Alternative Gaming a Major Theme at E3
LOS ANGELES - While video game producer Ubisoft had plenty of traditional games to present at this year's E3 gaming conference, the company also appears to be making a push towards unconventional gaming methods and motion sensing in particular.
Ubisoft's motto for its E3 presentation was "Games You Can Feel." Much of the presentation was about giving up the controller. It should come as no surprise, then, that many of Ubisoft's games will take advantage of the Microsoft Kinect motion controller .
The presentation started off with Tetsuya Mizuguchi playing his game "Child of Eden." It uses the Kinect controller to allow the user to create a symphony by shooting at various objects on the screen. Everything makes a sound, and the rhythm and melody are influenced by how the user moves his hands.
Ubisoft demoed a fitness game called "MotionSports" that uses Kinect's body-sensing abilities to track movement, teach exercises and improve well-being. It can also connect to other users worldwide, allowing them to challenge friends and share results.
Ubisoft then demoed "Innergy," a game that uses a single heartrate sensor as a game controller. "Innergy" is designed to sooth the user and reduce stress by teaching the user how to control breathing and relax with simple animations. The finger sensor tracks body changes and plots them on a simple game screen. By controlling heartbeat and breathing, the user controls the game.
"The impact of this game on your blood pressure is equivalent to losing 20 pounds," said Tommy Francois, designer of "Innergy."
But most surprising was a Ubisoft game that is designed specifically to get users to leave the TV or computer screen entirely behind. Gael Seydoux presented "Battle Tag," which is basically a traditional game of laser tag, but with some added twists, such as "ammo boxes" that must be scanned by the gun to reload.
Each set of "Battle Tag" comes with two guns , two laser-sensing harnesses, 4 "tag" boxes and a Connect device that serves as a sort of home base for some game variations.
"It's a video game you play away from the screen," Seydoux said moments after racing around the stage shooting at other participants.
While Ubisoft spent ample time showing traditional games, including the next installment in its popular "Assassin's Creed" franchise, it's clear that the company plans to see what other kinds of gaming people are ready to try.