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The next-generation console round-up

November 28, 2006 The next generation of gaming is either here, or just around the corner depending on your geographical location. The three heavyweight contenders are Microsoft XBOX 360, Sony PS3 and Nintendo Wii - each with their own varying idea of what gamers want for their dough...and with the high price of entry, and launch-period supply issues, we can't blame you if you haven't chosen a side yet. If you're looking at an extravagant gift for yourself, junior, or the whole family this Christmas, our games expert has assembled a two-minute guide to help you make an informed decision.  Read More

The Future of TV – midday primetime, 5 second ads, shorter more concise everything, snacka...

November 11, 2006 Personalization and interactivity will be the key drivers of mobile TV according to a new report commissioned by Nokia and conducted by Dr Shani Orgad from the London School of Economics. The report, titled 'This Box Was Made For Walking', examines the future impact of mobile TV on the broadcasting and advertising industries. The report predicts that the introduction and adoption of mobile TV will ultimately give way to a more personal and private TV experience than that of traditional broadcast TV, with big implications for users, content providers and advertisers. Users will be able to receive content anytime, anywhere, choose what is most relevant to them, and even create and upload their own television content, while content providers and advertisers will be able to tailor their offerings more specifically to the user. Full report can be downloaded here.  Read More

Trimersion HMD takes First Person Shooter games to a new level of reality

October 31, 2006 The global success of First Person Shooter (FPS) games was catalysed by the launch of shareware phenomenon Doom on December 10, 1993 which was downloaded by more than 10 million people in its first two years – a remarkable number given the number of people online at that point. The game lived up to iD Software’s promise that it would become the "the number one cause of decreased productivity in businesses around the world" by hogging bandwidth on office networks and defined this popular gaming genre. The FPS format evolved and massively multiplayer online games subsequently created a new way to misspend your youth. Given the genre is characterized by an on-screen view that simulates the in-game character's point of view, the massive global following of FPS games is ripe to move to a logical next level of realism by offering greater immersion inside the game via the head mounted display (HMD) … and the HMD most likely in our book is the new Trimersion from 3001 AD. The wireless Trimersion head tracking HMD and tracking gun replace the mouse/keyboard or gamepad controllers with a realistic and natural interface (for killing things).  Read More

The Future Combat System Videogame for the PC

October 20, 2006 Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) is not your run-of-the-mill video game developer – a massive corporation providing scientific, engineering, systems integration and technical services and solutions to all branches of the U.S. military, agencies of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), the intelligence community, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other U.S. Government civil agencies, as well as to customers in selected commercial markets. Now it has created a videogame: Future Force Company Commander (F2C2) was designed by the company's Tactical Systems and Solutions Business Unit to help demonstrate the networked battle command that the Future Combat Systems (FCS) program is developing for the U.S. Army. It’s not the first time the American military has used video games to capture the hearts and minds of America’s high-tech youth. F2C2 is a real-time tactical strategy game that allows the player to learn about the Army's FCS program by assuming command of a Mounted Company Team in the year 2015. Through game play, F2C2 showcases how FCS can provide the 21st century soldier unprecedented situational awareness, and the ability to see first, understand first, act first and finish decisively.  Read More

The Bodywall improves health for all age groups

The Bodywall is one of the most adaptable inventions we’ve ever seen. Designed as a way to assist athletes to stretch effectively, the high adhesion gloves and shoes and high-tech wall surface offer spiderman-like capabilities. So it’s a gym, a ready made game and new form of physical education and wil be undoubtedly incorporated into the training regime of every elite athlete on the planet. But its chameleon-like character solves different problems in different markets. As in the parable of the seven blind men and the elephant, each person experiences and perceives the Bodywall in a different way. The original concept was to use a combination of the wall and gravity to challenge the entire body – improving proprioception, building muscle, joint, ligament and tendon strength, maintaining flexibility, reducing injury, rehabilitating injuries and facilitating full stretching of almost every muscle in the body for the very young and the very old, and everyone in between. Bodywall can be used either privately or very publicly, and can be manufactured for an audience of one, with the manufacturers offering a personal service, accepting four-colour, high resolution digital imaging. For an individual training for their own life goals, the Bodywall’s massive surface is an ideal place to decorate with personal messages to absorb while stretching – a great place to focus energies, emblazon a life purpose or a “go get ‘em” motivational mantra. It can function as a personal billboard for athletes and on a team scale, it offers a mobile sponsor wall that can be set up quickly at any training venue, in the change rooms or beside the pitch, court or track. In a world obsessed with sport, it’s a new high-association, visual advertising medium for sponsors. Whichever way you look at this invention, it ticks ALL the boxes.  Read More

Philips Entertaible  - Electronic Multi-Touch Tabletop Gaming Platform

September 4, 2006 Earlier this year Philips showed a prototype Entertaible at the CES in Las Vegas. Today, it is unveiling the finished fully integrated tabletop gaming platform at this year's Internationale Funkausstellung in Berlin. The multi-purpose platform enables a new class of gaming that combines the excitement of electronic games with the fun and social interaction of board games. Entertaible enables simultaneous multi-user interaction, object detection and recognition. Initially targeting social gaming away from home in locations such as pubs, bars, hotels or restaurants, Entertaible has the potential to evolve into a gaming platform for the consumer market.  Read More

Survey reveals U.S. gamer market is diversifying

September 2, 2006 For years, game developers and marketers have focused only on two types of videogame players: hardcore gamers and casual players. Ultimately, detailed segmentation of any market is required to unravel its mysteries and recent analysis by research firm Parks Associates indicates that the gamer community has diversified to include six distinct groups and, most importantly, a new middle market has emerged, with different motivations, gaming behaviors, and spending patterns. Traditionally ignored by marketers, the three segments Social Gamers, Leisure Gamers, and Dormant Gamers account for 53% of the Internet gamer population and 56% of the retail revenue.  Read More

Logitech ChillStream Controller with built-in fan

August 23, 2006 Logitech yesterday unveiled a new game controller with an innovative built-in fan-based cooling system, designed to keep the hands of gamers cool and dry even during intense competition. The USD$40 Logitech ChillStream controller for PC is a standard-size controller with a built-in 40 mm fan that circulates up to 3.41 cubic feet of air every minute, while generating very little noise.  Read More

World's Record Etch A Sketch unveiled at SIGGRAPH 2006

August 3, 2006 The world’s largest Etch A Sketch was unveiled at the 33rd SIGGRAPH International Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques Conference and Exhibition in Boston yesterday. One of the best known toys of the baby boomer generation, the Etch a Sketch hit the market in 1960 though the new one-off version is quite different and uses a new interactive technique – a wireless "mouse for the masses" that gives audiences the freedom to play realtime computer generated games. The giant Etch a Sketch uses Cinematrix’s unique patented audience participation technology where each audience member is given a two-sided "wand" to signal a preference to the sensor cameras. One configuration allows the left half of the audience to turn the left knob while the other allows the right half of the audience to turn the right knob. The two halves attempt to "group think" and trace various graphics on the giant screen by collectively turning the knobs. Pictured here is SIGGRAPH 2006 Computer Animation Festival Chair Terrence Masson, leading 3,000 audience members as they collaborate in drawing a teapot.  Read More

Interactive outdoor advertising employs mobile phone

July 10, 2006 With more than 2.5 billion mobile phones in use and saturation reached in most industrialised countries, there are myriad opportunities opening up for additional usage of existing mobile phone functionality, including the ability for advertising sites such as bus shelters, and poster panels interact directly with customers in their vicinity. One such technology platform is the UK-based Hypertag which works by allowing infra-red or Bluetooth mobile phones and PDAs (such as Palm Pilots or Pocket Pcs) to interact with a small electronic tag embedded in the billboard. When the consumer holds their mobile phone up to the Hypertag, they can download assets related to the promotional opportunity such as ringtones, audio and video clips, wallpapers, Java games, vouchers, tickets, instant win prizes, games, animations and … the possibilities are endless. One area that holds enormous promise is that of events and attractions, where for example, a museum could use the technology to offer additional text, audio or video information about each exhibit. Our favourite application so far was hatched in Australia when United International Pictures (UIP) and media agency Mediaedge:cia, partnered with AURA Interactive, The Global Game, and Adshel to launch an original new interactive game inspired by the highly anticipated film, Mission Impossible III. All players who registered on a dedicated website were required to race about their capital city, searching around various city locations for hidden answers to a series of Mission: Impossible themed clues. The clues were delivered using a combination of SMS messaging and Hypertag technology embedded into Adshel bus shelters and street signage, positioned at various sites across each capital city. Consumers accessing the Hypertags could download ringtones, wallpapers or a business card providing a phone number to SMS for the clue.  Read More

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