Nintendo Wii Gaming ConsoleNintendo has confirmed it will launch a successor to its popular Wii gaming console in 2012.

As of March, Nintendo has sold 86.01 million Wiis since 2006 when the console was launched. However, in 2010 the company sold only 15.1 million Wiis globally — a 25% drop from 2009 when it sold 20.1 million units.

The company also revealed its yearly financial results for 2010, marking a big drop in net profit — $825 million — 66 percent less than in 2009.

The declining Wii sales paired with the shoddy financial results make this a perfect moment for Nintendo to announce the next version of Wii. A “2012 launch” is as vague as launch dates come, but Nintendo promised to have a playable unit, as well as more details and specifications of the upcoming Wii model, at the E3 Expo, which is June 7-9 in Los Angeles.

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A Couple Kissing Passionately to Control the GameWe sit here stunned, amazed and just a little bit skeptical that artist Hye Yeon Nam has found a way for people to control a bowling video game by French kissing. Kissing and playing video games were just never fun enough on their own, now were they?

Even watching a video of the Kiss Controller in spit-swapping action doesn’t quite make it clear how putting your tongue in the mouth of someone you like can make you a better video game bowler. Thankfully, on her site, artist Hye Yeon Nam explains how things work:

“One person has a magnet on his/her tongue and the other person wears the headset. While they kiss, the person who has the magnet on his/her tongue, controls the direction and speed of the bowling ball for 20 seconds. The goals of this game are to guide the ball so that it maintains an average position in the center of the alley and to increase the speed of the ball by moving the tongue faster while kissing.”

I like this kind of earnest and unexpected experiment. No one’s saying we’ll someday be playing Call of Duty or World of Warcraft while kissing. But if you can control video games by wiggling a joystick, pressing buttons, waving your arms, or talking to a microphone, why not with some smooching. The question is: Who is out there who wants to kiss you while you’re playing a video game?

Video

Kiss Controller from Hye Yeon Nam on Vimeo.

Kiss Controller [Hye Yeon Nam's official site]

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Kinect with Xbox 360 BlackAfter a long wait, Microsoft’s Kinect for the Xbox 360 went on sale in the US yesterday among fanfare and dance party in New York’s Time Square and the company is expecting to sell 5 million of its new controller-free gaming systems this holiday shopping season. We have been waiting and waiting for this little marvel – previously called Project Natal – for months.

Though Microsoft has made us wait for another week as the Kinect will hit the European markets on November 10th, we decided to have a look at what the tech gurus are saying about this small motion sensing camera that is expected to change the future of gaming as we know today. While I was expecting over the top reviews about the Kinect, just like we had very optimistic expectations from the controller, I was really put off to see the complete turn around in the opinions of the opinion makers.

Tim Carmody at the Gadget Lab explained how motion detection works in Xbox Kinect and also believes that it is different from a traditional game controller.

Microsoft Kinect for Xbox 360 02

“A traditional videogame controller is individual and serial: It’s me and whatever I’m controlling on the screen versus you and what you’re controlling. We might play cooperatively, but we’re basically discrete entities isolated from one another, manipulating objects in our hands.

Kinect is something different. It’s communal, continuous and general: a Natural User Interface (or NUI) for multimedia, rather than a GUI for gaming.

But it takes a lot of tech to make an interface like that come together seamlessly and naturally.”

The other technology analysts seem bit disappointed at the moment though mostly because of the price tag of $150 (£93) just for the controller and $50(£31) each for a single game title.

Ross Miller at Engadget believes the Kinect as hardware is great, but there’s plenty of room for software engineers and UI designers to improve. However, he expects Microsoft will continue to pool resources into improving the experience for a good while.

Comparing Sony’s Move, Nintendo’s Wii and Microsoft’s Kinect, he says “By the numbers, picking up Move starter bundle and an extra controller is the same price, and in that setup you also get a two-player experience. Move’s Sports Champions is arguably a stronger bundled title compared to Kinect Adventures. But really, we feel like both systems — along with Nintendo and the Wii — are just taking a different approach to the same issue. Where does interaction go next? How do you bring it to the living room? Back to the Kinect, though: we think there’s some fighting spirit inside that glossy shell, but it’s definitely got a lot of growing up to do first.”

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Confused like hell, Jason Chen at Gizmodo also doesn’t seem much impressed with the game titles available right now and the price tag as he goes on to say “Having only 1 title out of 17 launch games truly do something compelling and new isn’t a very good launch, especially for people who don’t like dance games. Right now, the answer to the fundamental question of “are you having fun with Kinect” is, unfortunately, “not really.” Unless you like dance games. The potential is there, but you need to think of Kinect like the launch of a new console: Wait until the games you really want are available—or maybe even the next generation.”

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Similarly, Ben Kuchera at Ars Technica is also critical of the motion sensor’s high price tag with little selection of games. He also believes that it will not remain a button-free controller and “Microsoft is going to release a Move-style controller for the Kinect within a year or so. Both gamers and developers are going to be frustrated by all the things the hardware can’t do, and they’ll demand a way to interact with games using at least one or two buttons. It’s not a coincidence that so many games at launch are in the same few genres, you know. The hardware simply can’t handle much else.”

There’s one exception though, David Pogue at the New York Times seems optimistic and believes that the Kinect, like Xbox 360, will be the saviour for Microsoft in the hardware and concludes, “the Kinect’s astonishing technology creates a completely new activity that’s social, age-spanning and even athletic. Microsoft owes a huge debt to the Nintendo Wii, yes, but it also deserves huge credit for catapulting the motion-tracking concept into a mind-boggling new dimension. Just this once, the gods have lifted the Curse of the Microsoft Hardware.”

While we trust the opinion of these technology big guns, we’ll keep our fingers crossed and wait to get our hands on the “game changer”.

This post originally appeared on mouse2house blog where I regularly contribute on Technology.

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Angry Birds for iPhoneTraditionally, I didn’t like playing games on my phone. However, with iPhone’s amazing capacitive touchscreen, you can’t resist procrastinating by playing Angry Birds on the iPhone. While the app store is full of colourful and joyous games, we’ve selected the top seven games to save you some time researching.

Angry Birds

Price: $1

Top 7 iPhone Games

Probably the world’s most popular iPhone game, and for good reason. There’s something about launching these different sorts of aviary ammunition into the precarious pig pens that just never gets old. There are always new birds and new stages coming out the pipeline to keep things fresh, too.

The Incident

Price: $2

Top 7 iPhone Games

With excellent pixel art and an admirably morbid sense of humor, twisting your iPhone around to avoid falling objects is way more fun than it sounds. And you have to appreciate anything that makes the apocalypse this enjoyable.

Cut the Rope

Price: $1

Top 7 iPhone Games

Some have called it the heir apparent to Angry Birds for quick, clever, doesn’t-really-ever-get-boring iPhone gameplay—lofty praise, but in many ways deserved! Cutting a rope to swing a candy into a little monsters mouth, avoiding electrical currents and spiders along the way, is quite fun.

Real Racing

Price: $5

Top 7 iPhone Games

It’s just the best racing game out, walking the tightrope between looking highly realistic and being incredibly fun to play. There’s a good selection of cars and tracks and the graphics look wonderful.

Archetype

Price: $1

Top 7 iPhone Games

An exceptionally shiny first person shooter optimized for the iPhone 4, with slick, functional controls. Best of all is the 5 v 5 team deathmatch mode, which is just like the multiplayer action you’re used to on the consoles-including multiple guns, grenades, maps, and medals-except this one you play while you’re sitting on the toilet. $1 (map updates cost extra).

Doodle Jump

Price: $1

Top 7 iPhone Games

You know those people you see standing on the subway or waiting in line at the grocery store clutching their iPhone to their face and tilting their entire body to the side like they’re the leaning tower of Pisa? This is the game they’re playing.

Words With Friends

Free with ads, or $3

Gizmodo's Essential iPhone Apps, October 2010

Why did we, as an iPhone-wielding society, suddenly decide that push-notified Scrabble (or, more specifically, this knock-off) was the most fun to be had with words since Alphabet Soup? That I don’t know. But it is a hell of a lot of fun trying to slot that Triple Word Score against friends, family, and coworkers.

[Via Gizmodo]

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A 22-year-old mother from Jacksonville, Florida, has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for shaking her 3-month-old son to death after his crying interrupted her FarmVille game.

The mother, Alexandra V. Tobias, was arrested in January and declared her plea on Wednesday before Circuit Judge Adrian G. Soud, The Florida Times-Union reports.

She told investigators that she shook the baby, smoked a cigarette “to compose herself,” and proceeded to shake him again. The baby may have hit his head during one of the two shakings, she said.

FarmVille, named one of the “worst inventions” in recent decades by Time magazine, has more than 60 million members, most of whom access the game through Facebook. Some players have found it so addicting that they’ve lost their jobs and racked up debts north of $1,000.

Needless to say, it is Ms. Tobias — and not the game itself — that is responsible for the death of her 3-month-old son. This is not the first time that a virtual game has led to murder; in 2009, 28-year-old Joseph Johnson of Chicago was charged with first-degree murder after allegedly shooting his companion in the head while playing an Xbox game.

[Via Mashable]

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Holiday GiftsWith the 2010 holiday season coming, all the companies in the technology market are gearing up to capture their market share. What’s on your holiday shopping list this year?

If you’re anything like the millions and millions of web users around the world, you might be thinking of purchasing a smartphone, a tablet, a gaming consol or a few other geeky essentials for your friends and loved ones — or even for yourself.

According to data from Hitwise Intelligence, a web and search analysis firm, what we search and browse for leading up to the end-of-the-year holidays has a strong correlation to what we actually buy, both online and in brick-and-mortar stores. This kind of information, while invaluable to retailers and marketers, is also fascinating to us as gadget geeks.

We took a look at market share and web traffic stats from the last week of August; here’s a breakdown of how pre-holiday stats stack up for the most popular consumer electronics products:


Apple Is on a Roll


With major releases throughout the year, Apple’s new iPhone 4, iPad and revamped line of iPods are guaranteed to show strong holiday shopping numbers. This brand grabbed five of the top 20 spots in consumer electronics-related markets for the month of August alone — that amounts to 42.1%.

Most of this attention centers on the iPhone, which launched a new fourth-gen model over the summer, and iPad, which hasn’t stopped making headlines since its debut this spring.

But a healthy amount of consumer interest is also focused on Apple’s new iPods. Many of these bite-sized devices hold more data than ever before and are priced to sell. The iPod shuffle sells for $49, and the new touchscreen, iOS-powered iPod nano starts at $149.

The company also refreshed its MacBook Pro line this year.

In other words, as a hardware manufacturer, Apple had a gangbusters year, rolling out product after product, some of which are entirely new. It would be fatuous to think Apple wouldn’t have an equally gangbusters holiday retail showing.

Still, we’ve been keeping an eye on Android OS’ not-so-slow advance in the mobile market. While this multi-manufacturer platform has a somewhat fragmented set of devices and release dates, we are hearing rumors, “trumors” and verified reports of several exciting, holiday-timed launches. Samsung’s Tab, for example, is an Android-powered tablet that is set to launch later this fall on all four U.S. wireless carriers.

The bottom line is that although Apple is the heavyweight to beat in terms of hardware and gadgets, there’s still plenty of room for other manufacturers and retailers to succeed this holiday season.


Games and Gadgets Make Great Gifts


By far and away, the two most dominant verticals in consumer electronics will be gadgets and gaming.

Gaming consoles as well as the games themselves are generating a huge amount of interest with consumers, and many companies are planning on holiday launches.

Microsoft’s Xbox is taking the lion’s share of consumer interest right now, we feel due in large part to the upcoming launch of Kinect, its controller-free interaction system. Several Mashable staffers got some hands-on (or rather, hands-off) time with Kinect during a visit to Microsoft’s Redmond headquarters; to say we were impressed would be a huge understatement. Kinect’s hardware is priced to sell at $150, and the Kinect bundle will be available to shoppers beginning November 4.

As far as non-Apple gadgets are concerned, HTC’s Desire and Samsung’s Galaxy S line are both performing well. One product that took us by surprise was the Kymera Magic Wand, a gestural remote control that’s half Avatar, half Harry Potter. It’s been available for some time and sells for around $78 (£49.95).


What Are Your Predictions?


So, what’s topping your shopping list (and your wish list) for the 2010 holidays so far? Are you enamored of the new Droids? Are you eyeing the reduced-price Kindles? What games, gadgets and software are most interesting to you right now, and which do you think would make the best gifts?

Let us know in the comments what consumer electronics products are piquing your interest right now, and be sure to give us your holiday 2010 predictions, as well.

(Via Mashable)

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I personally see no point in buying a mobile phone considering the option of how well you can play games on it. One of the reasons for my views has been based on the fact that games for mobile phones especially for Android platform haven’t been that great. The other reason is that handheld gaming consoles like Nintendo’s DS and Sony’s PSP have become very advanced.

But if this news from Engadget is true, I might change my mind. The world is about to see a big surprise from Sony Ericsson: a PlayStation-branded gaming phone, powered by Android 3.0.

Sony Ericsson is “actively and heavily developing a brand new gaming platform, ecosystem, and device (possibly alongside Google) which are already in the late stages of planning,” Engadget quotes a trusted source.

According to Engadget, “the device is described as a cross between the Samsung captivate and the PSP Go.” It supposedly includes a landscape slider complete with PSP-like controls, a touchpad in place of the joystick, a 3.7?-4.1? screen, a 5 megapixel camera and a 1GHz Snapdragon processor. The phone will carry both the Xperia and PlayStation brands.

“On the software side, it looks like the device will be running Gingerbread (Android 3.0) with a phone-specific skin, and there will be a new area of the Android Market specifically for the games,” informs Joshua Topolsky at Engadget.

With such features if this phone ever arrived in the markets, I surely will be one of the early birds to get one.

This post originally appeared on Mouse2house blog where I regularly contribute on Technology

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