The tech behind Kinect and how it will control your living room

LOS ANGELES -- At first I thought I had misunderstood him, so I made sure to reply slowly. "So you're saying Kinect is going to blast IR signals at your living room, and they're going to reflect off walls and stuff and bounce back to control all of your devices?"

"That's correct," Marc Whitten said.

"Whoa," I replied.

"Kinect has a really powerful management of that energy," he explained. "It's just light," he went on, "but it just exists in a different spectrum." I … Read more

I tested the Virtuix Omni and my knees, hands, and elbows lived to tell the tale (hands/feet-on)

LOS ANGELES -- I did not fall! No, really. I didn't (just watch the video). Falling was my biggest fear when I booked a meeting last week to see the Virtuix Omni, an omnidirectional, low-friction surface that allows you to move around in a virtual environment (using the Oculus Rift) without (seriously) endangering yourself, your coffee table, or others.

Hold on! The Omni is about 4 to 5 feet in diameter and is sloped toward its center. It's a low-friction surface with a narrowly grooved exterior. A circular handle surrounds your waist, affording you a degree of much-needed … Read more

Microsoft's Marc Whitten on why Xbox One offers a better value

LOS ANGELES -- Marc Whitten thinks the Xbox One provides an overall better value than the competition.

"I believe we're delivering an immense value," he explained to me at a meeting within Microsoft's booth at E3 2013. The Microsoft corporate vice president and chief product officer for Xbox believes that when you consider everything Xbox One is offering -- with its lineup of exclusive titles and ambitious live TV integration -- there's enough justification for spending the extra $100 come this holiday season.

The company's direct console gaming competitor, Sony, undercut Xbox One by $… Read more

Forget the new Kinect, what happened with the original?

LOS ANGELES -- So when is that cool, killer game arriving for my Xbox 360 Kinect?

With all the noise about the upcoming Xbox One, the new Kinect, and now a hefty slate of next-generation games unveiled here at E3 on Monday, it's glaring just how little attention was paid to the original Kinect.

Microsoft, you remember the Kinect, right? It's the original motion sensor peripheral that helped reinvigorate sales of the Xbox 360 and add a few years to the lifespan of the console. It was an unmitigated success from a sales perspective, as 24 million units of the peripheral have been soldRead more

Microsoft's game plan for E3 2013: Damage control

Microsoft's pre-E3 Xbox One reveal event in Redmond, Wash., wasn't a presentation targeted at gamers. In fact, most gamers hated it. Why? Because Microsoft used the opportunity to boast about the Xbox One's live TV integration and the seamless experience it will supposedly provide.

That mantra won't fly at E3 2013 in Los Angeles, where the priority is always games. The company teased with some details about what the Xbox One's gaming future will look like, but as of now it's still mostly unknown.

Here's a preview of what Microsoft needs to accomplish … Read more

E3 has lost its game

LOS ANGELES--As E3 2012 shuts its doors, we're not entirely sure we ever want them to open up again. Scott and Jeff spent a day going to press conferences and two full days on the show floor. It wasn't pretty and what follows is a brutally honest take on the show.… Read more

Microsoft aims for the jugular with Xbox ecosystem

LOS ANGELES--It's been a big year for the people behind Microsoft's Xbox 360 video game console, and its growing ecosystem. Month after month, the machine tops the console sales charts, and it boasts some of the most anticipated exclusive games in the industry.

This week, of course, the Xbox team is cheek-by-jowl with all of its partners and developers, and its competitors. It's E3 week, after all. And at its Monday media briefing, and at its mammoth booth at the Los Angeles Convention Center here, Microsoft has been touting its latest attempts at separating the Xbox from … Read more

Hands-on with Madden 13 at E3: Kinect's killer app

Normally, a new version of EA Sports' Madden Football is an E3 non-event. Not so at E3 2012: in fact, it became a sort of poster-child for future-forward gaming.

Admittedly, the second-screen Madden prototypes on Xbox SmartGlass shown briefly at Microsoft's press conference aren't real (yet), but Madden 13 does feature integrated Kinect features and completely new player physics, dubbed Infinity Engine.

The most interesting part of the Madden's Kinect feature-set is that it doesn't use the camera: instead, it relies on voice commands as a way of controlling pre-snap adjustments on offense and defense. Joe Montana seemed to pull it off well during Microsoft's keynote, but I needed proof. I tried it in a relatively quiet E3 show floor booth, and it not only worked, but it could end up being a feature I actually use. … Read more

Five lessons from E3 2012

LOS ANGELES--I've lost track of how many E3 shows I've been to. It doesn't matter. What's important is that the show used to be larger, more vibrant...and more relevant. What happened?

If you boil down this year's show, new hardware was scarce and new software didn't fill the gap. Still, trends were present and lessons, too, that I hope get applied to next year's show. Yes, it was an odd year this year. … Read more

E3 2012: Five trends that will change video games

It's unlikely that E3 2012 will go down as one of the more newsworthy installments of this annual trade show. But, while we may lack blockbuster news (or many must-play games), there are several trends on display that paint a clear picture about what kinds of games and interactive entertainment experiences are coming over the next several years.

Hardware doesn't drive the business anymore Gamers should get used to the idea of a longer wait between new consoles. The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 are well past the half-decade mark, with not a hint of future versions at E3 this year. Nintendo's Wii U is more evolution than revolution, making use of the original Wii's controllers and accessories, and much of the same industrial and UI design.

And guess what? Both gamers and the professional industry watchers attending E3 are just fine with that. New games still look great, even if they don't look noticeably better than last year or the year before. And adding new accessories, such as Kinect, or new features, such as SmartGlass or streaming live TV, offer more bang for the buck than faster processors or GPUs. … Read more