Microsoft just started off e3 with a bang with their press briefing. They unveiled the games lineup for Kinect. 15 launch titles, with many focusing on getting up and moving.
Your Shape from Ubisoft was a highlight aimed directly at the WiiFit audience. I think strong support with variety of exercises will allow that game to blossom.
The biggest response for a Kinect game came for Harmonix’ Dance Central. Finally a game that recognizes your dance moves. DDR captivated millions for years, but it wasn’t really dancing. I think if anyone can take the throne, the creators of Rock Band can do it. Already showcasing a bunch of hit songs, they will get support from artists. Seems like a can’t lose.
The overall Kinect showcase was met with expected results. Lots of casual/party games and nothing we didn’t expect. MS may have missed an opportunity to showcase a “core” game utilizing Kinect features.
For those of you who do not know what Kinect is. It is a sophisticated web camera add-on to the existing XBOX360 console. Equipped with a mic it can also detect voice commands. The demo showed didn’t get a great response because it was being used during Microsoft’s failing Zune branding. But you can say things like “XBOX Stop”, “XBOX Play”, “XBOX Rewind” for commands. If you want to fast forward in a song or movie, you just use your hands to grab the play head and scrub left or right. Pretty cool, but is it necessary?
For me, the biggest announcement was the exclusive partnership with ESPN programming. Via XBOX Live, users can watch any of ESPN’s live events and interact with the programming by dialing up replays, trivia, voice chat etc. This give users another reason to go without cable. Live sports has to be one of the biggest reasons many people subscribe to cable. Now with the XBOX, I can watch movies/tv shows via Netflix and then Sports on ESPN. Not much left for regular TV.
Microsoft ended the briefing with the announcement of a new slimmed down XBOX360 console. Replacing the current “system” starting today in stores. The console will retail for the same price as the highest end model, come with a 250gb hard drive, and support Wi-Fi. Now is definitely the time to get one.
The excitement is only beginning for this week of games. Stay tuned to DigiSoup for more insights and news.