204w ago - In the aftermath of the Iranian election, the Iran governement has attempted to filter the content of electronic communication. Some Web sites being blocked completely and Internet overall being slowed.
Initial exposure of the recent events have been taking place on services such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. However some could find alternative means of communicating to those outside the country.
To quote: Craig Labovitz of Arbor Networks Inc has written a detailed report on what specific traffic is being blocked and/or filtered, noting that "Interestingly, game protocols like xbox and World of Warcraft show little evidence of government manipulation".
With the Xbox 360 offering video chat among the features of being an Xbox Gold subscriber, this could easily be an upcoming popular way for loved ones and news outlets to deliver messages to and from the country.
205w ago - Earlier this week gaming blog Kotaku quoted Microsoft's Shane Kim as saying that the launch of Natal, Microsoft's new controller-free motion control technology, would be as big as the launch of a console. Not surprising. That's because Natal is going to be a new console.
On this week's Listen Up podcast, 1UP discussed Natal, and how the new technology is actually the cornerstone of Microsoft's next evolution of the Xbox.
To quote: Microsoft will not only release Natal as an add-on for the Xbox 360, it will come standard with the next Xbox console. Yes, there will be a new Xbox console next fall.
However, the new console won't just be an Xbox 360 with a camera, though - we've heard it will be considered a new platform and carry a new name (Xbox Natal?). It's not clear what sort of upgrades we might see, but some have suggested it will be an slight upgrade of the current Xbox 360 technology.
Current Xbox 360 games would be playable on it, but future games would be able to take advantage of the added muscle. Similar to what we see in the PC space, games played on the more advanced Xbox would look or perform better, but publishers will still be able...
206w ago - No doubt the major talk of E3 2009 was all about the motion-sensing technologies demoed by Sony and Microsoft at their press conferences.
Microsoft's Project Natal's major selling point is full-body recognition and the promise of a controller-less game experience, while Sony's PlayStation Eye-powered motion tech aims to turn a single controller into any virtual item imaginable (i.e. swords, tennis racquets, whips, whiskey bottle, etc.).
To quote: Sony's director of marketing John Holler told Gamasutra that the PlayStation Eye is "more accurate and more precise" than Microsoft's motion-sensing tech, and, even though Project Natal's full-body scanning capabilities is "impressive," it also, allegedly, suffers from "depth issues on the Z-axis."
This assessment is obviously impossible to confirm until some impartial testing can be done, so we'll just have to take Holler's comments with a PS3-emblazoned grain of salt for now.
What's perhaps more interesting about this whole ridiculously premature debate about technologies that are still years away from landing in living rooms is that Project Natal certainly does seem designed to out-casual the casual gaming genre Nintendo ushered...
206w ago - Microsoft's Shane Kim has said that the systems making up Project Natal have been in development "for a long time", and distanced the full-body motion-sensing camera from the company's acquisition of 3DV Systems.
Following the announcement at the platform holder's E3 conference on Monday, many assumed that Natal's technology and 3DV's (seen in late 2007 prior to the company's acquisition) were one and the same, but Kim told VentureBeat, "At Microsoft Research, we have had a lot of working going on for a long time."
His colleague Aaron Greenberg was even more direct. Asked whether Natal was derived from 3DV technology, he told Eurogamer to quote: "No, we built this in house."
"None of those rumors did justice to what we were actually doing with Project Natal. People expected a controller you put in your hands," Kim said to VentureBeat.
"We have done a lot of work in natural user interfaces. Voice recognition is one of them. That's why we have been able to deliver development kits for it this week."
Microsoft hasn't gone it completely alone though, as Kim admitted "it's a combination of partners and our own software", and some have theorised that acquisitions like 3DV's were designed to insure the company against similar patents.
207w ago - Microsoft has unveiled Project Natal, which features a motion sensing camera.
Stephen Spielberg demoed it on stage and says it will recognize "your entire being".
Although it's "not reinventing the wheel because there's no wheel at all", Microsoft plans to make games as accessible as possible, as it will work with the Xbox Dashboard, recognizes your face, and signs you in automatically.
Games using the camera were demoed.
3D Breakout where body controls the ball, and you can move arms, legs, head and kick the ball and it detects the speed and power of the hit.
Comparing itself to the Wii, Microsoft says that this is done up off the couch, with Waggle commands.
Another demo called Paint Party uses body and voice to "express inner creativity" by splattering paint onto a canvas. Just say the color you want and the game adds it.
No date for the camera yet, but it's still being shown behind closed doors to developers.