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.

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“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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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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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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And you thought your Driving Force GT was pricey. Thrustmaster is today introducing its newest gaming accessory, a startlingly expensive new racing wheel designed to give PlayStation 3 and PC gamers the chance to feel as if they truly are screaming ahead in hopes of being first to fly under the checkered flag.

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PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360

Life would be a lot simpler without expectations. Expectations lead to disappointment, disappointment leads to despair, and despair leads to you vowing never to watch an Indiana Jones film again.

This is why it was with some trepidation that I approached the task of reviewing Final Fantasy XIII, which is out next week. The series – particularly iterations seven and eight – has provided me with many of my

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