Lenovo is constantly eyeing new device segments, as is evident from its recent foray into the smartphone market and avowed interest in tablets. It has now emerged that the company is working on a video game console called the eBox.
The console is being developed by Beijing Eedoo Technology Ltd., a subsidiary Lenovo established in July. According to Eeedoo's website, the eBox features a Kinect-esque control mechanism. Lenovo hopes to launch the controller-free game console in China before the end of this year. Plans of an overseas launch are also on the cards.
Even though game consoles like the Wii, Xbox 360 and PS3 are yet to be released in China, they are still available through the gray market. Besides, the Chinese market is awash with locally manufactured knockoffs of popular consoles.
Maybe Microsoft isn't losing as much money on consoles as previously thought. According to news and rumor site Fudzilla, cost improvements for the Xbox 360 Slim have the Redmond giant making more money on its console than ever before, which could result in upcoming price cuts.
"According to our sources, it is likely that Microsoft will drop the prices of both the low-end and high-end models by as much as $50 next year," Fudzilla says. "It is already being suggested that the news could come as soon as E3 next year."
What's more, Fudzilla says its sources have also indicated a two-phase price drop for the Kinect. The first is rumored to come when Microsoft drops the Adventures pack-in title, and then another closer to the holiday shopping season in 2011.
If Microsoft’s been your main Kool Aid supplier for the past few months, then the Kinect-centric future of gaming is looking bright indeed. Your piggy bank’s future, however, might not be all sunny skies and rainbows, seeing as Microsoft’s oddly named motion control camera’s sporting a price tag that may just send it squealing for the hills in terror.
For $150, you’ll nab Kinect and a copy of Kinect Adventures, a minigame collection ostensibly created to give you a quick taste of what Kinect can really do. Obviously, that price alone -- while a tad steep – isn’t anything that can’t be surmounted by a few skipped meals and some serious sofa-spelunking. However, you can pick up a Wii bundled with two games and Wii Motion Plus for only $200 – which even puts the now-confirmed 4GB Xbox Arcade/Kinect bundle’s $300 price tag to shame.
Sony’s Move motion controller, meanwhile, tipped the scales at $100, making Microsoft’s motion offering the most expensive of the three. Granted, accuracy, sensitivity, games, and time will tell who really reigns supreme, but we’re not entirely sure if we’re willing to spend $150 on a controller – even if it will let us fiddle around in menus like Tom Cruise in Minority Report. For now, consider us skeptics – although a certain upcoming lightsaber game might be able to Jedi mind trick us into playing an incredibly one-sided match of a game we like to call “Hammers” with our piggy bank.
E3’s been put to bed and tucked in tight, and we’ve given you a pretty good taste of what we saw while we were there. Here’s the thing, though: we only previewed games. Handy, sure, but isn’t there, like, an entire industry surrounding this stuff? So consider this your preview of everything else. Trends, technologies, when we’ll finally catch a glimpse of Half-Life 3 (answer: the day after Duke Nukem Forever comes out), and more!
1. Modern Warfare – I never thought I’d say this, but I sort of miss World War II. Actually, no I don’t, but after realizing that, by now, the number of fictional Middle Eastern countries invented to house fictional videogame terrorist groups probably outnumbers the actual Middle East, I’ve definitely started feeling some fatigue from constantly playing as the boys in fatigues. That, however, didn’t stop E3 from proudly displaying Call of Duty: Black Ops, Spec Ops: The Line, Medal of Honor, and plenty of others cut from the same cloth as Infinity Ward’s opus.
The Forecast: Modern Warfare’s influence has already spread to the most disparate corners of the gaming universe and will continue to do so. Some games won’t even try to dress up their influences (Medal of Honor, I’m looking at you. Oh, wait, is that you Modern Warfare 2? Sorry. Easy Mistake). Others, meanwhile, might try putting a personal spin on the proceedings – like Spec Ops with its choice-based storyline. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Every multiplayer game under the sun – war-based or not – is taking cues from Modern Warfare’s addictive level-up system. Don’t believe me? Try the latest Transformers game. Yeah.
The day before the official start of the Electronic Entertainment Expo, Microsoft, Electronic Arts, and Ubisoft all staged elaborate press conferences to introduce new titles, new franchises, and new hardware.
Microsoft kicked off the set of press conferences with a live 90-minute event in downtown Los Angeles that officially pulled the veil off of its highly anticipated controller-free user interface. Formerly known under the code name Natal, the control scheme is now known as Kinect.
As anticipated, Kinect is fully integrated into the Xbox 360 experience. In Microsoft’s demonstration of the interface, attendees saw voice control of a video library (“Xbox: Pause”) as well as gameplay controls for casual, fitness-oriented, and family games. The AV controls were the most impressive, if only because they will eliminate the scramble for a remote control.
Initially planned solely for the Xbox 360, Microsoft has admitted to contemplating future versions of Kinect for the PC platform. Maximum PC is on the scene at E3 in Los Angeles, and we’ll be investigating this possibility further once the show floor opens on Tuesday morning. We do know that the Kinect device will require its own custom port—it does not use a USB port.
At the end of Microsoft’s press conference, the company surprised the crowd with the announcement of a new Xbox 360 model. This new version will ship with the custom Kinect port mentioned above. It will also feature a 250GB drive, a built-in 802.11n wireless adapter, five USB ports, and according to Microsoft, much more efficient cooling, a lighter power brick, and quieter system noise.
More details to come as we uncover them here in Los Angeles. If you have any special request for games or game-related hardware, post it in the comments and we’ll try to accommodate you.
Speaking of waving things around in your hand (see previous news post), Microsoft has made official the rebadging of Project Natal to Kinect.
Details are still pouring in as E3 gets set to kick off, but a little more was revealed during a Kinect-themed 45-minute theatrical performance by Cirque du Soleil. Most of the new info involved upcoming game titles which, according to USA Today, will include:
Kinectimals: train and play with 20 different types of virtual cats, includng a lion, cheetah, and tiger
Joyride: a racing game where users will position their hands around an imaginary steering wheel
Kinect Sports: six sports games to choose from, including boxing, bowling, volleyball, track and field, soccer, and table tennis
Kinect Adventures: river rafting game
Dance Central: an MTV Games project involving full-body dancing without the need for a controller
Star Wars: probably will involve light saber duels
"For lots of people, that controller is a barrier," says creative director Kudo Tsunoda. "We set out to make a new control paradigm where anybody can get in and play, without having to read the instructions or learn a complicated set of controls."
Kinect's built-in camera will employ facial and voice recognition. You'll be able to control Netflix menus with hand gestures, as well as fast forward though a recorded TV program just by waving your arm about.
Pricing, release date, and other details have yet to be disclosed, though we suspect to know a lot more as the day goes on.