NEWS - Wednesday, August 16, 2006

GameFest: Xbox360 Camera To Ship With Free Game

Microsoft's Jeff Stone revealed the new information on the Xbox 360-exclusive game in question, TotemBall, which was first announced in May of this year. It is being developed by UK-based Strange Flavour and Freeverse, both of whom are mainly known for their Macintosh titles. TotemBall is controlled almost entirely through gestures; that is, the game tracks a player's arm movements to control a rickety, wheeled totem pole tower around each level, collecting items and trying to reach the exit within a time limit. Gesture-based gameplay is not foreign to Freeverse, who previously developed ToySight for the Macintosh, compatible with Apple's iSight camera. The title shows that Microsoft is willing to compete with the gesture-based gameplay control concepts also utilized by Sony's EyeToy for PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3. Though no further gestural-controlled game concepts using the Xbox Live Vision camera have yet been officially announced, more gestural games are in early development, according to Stone. In addition, the peripheral is compatible with selected Xbox Live Arcade games such as Uno, to allow video chat while gameplay is in progress, and with a facemapping feature for Activision's World Series of Poker, another new announcement. The Xbox Live Vision camera is apparently set to ship alongside TotemBall in September, at a thus far unannounced pricing point - U.S. retailers currently have the camera listed for $39.99 with a September 19th release date, but neither of these specifics have been officially confirmed.


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