Softkinetic makes software necessary to convert body gestures captured by cameras into controls for video game systems. That’s a nascent market whose surface has only been scratched by the Sony EyeToy and the Nintendo Wii. So Brussels, Belgium-based Softkinetic is now launching its own game to stimulate the market for gesture-controlled games
The strategy is a shift for Softkinetic, which previously focused on making the middleware software for gesture-control systems. It also has plans to ship its own 3-D image capture camera.
Softkinetic’s game is Silhouette, a music title that resembles Konami’s popular Dance Dance Revolution games. You have to get off the couch and jump into different poses so that your silhouette can pass neatly through the patterns coming at you.
“I think this is going to be the new Guitar Hero,” said Michel Tombroff, the company’s chief executive, who showed off the technology at Nvidia’s GPU Technology conference this week.
The game runs on a PC and will work with any of the 3-D cameras slated for release from companies such as Prime Sense, 3DV Systems (now owned by Microsoft), and Canesta. Those cameras are expected to hit the market in the coming months, so Softkinetic doesn’t plan to release the game until the fall of 2010. That’s when Tombroff expects Microsoft to launch its Project Natal, a gesture-controlled game add-on for the Xbox 360. He said he expects you will be able to play Silhouette with Project Natal.
In the coming weeks, Tombroff said he expects to announce publishers for the games. One will publish the game for a cable TV system in Europe. Another is an American arcade game maker. Tombroff said the company has created a six-person studio, Softkinetic Studios, to make the game. He said Softkinetic will also make its own 3-D camera at some point. Here’s a video of the Silhouette game in action. Also included is a video we shot with Softkinetic earlier this year at our GamesBeat 09 conference. http://player.ooyala.com/player.js?width=580&height=435&embedCode=xldTN3OglQMh3tpHOo7UEhYpxN6GDrWChttp://player.ooyala.com/player.swf?embedCode=xldTN3OglQMh3tpHOo7UEhYpxN6GDrWC&version=2http://player.ooyala.com/player.js?width=580&height=434&embedCode=ExcTlkOm6fbZGLWzVV2qEs8Lbq92zk3Chttp://modules.ooyala.com/player.swf?embedCode=ExcTlkOm6fbZGLWzVV2qEs8Lbq92zk3C&version=2