Apple Gets Moving, Kinect-Style

With its iTV and other iGadgets rumored to be gathering speed for the 2014 electronics season, Apple could be looking to key companies to make said technology happen.

An Israeli financial news site named Calcalist has reported that Apple has purchased PrimeSense, the Tel Aviv-based company that made the motion tracking technology for Microsoft’s Kinect device for the Xbox 360. The deal is reportedly worth around $345 million. Apple may be seeking to add Kinect-like capability to Apple TV or the rumored iTV.

PrimeSense responded by stating the rumor wasn’t true. “We do not relate to rumors about our customers and partners,” said executive vice president of sales and marketing, Yaniv Vakrat.

However, another PrimeSense rep had a more passive statement. “PrimeSense is the leading 3D technology in the market. We are focused on building a prosperous company while bringing 3D sensing and Natural Interaction to the mass market in a variety of markets such as interacting living room and mobile devices. We do not comment on what any of our partners, customers or potential customers are doing and we do not relate to rumors or recycled rumors.”

Despite these early denials, you can probably expect an official confirmation sooner rather than later.

Source: Venturebeat

Canada Loves PlayStation 4

The PlayStation 4 has only been at retail in select markets for about a week, and it’s already setting huge sales records across the globe – including Canada.

Sony Computer Entertainment Canada VP and GM Steve Turvey couldn’t help but talk about the big sales the system has generated, resulting in the biggest launch in the country’s gaming history. “The launch was a huge success by any standard of measurement. It was by far the largest launch in gaming history in Canada, and we were thrilled by the execution, bust mostly the response of PlayStation fans and consumers,” he said.

“We launched more units than we have ever in any console launch across any platform at any time, and by far the most,” he continued. “Three times, four times as much as we’ve done historically, and still demand seems to be unsated.”

As for those who were left unsated, more consoles are on the way. “We have a nice healthy supply of inventory that we’ll continue to flow into the marketplace, and we hope that demand continues,” he concluded.

Source: Gamesindustry International

SmartGlass For Xbox One

Microsoft has released an updated SmartGlass app for mobile devices, enabling users to utilize it with the Xbox One system when it releases this Friday.

Not to be confused with the previously released app, this new program has similar functionality in terms of keeping track of what friends are playing and sending messages to them. In addition, though it also provides more detailed information on games, and allows you to customize your dashboard while you’re on-the-go.

The app, which is free, is now available for iOS, Android and Windows devices.

Source: Xbox

Gaming Consoles Top Shopper Survey

A survey conducted by RetailMeNot revealed some interesting shopping desires among US consumers, based on a sample of over 1,000 consumers aged 18 and older taken in early October. If you were wondering whether consoles are still a desired consumer item, this survey should set your mind at ease. Gaming consoles topped the list as the most popular electronic item being considered by 62 percent of parents for their kids. Next in popularity was handheld educational devices (58 percent), portable music players (54 percent) and handheld gaming devices (54 percent). As you might expect, fathers are more likely than mothers (68 percent vs. 57 percent) to consider buying a gaming console for their child.

Tablets and smartphones are also figuring prominently in shopping plans. Nearly half of the consumers surveyed feel that children should have their own cell phone (46 percent) or tablet (44 percent) at age 13 or younger. Additionally, nearly half of parents (48 percent) are willing to consider purchasing a tablet for their child.

Source: RetailMeNot

Valve’s VR Headset Prototype

Valve, a company that’s waist deep in new hardware these days between its Steam Machines consoles and its touch-pad controller, isn’t quite done yet. It’s just announced that it will show off a new virtual reality headset prototype to potential developers at a private event in January.

During the Steam Developer Days event, users will be able to check it out and hear the company’s Michael Abrash talk about the tech in a presentation called “What VR Could, Should and Almost Certainly Will Be Within Two Years.”

According to the event description, the publisher has “figured out what affordable Virtual Reality (VR) hardware will be capable of within a couple of years, and assembled a prototype which demonstrates that such VR hardware is capable of stunning experiences. This type of hardware is almost certainly going to appear in short order, and the time to start developing for it is now. This talk will discuss what the hardware is like, and the kinds of experiences it makes possible.”

A “few attendees” will be able to check out the headset following the presentation.

Source: IGN

EA’s Original ‘Star Wars’ Games

In the past, publishers who had a hold of the Star Wars franchise managed to produce games that were based on films or television properties, such as Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace and The Clone Wars. Electronic Arts, however, wants to take a different approach.

The company has announced that, as part of its ten-year deal for the franchise through LucasFilm, that it intends to produce original efforts, instead of games tying in to forthcoming films, like Episode VII, due in late 2015.

“We’ve done movie games over the years and we wanted to make sure that we weren’t doing a movie game, i.e., game based on the movie,” EA’s chief financial officer Blake Jorgensen told attendees at the UBS Global Technology Conference on Tuesday. “The beauty of the Star Wars franchise is that it’s so broad and so deep, you don’t have to do a movie game, you can do a game that’s very focused on the world that’s been created around Star Wars.”

“We struck what we believe is a fantastic deal which allows us to be able to build games in many different genres across multiple types of platforms over ten years and we’ll leverage the strength of the Disney marketing associated with the ‘Star Wars’ properties both in movies and other things that they may do over the timeframe,” he added.

The first of these new games, the DICE-produced multiplayer affair Battlefront, should make its debut on next-generation consoles in 2015.

Source: Variety