While the just-released Kinect grabs the spotlight for its accurate motion controls, I'm happy to see Microsoft still respecting good old-fashioned joysticks and buttons.
Alex Kipman, program manager at Microsoft and conceptualizer of Kinect, says games using a hybrid of traditional controls and Kinect technology are on the way to the Xbox 360. Calling the controller the "greatest single barrier between the consumer and gaming," Kipman discussed with GamesIndustry.biz the future of input for Microsoft. "We'll continue to have controller-only games. We love controller-free games, we love Kinect experiences, and we'll continue to grow our set of those as well," he said, adding, "Games that are using the controller, which we know and love, and pieces, if not all, of the Kinect experiences make those experiences more immersive, more fun, and more emotionally connected." I can see the applications now: A retrofitted Kinectimals will allow me to stroke my virtual pet dog with more dexterity using a control stick.
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood frontman Ezio has a new outfit to show off — and it's very familiar to Metal Gear Solid fans. According to an anonymous tipster who spoke with Joystiq, players can unlock Raiden's sleek cyborg look from the upcoming Metal Gear Solid: Rising by completing Brotherhood's new "virtual training mode." This marks the second collaboration between Ubisoft and Konami since Altair's (of the first Assassin's Creed) unlockable costume in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. A metal ninja stalking the streets of Renaissance Italy? Now I'm totally inconspicuous.
A new study by market-research firm Intepret claims that gamers are most likely to influence and shape online shopping. According to the study's data, gamers are 20 percent more likely to shop online than non-gamers, while also being 50 percent more likely to influence their friends on purchases. "Given the growth and popularity of an ever-widening range of gaming experiences, there is an opportunity for transaction-based businesses to tap the gamer ethos by gamifying shopping experiences," said Interpret Chief Executive Officer Michael Dowling. So, what happens if I purchase something in a "gamified shopping experience" — do I level up my credit card?
Guitar manufacturer Fender will release a Squier Stratocaster guitar controller for Rock Band 3 on March 1, 2010. Priced at $280 (not including the required $30 Mad Catz MIDI Pro Adapter), the fully-fledged 22-fret guitar can either be plugged into a real amp or used in the game's Pro Mode. I've only seen a few Pro Mode guitar shredders during my brief stints in RB3's multiplayer, so get those preorders in starting January 1!
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