails Fusion and Frontier for Next Gen & Mobile, respectively. In the short show of gameplay the player got points for tricks which may point to a new game type where you trick as much instead of just flips or racing. Both versions are meant to work & compliment each other.
To round off the Ubisoft conference they showed off a new Open world online RPG which is based on the idea of our fragile & delicate systems that the world currently runs on and what would happen if a new dangerous pathogen broke out and the modern world collapsed. It’s called The Division and is a Tom Clancy game, truly looks amazing and a must buy.

mqfel the crew the division trials fusion
In order: The Might Quest for Epic Loot, The Crew, The Division, Trials Fusion.

So that wraps up all of day one pretty much. In the next week or so I’ll be doing some more pieces in depth on some of the games, grouping maybe 3 or so into one article.
Thanks so much for reading and I hope you enjoyed this E3.

Fred Garrett-Jones
https://twitter.com/magicalfunbus
http://willza99.wordpress.com/

E3 Day 1; The Console War!

Another E3 has once again arrived and the first day has blasted it’s way to the front page of a lot of tech news as we see the `Console War` progress and possibly climax with its next victor.
The first day of E3 was split into 4 major talks, Microsoft, EA, Ubisoft and Sony to round off the day. So lets dive into the first section.
Microsoft
Microsoft;

Microsoft started out their obnoxiously green talk with a little surprise from Konami & Kojima by showing the highly anticipated Metal Gear Solid 5, and open world Afghanistan based game with a plethora of transport options from horses to tanks. The open world mechanics present in the next MGS allows for far more play options for both stealth and aggressive maneuvers and is definitely something to look forward to.
Next up was a surprising announcement that the Xbox 360 would receive another redesign. So from the original 360 we then got; The Elite, The Slim and now this, designed to a similar standard as `The One`, as I call it. This new design is supposedly more sleek and quiet than its predecessor and has possibly been released due to part of the gaming community calling out for blood with the new Online check-ins and such that Microsoft is integrating – On a side note, something that I find very odd everyone is complaining about, these are people with smartphones and tablets yet they hate the idea of having to have their console have an internet connection?
Anyway here is the new 360 and god knows what its name is, 361?
New 360
Microsoft then went onto talk about Gold memberships and the changes to be made there, first off 2 free games are going to be given away each month to everyone new and old to Xbox Gold starting with Assassins Creed 2 and Halo 3, Gold will now having sharing capabilities within your household so that if your child/spouse/friends have a silver account but you have gold then they get access to many gold features. Also there will no longer be the old fashioned 100 friends cap, it has been removed entirely allowing you to make more friends with people you don’t know.
Before launching into games I’ll just round off other news brought to light; Xbox now has a partnership with Twitch.Tv so you can stream gameplay on The One, something I personally find interesting as during the holidays I do enjoy streaming with friends; Microsoft will no longer be supporting Microsoft Points but instead purchases will be made with your local currency. A new tool called Upload Studio has been implemented where you can personalise clips, give them thumbnails, edit them (although to what degree wasn’t shown in detail) and then upload them for all your friends to see, this works much like the Share button that the PS4 implemented.
360twitch
Now to list off all the games that Microsoft showed at their talk, remember this is not a full list of Microsoft games, many are exclusives and I will try to say which ones are and are not. So here we go;
SpliterCell blacklist which has been shown everywhere for a while – for more info there will be a later post on the Ubisoft talk in the future
Batman Arkham Origins – The MS talk didn’t show this game off that much but this was readdressed in the PS talk later on and it looks to be one hell of a gritty fun Batman game even though Rocksteady aren’t involved in the 3rd of this epic trilogy. it does however I feel fall prey to the issues of many prequel games which is; It has much better awesome gadgets (because the game series has progressed, users need something new) but it’s better and more advanced so why isn’t it in the `future` games.
Grand Theft Auto 5 which is coming out soon in September.
World of Tanks is coming from the PC now to Xbox so fans of this apparently big hitter may be glad to see a port over to consoles. EXCLUSIVE
Max: Curse of Brotherhood – you play as a child who banished his brother to another realm and must save him, with some quite nice cartoony graphics it looks to be something fun and light to play.
DarkSouls 2 – The epic trailer to this game merely made me even more sad at the fact i’ve still not played let alone finished Dark Souls 1.
Ryse – you play as a Roman Soldier, the gameplay showed off real time fighting but with quick time events thrown in to finish off enemies, I worry this may get a little repetitive and boring as the game progresses. Also I’m sad as originally this game was meant to be a kinect heavy game where as now its rumoured that it’ll only be kinect enhanced, whether that means voice commands I don’t know. EXCLUSIVE
Killer Instinct – This is the game that is being streamed above, a standard fighter with a similar art style to StreetFighter I feel, all the same looks incredibly fun. EXCLUSIVE
SunSet Overdrive – This is a heavily stylised FPS with Openworld that has a cool cartoon look to it with very vibrant colouring, it sounded like the game would be updated frequently with things like daily challenges and other treats to enhance gameplay and change the way you think constantly. EXCLUSIVE
Quantum Break – In this game time freezes and slows in confined areas, meaning you could walk in on an event that had frozen such as an explosion, this game supposedly blurs the line between TV and Games (which in my personal opinion isn’t good, games are their own medium and shouldn’t be trying to copy old technology). EXCLUSIVE
Spark – A game where you can create a world with kinect or smartglass, even villages and enemies. You can even give personalities to items such as giving a rock the personality of a pet, so that whenever you are in a certain range, it bounces and runs toward your character. It was presented in an odd manner but the gameplay stood out and looked amazing, definitely one to buy. EXCLUSIVE
Deadrising 3 – You play Nick Ramos in an open world with absolutely no load times (such a fun perk in games), the same on the fly weapon customisation is still in place and smart glass plays a roll too by allowing for help from other players online. Definitely an awesome game and hopefully there’s plenty more to be revealed.
Witcher 3 – A huge free roaming, 100+ hour game with kinect voice commands to help with quick swaps of equipment or even saying incantations for magic spells.
Battlefield 4 – This actually went wrong at the talk and the speaker nearly walked off stage until luckily the demo started playing – see more later when I talk about the EA talk
TitanFall – A new IP, an FPS game that involves huge Mechs you can get in and control, jetpacks that create a more fun 3d traversable environment and some awesome multiplayer from the looks of the demo, definitely one to purchase. EXCLUSIVE
And Finally HALO 5 – Only a small teaser was shown of the Master Chief walking through a dusty planet before a huge forerunner mech appears from out of the sand. Apparently the first game to run at 60FPS on Console, a definite buy for any old Xbox Fans.
Spark Titanfall Halo5SSO In order; Project Spark (world creation early stage), Titanfall (beginning of a mission), Halo 5 (teaser), Sunset Overdrive (trailer).

Playstation
SONY:
Sony started out their talk by talking about the PS Vita, it has 85 titles coming to it including Final Fantasy 10 and 10 part 2, God of War HD 1 & 2, Killzone Mercenary & Tearaway. As an old FFX fan I nearly ordered a vita there and then.
Sony talked alot more about games throughout and left most of the new tech stuff until the end, apart from the PS4 design (hold on, I’m getting there).
They went on to talk about some of the large games coming to the PS3 and Next Gen including Last Of Us which continues to get 10/10 ratings (EXCLUSIVE), Rain which looked an odd and almost depressing game that I wish they’d said more about (EXCLUSIVE), Beyond 2 Souls where they showed Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe (who is just the creepiest looking man even in game), the gameplay looked interesting, showing Ellen going through training before being assigned the mission to take down a Warlord (EXCLUSIVE), and a better and improved Batman: Arkham Origins trailer showing Bane, Deadshot, Deathstroke and Blackmask (EXCLUSIVE CONTENT e.g. Batman Skins).
Sony then went onto answer the major question burning in everyones mind; “What does the PS4 look like?”. Well, a little something like this:
PS4
with a slight slant in the design the PS4 reminds me of my old PS2 and doesn’t look that far off The One (which makes me laugh at everyone who said The One looked stupid) in terms of general design. Sony then went onto talk about how Sony Pictures were working on a new plan to bring entertainment to the PS Network including Music & Video unlimited, both of which are available day 1 of release for PS4. Also Redbox will be coming to the PS4 for all their US customers and Flixster will be coming later in Autumn.
The PS4 will be released 399 Dollars/Euros, and 349 Pounds possibly near November along side The One.
From there on out the talk remained focused on games both large and small with a little slip being made that PS will support Self-Publishing Content from Indies and the like and also that the PS4 will use Gaikai to stream PS3 games on the PS4 (providing they stream FFX HD and the Jak & Daxter HD Trilogy I’ll definitely be buying a PS4).
So lets run through the Sony games that were put on display;
The Order – A steampunk victorian england where you play as possibly 4 players against some unknown large gangly creatures (possibly werewolves, I couldn’t tell). EXCLUSIVE
Killzone Shadowfall – With awesome action & gus on display as well as some cool gadgets this game only continued to sell me on PS4. EXCLUSIVE
Infamous Second Son – A cool game where you have supernatural powers that seem to revolve mainly around fire – hopefully there’ll be some other powers later in game.
Knack – This wan’t spoken about much but a little teaser was shown.
Super Giant Games showed off their next hit Transistor – same isometric view as Bastion but with a few new art styles in certain places in the game, it looks to be a hopefully great hit from Super Giant.
Don’t Starve, Mercenary Kings, OctoDad, Secret Ponchos, Ray’s the Dead, Outlast, New n’ Tasty Oddworld (HD remake) and Galax-Z were a bunch of indie games that are also coming to PS4.
Diablo 3 – This wasn’t shown but there was talk about exclusive items from other playstation games which is an awesome little touch.
Kingdom of Hearts 3 – Not much was shown but it has the same cool cartoon-esque graphic style fans will be familiar with.
Assassins Creed 4 – The live demo gave a little look into the next AC and it looks a hell of alot better than its predecessor (which I’m struggling to complete as I hate it), this looks to have some fun Jungles and busy towns (unlike AC3 where there were near no buildings).
Watch Dogs – Another Live demo (something which Sony did very well), it showed driving around the world which was very beautiful, the game looked open with options allowing for some very smart play and also allowing help from Mobile players on their tablets to make your mission easier.
Mad Max – Only a teaser but all the same the game looked cool and had a similar wasteland art style that reminded me of Rage the ID software game.

Beyond2Souls KillzoneShadowfall NewnTasty WatchDogs In Order; Beyond 2 Souls, Killzone ShadowFall, New ‘n’ Tasty, Watch Dogs.

That pretty much wraps up the major talking points about the 2 warring Consoles and on a personal note I feel that although I’d love some of the Kinect functionality and the Twitch.TV partnership Playstation may have won me over. If I buy a console at all however is another question, as a PC owner Steam wins every time as it’s cheap as hell.
The major feeling across the gaming network however is the same as mine, Playstation seems to have won this Console War, so hats off to you Sony, well done you avoided the pitfalls you made with the PS3, unfortunately Microsoft didn’t.

Thanks for reading and keeping looking here for more on some of the games being shown off at E3. Soon to come Ubisoft & EA talks.
Thanks again.

Fred Garrett-Jones
https://twitter.com/magicalfunbus
http://willza99.wordpress.com/

Geeks Have landed Interview: EnGeniux’s Derrick Samuels, Creator of EVO and OTON

If you recall, I did an article previously regarding a new console called the OTON X that apparently has the ability to self-generate games. I’ve been finding it hard to believe that something like this could be a legitimate product and I’ve doubted its quality, but my recent interview with CEO and Founder of EnGeniux Derrick Samuels has made me a believer.

So Derrick, how long was OTON in development?

First, thanks for giving us this opportunity to discuss OTON! The idea for OTON has spanned over 4 years off and on in various developmental stages. From day one I was intrigued and excited about the concept. To this day I still have the same fire and passion as the system slowly takes form.

You’ve claimed the OTON X has the ability to self-generate games. I’m sure you can understand the hesitation a lot of readers may have, considering it sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie. How exactly is this little console able to do what huge teams of educated developers and programmers do?

Great question. I can understand the shock and awe idea of a console that can self-generate games. I want people to understand that with 10 years in the gaming space I have gained a tremendous amount of experience. It was trial and error to develop the innovation behind OTON. I developed an algorithm with my development team that does most of the heavy lifting to create games. It’s not a matter of just education and huge development teams but a desire to truly do something new, innovative and revolutionary to compete with the big 3 consoles. Similar to Red Hat Linux, I had to change the battlefield to suit us and not play the tradition console business model which would surely spell doom for a start-up.

Isn’t there a worry of a lack of originality in some of these games the OTON will be producing? Does the OTON really have the ability to create an FPS (first person shooter) game then turn around and make a completely different style of game like an RPG (role playing game)?

I hear gamers saying current games lack originality, but with OTON we dig deeper into what makes a game a game. Short answer . . .OTON works on the principal of the attributes of games like the character, the goals and level challenges and so on. So I think we can get a mix of many different configurations. FPS and RPG games are doable with OTON as we expand the platform.

How much responsibility do you credit the announcement of the OUYA (and its record breaking Kickstarter campaign) in the decision to move away from the Android console to something entirely unique?

I think Ouya is a great console for its designed purpose. I give the Ouya some credit toward pushing me toward going into OTON development full time. We had no choice in the matter once Ouya arrived. What some people don’t know is our EVO 2 Android console was announced maybe a full year before Ouya http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EVO_Smart_Console or just search for EVO 2 press release.

We had people saying we copied Ouya with OTON, but the fact is OTON is an entirely different type of console. There is no respect or pride in copying someone else’s work. Everything I developed was created and designed by me. So yes . . . Ouya was the catalyst that triggered the birth of OTON. I wanted to show the industry peers we may be small and from Alabama, but our passion to create something exciting and new is what we live by.

EVO 2 (Press Date)
Published on Tuesday, 14 June 2011
http://www.droidgamers.com/index.php/game-news/hardware-a-devices/1766-envisions-opens-up-gamebox-service-offers-a-free-evo-2-android-gaming-console

You’re also the creator of the EVO console we all remember from four or five years back. A successor to the console was in the works last year but has since been cancelled if I’m correct. One intriguing aspects of the EVO 2 was its Android compatibility. With mobile platforms on the rise, will OTON have that same Android compatibility upon its release?

Yes, not only will OTON self-generate games but it will support Android games, Linux games and 3rd party games. We cancelled EVO 2 after we realized we had to up the game stakes. You won’t last long in the business if you can’t have an innovative idea to challenge the big 3 consoles. So we decided to move forward with OTON and send emails to inform our community.

With such a strong interest in the mobile market, will OTON have a long life cycle similar to consoles or will owners be looking at more frequent cycles similar to that of smart phones?

That’s a great question. I would say a 3 to 4 year life cycle at this point, but this could change once we test and demo OTON chipset.

One of the more intriguing aspects of the OTON is its ability to project games onto any surface with the custom environment creation simulator. What led you to want to include laser projection into the OTON?

I come from an era of Nintendo with R.O.B the robot. The first NES is still fresh in my mind and the excitement and appeal of that system is something of an inspiration to me. With OTON we wanted to bring the fun, the excitement and wonder back to game consoles. To me . . . we keep getting the same stuff over with nothing truly new. Okay, you have pretty graphics, I understand that – but where is the value, the excitement? The strategy is simple. Give people value. When the console is not in use for games use it for a projector for movies or business. Value is the bottom line.

Motion and voice controls are something we’re all surprised to see this console. It’s no secret that motion and voice controls are becoming more popular as time goes on. Will the OTON have a separate camera/microphone accessory and will they come with the system at launch or be sold separate afterwards?

My vision, my hope is to integrate the rear projection and the front motion camera into the deluxe OTON unit. All this is exciting but we must have the audience on board to show the camera vendors we have a market. I’m excited and really hope we can achieve this goal.

So where do you think the console’s greatest competition will come from in the forthcoming generation?

No disrespect to the other consoles but OTON was designed to be a completely different type of console. I designed this console to compete with the market, but also to be strong enough to be a few generations ahead of the ball game. You see . . . I’ve been in this market for years and we have the battle scars to prove it. You will not be #1 in this market with short-term thinking and goals. The big 3 mean business and have a legion of fans. We have to earn that respect too, but more importantly you have to convince mom that your system is going to bring the most value. So with OTON I think we’ve done that, but look what else we did . . . we made it awesome for developers, gamers, retail and businesses to be successful with our platform. I see new consoles coming on line all the time, but they must overcome these challenges to survive.

Aside from this revolutionary OS, will the OTON bring anything else new to the table?

Oh yes. There is more to OTON! A lot more. I learned from watching many console launches and marketing that you better bring your “A” game to compete! I can’t say what else we have on the table until I unveil the OTON X console for our crowdfunding in a few weeks. I’m a bit hesitatant to announce new ideas because we had such an uproar over our system . . . it’s strange that people can’t grasp an autonomous console, but we have autonomous cars, robots, refrigerators and parking garages. If you can’t handle the console, you may want to step back because my next move will be game changer! Then I can truly say “Geeks Have Landed!”

I appreciate the opportunity to share our thoughts on OTON. Thank you.

Getting Real About the War on Drugs via Gaming

At GametheNews.net we turn news into games. In reflecting the world around us a singer might write a song, a filmmaker produces a documentary and a journalist writes an article, as games developers we express our interest via games. Just because our form of expression is through games doesn’t mean that we take the subject any less seriously. We’ve just released our latest newsgame called NarcoGuerra which looks at the War on Drugs. It’s an apt time to highlight the issue. Recently the Organization of American States launched a groundbreaking report exploring alternatives to the war on drugs.

If you are new to newsgames, they are a type of game that explores news and current affairs. The game looks at the ongoing conflict from the perspective of the Mexican authorities trying to stamp out the drug trade within that embattled country. In the game the player must attempt to retake Mexico’s regions from cartels while also dealing with corruption within the police force itself.

If you are new to the War on Drugs here’s a summary. In our research for the game we approached Transform Drug Policy Foundation and discovered that it’s not a war we can win because its not really a war at all. That was one of the things we wanted to explore with NarcoGuerra. What games can be good at is simulating systems such as the ebb and flow of the War on Drugs. What interested me as a games designer was the dynamic of the situation which meant that success created failure; if the police are effective in stopping the supply of drugs then the street price goes up because demand is a constant. But as the price goes up so more gangs enter the market because there is more money to be made.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9W8LiYAR3hA?rel=0]

All we have done is place that dynamic into a game-simulation environment and allow the player to interact with it. We’ve challenged them to see if they can end this seemingly unending war.
Loads of games frame their interaction with a war/military type mode of play – we wanted to, well, play with that expectation. So we’ve created what will be a familiar framing for fellow gamers; a strategy game. To allow the gameplay a bit of leeway we also included a mode that does not have this dynamic linked up, where it is possible to win the War on Drugs. We felt it would be interesting to include a bit of the make-believe that some politicians and many others have been pushing for decades; that this is a war and that it can be won. After all, as the designer of a number of games set in fictional universes, I’m well versed in building black-and-white worlds of goodies, baddies and happily ever after. What is a newer experience for me, is to explore real world dynamics and I’d like to invite those same politicians who still think we’re in that make-believe world to join the rest of us in reality and start to explore solutions that acknowledge it never was a war and so can’t be won as such.

You can find out more about the game here. You can also find out more about the sources we used to create the game here.

The Xbox One – more than just a games console?

xbox1

After an endless stream of rumours and hype, Microsoft has finally revealed the successor to its highly-popular video games console the Xbox 360 – the Xbox One.
Revealed to a packed audience at a specially-constructed Microsoft base in Redmond, Washington, gamers were given their first peek of one of the big players in the next major battle of the console war.

In case you missed it, you can see the full reveal, complete with intriguing partnerships and brand-new games packed with crisp graphics, through this link. However, those who did catch the unveiling are likely to be musing at how Microsoft is taking gaming away from solely a gamepad.
Here is a glimpse at how the Xbox One could soon be the main vocal point of your living room and beyond:
xbox2

Outside of the launch of the three main video game consoles of the last generation – the Xbox 360, Sony’s PlayStation 3 and the Nintendo Wii – arguably the most intriguing technology in the industry was Xbox Kinect.
Whereas motion-sensor concepts by Sony and Nintendo required you to always have a remote in your hand in order to interact with a virtual world, Microsoft gave you the option to actually become the controller.

However, the intrigue soon gave way for some disappointment when Kinect was released worldwide in 2010. Initially, the gadget was laggy and unreliable, while requiring you to have a considerable amount of space in your home to actually use it. Even when things picked up for the device, there was little support in the form of AAA games to once again peak interest.
With the new Kinect though, which will be bundled with the Xbox One at launch later this year, it appears that improvements are being made to the device across the board.
For starters, the enhanced Kinect sensor is now able to pick up the movements of 25 joints in the human body, right down to a subtle lean in the spine or a slight shrug of the shoulders – great for navigating the Xbox One’s homepage or playing a game controller-free then.
Furthermore, the gadget’s camera is able to create an image of a gamer that is detailed to the point where a shirt’s wrinkles and buttons can be passed over into a virtual reality seamlessly.

As Phil Harrison, a corporate vice president at Microsoft, mused to Eurogamer in an exclusive interview: “So with Xbox One, what we did with the Xbox One Kinect sensor is totally redesign it, so it’s wider field of view, it has new technology to detect motion in the room, it has a more sophisticated sound and voice recognition system, which dramatically improves the fidelity, precision and accuracy of Kinect compared to Kinect for 360.”

Xbox SmartGlass to learn a few new tricks

Microsoft certainly changed the landscape of video games last year, when it launched Xbox SmartGlass. An application that can link an Xbox 360 up with a device powered by Android, iOS or Windows, the strategy has worked to enable entertainment to become much more interactive.

At the Xbox One unveiling though, Microsoft showcased the next-generation of Xbox SmartGlass.
Just say you have a Samsung Galaxy S4 with the app downloaded then. By using your smartphone’s stylus pen, which can be purchased at affordable prices as part of Mobile Madhouse’s excellent Samsung Galaxy S4 accessories range, you will have the power to switch channels on live TV without ever needing to lift up a remote or controller.

Mind you, Xbox SmartGlass has always been hailed as offering users with “second screen content”, and this is not going to change any time soon. If you are watching NBA on your Xbox One, to take the example shown at the reveal event, you will now have the opportunity to see your fantasy sports league being updated on your smartphone every time the score changes.

Microsoft Studios’ corporate vice president, Phil Spencer, summed up to IGN: “Xbox One was designed from the beginning understanding that multiple devices in the family room exist. Some of those devices may leave the family room and still want to remain connected to the experience.

“People might have multiple devices and have multiple players in the room who actually want to interact with the experience on-screen with their own private screen or they might want to play and have their own data. It was definitely a design criteria from the beginning for us because we’ve seen the usage of SmartGlass as very strong on the 360.”

Much more will be revealed regarding the Xbox One at Microsoft’s E3 2013 press conference on June 10th.

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