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The Next Xbox at E3 2012? Introducing Xbox 720

Microsoft may unveil its next, next-gen console at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles next month. While Microsoft hasn’t officially announced the system yet, industry insiders point to a few reasons why gamers should look out for the machine.


An artist’s concept of the Xbox 720. 

The Future of the Xbox
According to a source with ties to Flextronics in Austin, Texas, Microsoft’s next generation console is already in production. (Flextronics is the company that manufactures the current Xbox 360 and other devices for Microsoft.)

For gamers the next questions are “What features will the machine have?” and “When will it be available?” As far as features go, insiders say the machine will NOT have a Blu-ray player, but will have double the processing power of the current Xbox (hence the 720). Why no Blu-ray? Simple. In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s a digital-download world: Blu-ray as a format is dying (just compare the prices of Blu-rays against what they were a year ago). Plus, the Xbox 360 already serves up movies (via Netflix) and Microsoft doesn’t plan to add Sony technology to its console anytime in the future.

It’s also been rumored, the Xbox 720 (which hasn’t officially been announced, so it has no release date) will also integrate Kinect and user control in a bold new way. No surprise there, since progressive game design is an Xbox mandate.


Microsoft bought product placement in the movie “Real Steel” to promote two products – its search engine and another product – the unannounced Xbox 720. Hmmm…

Next Gen is In
The current next-gen systems are beyond their life cycle; in the past, new consoles would have already been introduced. But Nintendo was late in introducing the Wii and thanks to motion controllers like Kinect and PlayStation Move, Microsoft and Sony have found a way to extend the lives of their current consoles. (Nintendo has said it will release a new console this year: the Wii U.)

The Xbox 360 is still the best-selling video game console. So it’s no surprise that Xbox 360 game development is still big business, even though sales are down. How big? As of the first of the year, video games are a $1.06 billion dollar business. Industry analysts have cited that Microsoft may try to support both the 360 and 720 for a period. Now that’s smart business.

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posted by DMA Jordan in News Blog,Video Game Design and have No Comments

Apple Patents Kinect-like Motion Control Device

Apple was recently awarded a patent for something that looks and feels a lot like Xbox’s Kinect. The 3D display and imaging technology is a system that Apple may place inside future devices.


This illustration from Apple’s patent application shows how the technology could be used. 

The technology registers the moves of the user and then translates those motions into a control scheme for a game or an app.

In Control
Apple’s motion control patent describes a projector and a receiver that utilize light beams to scan and recognize users’ movements. The Xbox Kinect also uses light beams to map out the space and user to establish a play field for Kinect games. And like the Kinect, the only input the Apple device requires is your body.

According to the patent, Apple’s technology also can be used to display holographic images. Three-dimensional holographic images are the holy grail of digital immersion. The uses for holographic technology could include gaming (such as flight sims or virtual reality applications) – like projecting a 3D model of a skeleton for a surgeon or a car for an engineer.


One day, you could use Apple’s holographic technology to update your Facebook page… 

Apple’s technology truly exceeds what Microsoft is doing with the Kinect and promises amazing experiences for whatever platform it may be used in. Imagine playing video games…Say a round of Angry Birds where you could reach into the game screen, pull out a bird and then throw it, like you might a real baseball at a target. The potential for the technology is mind-boggling.


…or rack up the high score on a round of Angry Birds.

Apple hasn’t made any announcements about the new technology or how it may be used. Apple files patents frequently and, for the most part, they are granted. One reason Apple pushes so hard on technology patents is because of Steve Jobs. Jobs made it Apple’s mission to constantly innovate. The motion control patent Apple recently received certainly does that. It will be extremely interesting to see how the technology might be used in app development. For now, we’ll just have to keep watching Minority Report and dreaming of the possibilities.

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posted by DMA Jordan in News Blog,Video Game Design and have No Comments

E3 2011: Day 1, The Latest Battle in the Console Wars

Tuesday marked the first day of E3 2011 in Los Angeles, one of the largest consumer electronics shows around and an annual showcase for new and impressive digital technology.

Nintendo Takes a Big Tablet
In terms of publicity impact, yesterday belonged to Nintendo, which unveiled its new Wii U controller Monday night. The controller is a fairly hefty accessory, which makes sense, because the middle of the device contains a 6.2-inch-diagonal touch-screen display.


Nintendo was a bit light on certain specifics (such as price and release date), but its new Wii U controller – with a 6.2-inch touch-screen controller screen integrated into its controller – wowed the crowds and silenced critics.

The Wii U controller is also tricked-out with a front-facing camera, microphone, gyroscope and accelerometer. While gaming, the player can play a game either through the handheld device or play the game on the TV that’s hooked up to the console. In terms of size, the Wii U controller resembles a tablet PC, but doesn’t offer (yet) the same type of options as an iPad or other tablets.

Sony: Picking Up the Paces


Sony is still reeling from recent attacks by hackers that took down the PlayStation Network for a month. One of the more impressive announcements the company made: how two PlayStation Vita players could use 3D technology to play games on a single screen, with each seeing a different image.

Sony continues to battle through an extremely difficult year – a year that has included natural, nuclear and economic disasters in its home country of Japan. Nonetheless, Sony always comes ready to play, and this year’s E3 was no exception. During a 5-hour press event, the electronics giant showcased its new PlayStation Vita. During the five-hour pre-show event on Monday, Sony showed off the new handheld – which follows the original PlayStation Portable (PSP) video game system. As with the Wii U controller, the PlayStation Vita has a large-screen (5”) display in the center of the unit, with control buttons on both sides of the screen. The Vita also features an interface similar to the iPhone. No surprise then that the Vita system is also 3G supported and will have service provided by AT&T.

Microsoft Wants You to Kinect


Microsoft is hoping gamers will want to “kinect” with its new interactive system, which adds motion to the mix.

Microsoft’s Kinect system has been doing gangbuster business in retail stores for a while now, yet Microsoft brought it to the front and center of the Xbox gaming experience. The Kinect system projects an infrared pattern around your game room and uses that information to give the CPU a spatial reference for gamers position and movements. Your real-life body and voice are tracked and used to control games. Microsoft’s message? Get “kinected” as they forced everything from a Kinect soccer game to a Kinect game called “Kinect Disneyland Adventures” down gamers’ throats. (We prefer the old-school method of playing games from the comfort of our couches, and we think most hardcore gamers do, too.) The strategy comes from Microsoft’s urge to copy Wii’s success, but only time will tell if that strategy works.

Apple’s Head in the Clouds


Apple doesn’t even have to be in attendance at E3 to make news, as gamers and industry insiders alike were still buzzing from Apple’s announcement about iCloud.

You know Apple has some serious industry clout when it doesn’t even bother to show up at the world’s greatest electronic entertainment show. Opposite of the announcements that came out of Los Angeles on Monday, Apple’s Steve Jobs introduced iCloud in San Francisco. Apple’s latest venture, iCloud is a storage service, much like Amazon’s Cloud drive or Dropbox. How does it work? For a $25 annual subscription fee, you can copy any music from a computer-held music collection and store that music in the iCloud. Once your media is on the cloud, you can access it from any number of iDevices. The whole thing, according to Apple is quick and relatively painless to use, and much easier to navigate than services offered by Google’s Music Beta and Amazon’s Cloud. With those services, users have to slowly load their songs from their computers to cloud servers.

At the end of the day, E3 belonged to Nintendo, who won hands-down…or was it Apple, since it’s interesting to note the Wii U controller was strikingly similar to an Apple device called the iPad. Sony’s Vita wants so bad to be an iPhone, and many attendees snickered at Sony’s attempt to catch up with Apple.

Catching Up with Technological Trends
Keeping up with today’s top technological trends and tomorrow’s game industry reality is just one of the many ways that Digital Media Academy computer & digital arts summer camps is able to offer the ultimate summer camp experience. Our instructors are industry innovators who have worked for some of the biggest players in the game industry, and they are often tuned to coming trends that our students have yet to even imagine.

This summer, DMA will offer a range of courses related to 3D Game Design for various popular game platforms. From an Introduction to 3D Art, Modeling and Animation for Game Design…to 3D Game Development classes (for developing games for Google Android devices, for the Internet and for iPhones)…to 3D Game Creation classes in Level Design and Character Design. No matter where your video-game interests lay, DMA has a computer summer camp for you. To learn from the industry’s best, this summer turn to DMA.

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posted by DMA Jordan in News Blog and have No Comments