Play World of Warcraft Using Kinect

December 28, 2010 -

Researchers at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies have software that enables PC games to work with Microsoft's Kinect sensor. The software is called Flexible Action and Articulated Skeleton Toolkit (FAAST). It apparently emulates custom configured keyboard controls that are activated by body movements.

The most interesting part about this software can be seen in the video embedded in this story - it shows researchers playing World of Warcraft using the Kinect and the toolkit.

While the software is interesting for games, it may have other more practical uses such as "active gaming" to fight childhood obesity or "motor rehabilitation" for stoke victims.

Check out the video. For a technical overview of the software, check out ict.usc.edu.

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Kinect, Sex Games, and Your Local News

December 27, 2010 -

What is the best way to handle a news story about an adult-themed Kinect game you might have seen on YouTube? Create a report about it where parents are concerned about their kids playing it. Forget for a minute that it's not actually available on a regular retail Xbox 360 with a Kinect, or that it is basically just a video floating around YouTube..

That is exactly what Martina Valverde, Morning News Reporter at KFox TV in El Paso, Texas did in a report called Adult Video Game In The Works For Kinect System Has Parents Concerned. In the report, she apparently brings the video of an adult groping game to the attention of parents who have a five-year-old son. The son got the game system for Christmas.

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Report: Microsoft Supporting Kinect Use on PC

December 22, 2010 -

Korean developer GamePix has decided that it will use Microsoft's Kinect motion sensing device for an upcoming massively multiplayer online game. Speaking to Inc. Gamers, GamePix's Jason Lim, "The game's support of gaming pads make it resemble console games even more, and is scheduled to support Kinect."

The game, Divine Soul, features combat similar to a beat 'em up like Tekken, which may use Kinect or a Gamepad.

While it is unclear how this game might use Kinect, the story on Inc. Gamers indicates that Microsoft plans to support the device on the Pc - or at least look the other way when developers hack the device for legitimate purposes that don't involve groping women with on screen hands.

We also do not know if Microsoft will only allow this is Asia, or if this is something that will be allowed in the west.

We will have to wait and see.


Microsoft Says 'No Thank You' to Kinect Groping Game Idea

December 20, 2010 -

Microsoft is not having any part of what Australian adult entertainment company ThriXXX plans for Kinect. Last week the company posted a video of a groping application that used the Kinect camera to touch the naughty bits of women. This week Microsoft has publicly offered a "no thank you" to the company, telling the Los Angeles Times that a sex game is not a great fit for a device that is designed to be family friendly.

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Rule 34 Fulfilled: The Kinect Groping Sim

December 16, 2010 -

Update: As one commenter points out, this hack "fulfills" Rule 34, it doesn't "break" it. I've updated the headline and the text below to reflect that.

Original Story:

Kinect hackers have done some interesting things with Microsoft's motion-sensing camera device like making it control RC vehicles, created a "Minority Report" style control scheme, and a hack to track a body while not using an Xbox 360. The latest hack finally fulfills Rule 34. It was inevitable, of course.

The Urban Dictionary defines Rule 34 in the following manner:

"Generally accepted internet rule that states that pornography or sexually related material exists for any conceivable subject."

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Wake Forest Professor Offers Holiday Advice For Parents

December 14, 2010 -

Marina Krcmar, associate professor of communication at Wake Forest (Winston-Salem, NC), thinks that most parents just do not have a clue about the affects video games can have on children. Krcmar studies the impact of video games and other media on children and teens. She doles out free advice in a press release urging parents to pick games that are age appropriate and to get educated about the video games kids should be playing.

"Greater realism leads to greater immersion; greater immersion leads to greater effects. One of those effects can be increased aggression."

"The T-rating and M-rating for video games are not very consistent and not very informative for parents, so parents need more information," Krcmar says.

"The quality of the graphics and the sound in this year's new video games is amazing," she says, "It's getting closer and closer to virtual reality."

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Kinect Open-Source Drivers Released

December 11, 2010 -

The hacking community has been unraveling the complexities of the Kinect Motion sensor since its release, but the company that created the technology in Microsoft's motion sensing device are taking it a step further. These releases allow homebrew enthusiasts to make Microsoft's motion sensing device do things besides work with Xbox Live menus and with games.

PrimeSense, the company that created the motion-sensing technology that powers Kinect, has created OpenNI, a not-for-profit organization formed with two other companies to "promote the compatibility and interoperability of Natural Interaction (NI) devices, applications and middleware." The drivers, the NITE motion tracking middleware, and OpenNI binaries are available for both Windows and Ubuntu at www.openni.org.

Source: Joystiq


Pachter: Kinect Outsells Move 5 to 1

December 11, 2010 -

Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter points out that Microsoft's Kinect outsold Sony's Move by 5 to 1 at retail in the month of November. In his latest report, Pachter said that "about half" of Xbox 360s sold during the month (Microsoft reported 1.37 million Xbox 360s) were part of Kinect bundles, while PlayStation Move bundle sales were "about one fifth" of total PS3 sales for the month.

Sony has said that it has shipped 4.1 million Move units worldwide, but did not disclose how many have sold. While it may have been a record month for the game industry and - in particular - Microsoft, Sony has seen better times.

Source: Joystiq

2 comments

UFC Sues Ubisoft Over Kinect Fighting Game Catchphrase

December 10, 2010 -

The Ultimate Fighting Championship filed a lawsuit on Thursday against publisher Ubisoft, claiming that the packaging for its new Kinect fighting game, Fighters Uncaged, infringes on the trademarks of the UFC. Attorneys (Lewis and Roca LLP) for UFC parent company Zuffa LLC charged that the phrase on the back-cover of the new Ubisoft game for the Xbox 360 is an infringement of its trademark.

The offending phrase is "Become the ULTIMATE FIGHTING weapon!"

Zuffa's lawyers claim that the phrase is nearly identical to the UFC’s trademarked Ultimate Fighting name. It may also confuse consumers who are looking for the company's games like the "Undisputed" series published by THQ and the "Sudden Impact" game.

The lawsuit seeks an injunction blocking the sale of the game, removal of the infringing phrase from the game's packaging, unspecified damages, and court costs.

2 comments

Acting, Kinect and Protected Speech

December 10, 2010 -

Is acting protected speech, and if so, is acting in a video game - especially in the age of motion sensing console devices - protected speech as well? This is the theory thrown out in a thought provoking post called "Is Playing a Video Game Conduct or Speech? Lessons from Microsoft Kinect" over at Law Law Land Blog.

Steven Smith kicks that idea around a bit, comparing the acting kids do in video games to the actions in a school play. The idea begins at GameStop, where Smith is buying a game for his daughter:

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Video Game Industry Has Best November Ever

December 9, 2010 -

Sales of video games rose 8 percent in November to $2.99 billion, according to data from research firm NPD Group. November's numbers were driven by Kinect, and sales from Activision's Call of Duty: Black Ops. Year-to-date sales were still down 5 percent to $14.06 billion, despite a good November.

Accessory sales were up 69 percent to $413 million thanks to Kinect - and Sony's Move to some degree, while hardware sales rose 2 percent to $1.08 billion, and software rose 4 percent to $1.46 billion.

Call of Duty: Black Ops was the top-selling game in November, with 8.4 million units sold.

The Nintendo DS remained the top-selling gaming device (over 1.5 million sold in November), but the Xbox 360 saw a 68 percent sales increase of 1.37 million consoles. Some of that came from bundles that included the Kinect and games.

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America's Wish List: Everyone Wants a Kinect

December 7, 2010 -

What does everyone want for [insert your holiday of choice here] ? According to TimetoPlayMag.com's annual "America’s Wish List: The Must-Have Toys, Games, and Video Games," everyone wants an Xbox Kinect. At least in the videogame category..

In October and November, TimetoPlay.com readers were asked to vote for their favorite items in 17 categories to create America’s Wish List. After the data was sifted through, the site picked the top choices, which are listed below by category, product, and manufacturer. For more information check out www.PeoplesPlayAwards.

 

 

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Report: Move, Kinect, May be in Short Supply for Holiday Shoppers

November 24, 2010 -

If you (or someone you can stand to be around during the holidays) is looking to get Kinect for Xbox 360 or Move for PlayStation 3, you all might be out of luck. Microsoft this week said that it is already seeing its motion sensing technology in short supply at some retail stores, and out of stock in others. Kinect launched on November 4 and has already managed to move 1 million units in various SKU's including standalone, with game bundles, and bundled with new Xbox 360 systems. Last week, Microsoft's Don Mattrick told consumers that getting a Kinect by Thanksgiving would be a wise idea because supplies were limited. He also predicted that Microsoft expects to sell more than 5 million units by year's end.

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Consumer Reports: Kinect Works Fine, Requires Adequate Lighting

November 5, 2010 -

Responding to a story from GameSpot which claimed that Microsoft’s Kinect had trouble recognizing the facial features of dark-skinned users; Consumer Reports refuted the problem, stating that the reported flaw was most likely due to low lighting.

Consumer Reports found that “The log-in problem is related to low-level lighting and not directly to players' skin color,” adding that the Kinect camera needs a certain amount of light and contrast in order to determine a user’s facial features.

In testing Kinect, the organization “did not experience any instance where one player was recognized and the other wasn't under the same lighting conditions.”

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GameSpot: Problems with Kinect and Dark-Skinned Users

November 4, 2010 -

A story on GameSpot details the problems two dark-skinned site employees had with Microsoft’s Kinect, the just-released, controller-free add-on for the Xbox 360.

According to the site, the two employees in question had problems with Kinect’s facial recognition abilities. One GameSpoter’s face was recognized “inconsistently,” while when it came to the face of the other staffer, Kinect was “never able to properly identify the other despite repeated calibration attempts.”

To make it even more confounding, Kinect had “no problems” recognizing the face of a third dark-skinned employee. No hurdles were reported with Kinect’s skeletal tracking system for any of the employees, which is good, as it is the primary means of controlling on-screen action.

The problem may or may not be that big of a deal however, as GameSpot wrote:

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MS Exec: Kinect Could Help 360 Get to Market in China

September 1, 2010 -

As Microsoft continues to try and get its Xbox 360 to market in China, an executive for the company outlined why Kinect may be a valuable asset in its push and how MS plans to combat piracy in the Asian country.

Simon Leung (pictured), Microsoft Corporate Vice President, Chairman and CEO for the Greater China region, speaking to the Wall Street Journal, first noted why China is such an attractive region, if it wasn’t already apparent, stating that China would soon be the world’s largest PC market, while it's already tops in the mobile phone and broadband categories.

Leung indicated that China is becoming a growing adopter of cloud computing, which could help protect Microsoft, as Leung stated, “… you cannot pirate a cloud application.”

Asked about selling consoles in China, Leung responded:

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Child Shrink: Time for Games to Feature Exercise Ratings

August 17, 2010 -

As the gaming world continues to evolve further into the era of true interactive gaming, one child psychiatrist thinks it’s time for a new ratings system that informs consumers about a game’s ability to contribute to exercise.

Paul Ballas guest-authored a Wired article on the subject following an introduction to, among other things, Sony’s Move and Microsoft’s Kinect technology at this year’s E3 Expo. Ballas thinks that if videogame developers focused their efforts on creating games that also provided a cardiovascular workout, “there is a real chance of striking a blow against childhood obesity.”

To that end Ballas outlined the type of content descriptors he would like to see:

Similar to Food and Drug Administration-mandated labels on food, an exercise rating system could estimate the calories burned by the average person in an hour of gameplay. The label could range from Sedentary for lean-back, button-intensive shooting games to Active for games with a calorie-expenditure rate comparable to playing basketball.

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Kinect Supports Sign Language

August 9, 2010 -

Good news for the hearing-impaired—Microsoft’s new controller-free technology appears like it will support the use of American Sign Language (ASL).

In a U.S. patent application, as noticed by SlashGear, Microsoft lays out the basic framework behind Kinect.

One section, illustrated in an image on SlashGear, shows a person making sign language gestures that Kinect can understand.

More:

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Can MSFT’s New Tech Kinect with the Disabled?

June 22, 2010 -

While skeptical of how well Microsoft’s Xbox 360 controller-free technology will work with disabled gamers, a leading advocacy group still sees it as a step in the right direction.

After witnessing the unveiling of Kinect at E3, AbleGamer’s Steve Spohn initially said that the technology would be “largely useless” to the disabled gamers reading his website, as the “entire point of Kinect is to get you and your friends off of the couch and more active while playing video games.”

After some reflection however, Spohn labeled Kinect’s voice command ability “more mentionable than the motion detection itself,” adding, “voice commands are a form of accessible technology enabling me to play more complex games and to use remote controls.”

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Papa MidnightI could say the same about race. I certainly enjoyed being on the receiving end of this while playing StarCraft II this past week: http://i.imgur.com/mIZA1QB.png (and this is actually mild compared to what I usually see). Report players? What a joke...08/29/2014 - 12:29am
AvalongodWhether you approve of Sarkeesian's view or not, no woman deserves to be the target of that kind of harassment and it won't stop until men tell each other it's not appropriate under any circumstance.08/28/2014 - 8:44pm
AvalongodI'm guessing the twitter account was a troll, but come on, I'm sorry, it's just disgusting someone is saying those things to Sarkeesian whether serious or a joke.08/28/2014 - 8:43pm
ZippyDSMleesocial movement that is bringing most of these issue to the spot light to be nothing but trend mongering white knighting bullies who are not much better than the hateful moronic bullies on the other side.08/28/2014 - 5:20pm
ZippyDSMleereflects the world we live in while the rest is the worst stuff that should be focused on. Leaving whats reflected in the same boat as everything else that's exaggerated and skewed by media/fiction and happliy consumed by current society. I find the socia08/28/2014 - 5:20pm
ZippyDSMleemales live off the power fantasy but once you realize as a male you will never reach what fiction or media calls perfect it demoralizes you just the same. And I would not call female negative stereotypes rampant and out of control not when 70-80% of it re08/28/2014 - 5:19pm
ZippyDSMleeNot saying that there is not a difference in the treatment of males and females in media, but males are begin painted as near perfect superhumans with cliched flaws it dose as much damage to the psyche as how females are treated. Sure you could claim that08/28/2014 - 5:19pm
ZippyDSMleeNeeneko:As I said if you do not 100% belive it then you are a Neanderthal. Theres more gray to everything than black and white.08/28/2014 - 1:27pm
NeenekoMeh, the "PCism" is just trotted out when people do not know their place and dare to complain about things the speakers think are fine. How dare people complain about how they are treated/portrayed, it is not like it bother us, our feelings matter!08/28/2014 - 1:13pm
ZippyDSMleeNeeneko I do not think its against feminism but rather against PCisim’s and that most things are offensive since if you do not believe that you are a Neanderthal that beats women,ect..08/28/2014 - 12:48pm
Neenekocomplete with the standard 'she is a lying and attacking the game industry! threats are wrong but she did it to herself' comments.08/28/2014 - 11:28am
Neenekosad, but not surprising. the backlash against feminism has been growing the last few years.08/28/2014 - 11:25am
PHX Corphttp://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/08/27/feminist-video-game-critic-forced-to-leave-her-home-after-online-rape-and-death-threats/ Feminist video game critic forced to leave her home after online rape and death threats08/28/2014 - 9:43am
Uncharted NEShttp://kotaku.com/once-again-atlus-doesnt-want-you-to-spoil-the-new-pers-162782610808/28/2014 - 5:17am
Uncharted NESOnce Again, Atlus Doesn't Want You to Spoil the New Persona08/28/2014 - 5:16am
lomdrPretty much, Andrew. And hell, it helps that it is a bit reasonably priced too. $8 for 1, $12 for both at once08/28/2014 - 3:43am
Andrew EisenMP - Probably not and for good reason. That term holds a lot of deserved negative baggage.08/27/2014 - 10:02pm
Uncharted NESApprently there is still a classic mode, but...08/27/2014 - 9:34pm
MaskedPixelanteSo, there's been massive positive reception to the Mario Kart 8 DLC bundle. Somehow, I doubt it would have gotten as much positive buzz if they called it a "Season Pass".08/27/2014 - 9:34pm
Uncharted NEShttp://m.pcgamer.com/2014/08/27/quake-live-makes-newbie-friendly-changes-in-latest-update-people-get-mad/08/27/2014 - 9:19pm
 

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