This is a LEGO Santa mech built by LEGOmaniac Mark Anderson. I guess Santa got tired of having to take care for all those reindeer and (now would cover your children’s eyes) SLAUGHTERED AND ATE THEM. *kids crying* I warned you. Santa’s mech features a bubble of presents on the back and arm mounted ‘Naughty’ and ‘Nice’ cannons that presumably shoot the proper presents down your chimney. Or maybe just blast them through a window, who knows — Santa seems to be cutting some serious corners on the whole tradition thing. Oh well, at least he won’t eat all my cookies this year. *fast forward to Christmas morning, I’m standing outside in a loosely tied bathrobe eying the giant mech-shaped hole in the side of my house* THAT FAT BASTARD.
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Question by Jasper L: What happened to Kinect Support for Battlefield 3? Whatever happened to Kinect Support for Battlefield 3? They were showcasing it in the demo during E3 and I see no option what so ever for it!?
Answer by IsisScrapped, because it was a stupid gimmick to begin with.
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Question by : What happened to skyfire for wp7? I am looking everywhere and i dont see anywhere where it says it got removed but I can’t find it on the appstore. online lots of websites feature the app for windows phone 7 but it is not on the marketplaec
Answer by Nancy Beethey removed support for windows, u can only get it for android and iphone now.
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A Kodak Moment: a rare, one-time moment that is captured by a picture, or should have been captured by a picture
We all had them: times you reached for a camera to stop life for a second, to grab a memory. For decades, Kodak was the rock solid standard in photography and as the 131-year old company files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, “Kodak moments” may be all that’s left of what was once one of the most powerful companies in the world. Kodak can’t compete let alone survive in this new world. The only thing keeping them alive is a trove of 11,000 patents, and even those don’t seem to be piquing anyone’s interest.
From household name to also-ran in a few years. This isn’t a story of a stubborn buggy-whip manufacturer going out of business for refusing to change. This is a carriage maker making a seemingly successful transition to the automobile and then, just as quickly, failing catastrophically.
So what happened?
Click.A Digital Decline
Digital photography took off and Kodak wasn’t ready for it. From the late 90s until about 2008 (which is also when camera phones became mainstream), the digital still camera market in the U.S. grew from 4.5 million units shipped in 2000 to 28.3 million units in 2007, according to PMA.
What’s interesting is that Kodak actually invented the first digital camera in 1975, but it was Sony who first introduced a digital camera to the people in the form of the Sony Mavica in 1981. Kodak, on the other hand, focused its digital technology on high-end, niche markets. They came to bat with a hybrid approach of sorts — offering sensors to other companies rather than building their own consumer products (Leica used their sensors for years and don’t even ask how that turned out) — because many of them couldn’t imagine a world in which selling one digital camera to a few power users would be more profitable than selling one-time-use film cameras to the masses… over and over again. A classic case of a disruptive technology coming in right under the incumbent’s nose.
Under CEO George Fisher, Kodak had been planning its digital strategy for most of the 90s. The problem was that the estimates for growth in the digital imaging sector were rather low anywhere outside of Japan during the late 90s. According to a study out of the University of Michigan business school, “the total volume of digital cameras sold outside Japan in 1997 was estimated to be only 400,000 units,” and many of them were believed to be for power users, not the general public.
Plus, Kodak’s presence in Japan was weak, at best, with Fuji absolutely dominating the Japanese film and camera market during the 90s.
That left Kodak leadership with a big decision. Should Kodak make a huge push into digital and risk cannibalizing its still-strong core business? That was the question, and the answers varied.
Here are two quotes from Kodak corporate literature from the UM study:
The keys to Eastman’s success in making photography a popular leisure-time activity for the masses were his development of roll film and the inexpensive box camera. Although film and cameras are far more sophisticated and versatile today, the fundamental principles behind his inventions have not changed.
Four years ago, when we talked about the possibilities of digital photography, people laughed. Today, the high-tech world is stampeding to get a piece of the action, calling digital imaging perhaps the greatest growth opportunity in the computer world. And, it may be.
Obviously, there was not a consensus and why would there be? Fuji dominated in Japan, and right at the moment that Kodak should have been pushing hard into the digital realm, estimates for anywhere outside of Japan remained low.
Clearly those estimates were wrong and Kodak was inevitably late to the game. Their first digital imaging offering was not a camera, but what they were calling the “Photo CD” in 1991. In 1996, Kodak made another small push with its pocket-sized DC20. At the time, digital was in its infancy and Kodak failed to see the possibilities, instead focusing on other digital products like scanners. In fact, Reuters reports that Kodak spent $ 5 billion on digital imaging research in 1993, only to delegate it to 23 separate scanner projects.
Five years after the DC20, however, Kodak made its biggest push into digital cameras with its EasyShare line. Dan Carp had taken control of the company and knew to a degree that if they didn’t at least try in digital, it would be a mistake. But by 2001, the market was crowded. Canon and Sony had already made huge leaps in the sector, and Kodak had some major ground to cover.
Fear of change is understandable, to an extent, but it’s also the kind of backwards, old-fashioned thinking we’re seeing today out of the RIM playbook (pun intended).
A big part of the issue there was talent. The same employees that may be geniuses in film and film cameras aren’t necessarily as advanced in electronics. This, of course, did nothing for company solidarity as Kodak’s digital and film branches were at odds. Kodak had plenty of great people and great photographers, but they couldn’t keep them on the payroll as other major players dropped into the digital game after 2000.
The company spread itself too thin in the mid-90s and on into the next millennium, spending millions on research only to release incrementally updated products in a number of different fields. Already behind, this only made matters worse.
Then in 2007, the company made a huge mistake in selling off its health imaging business for $ 2.35 billion, which was meant to go toward its consumer camera business. Unfortunately, health imaging had been good to Kodak and the firm sold off the business just in time to miss out on baby boomer retirement. Reuters recounts that Kodak didn’t want to spend the money required to migrate the health industry from analog to digital.
By 2008, the digital camera market was already starting its decline. A new technology had emerged: 120 million camera phones were in use in 2008, just in the U.S. alone, according to PMA. Also in the U.S., 2008 brought about the first drop in digital still camera sales, down from 28.3 million in 2007 to 27.7 million. The sector would experience a slow but steady decline from then on.
But what slowed Kodak down so much between the 90′s and now?Already Broken
To start, the retail landscape here in the U.S. changed dramatically over the 80s and 90s. Walmart, for one, saw a huge growth spurt in the 80s and opened its first superstore in 1988. And while Kodak was happy to be sold in big box chains, others were just as pleased to put their products in stores like Walmart.
You see, in the 70s and 80s, every little town had a tiny film store. Kodak owned the market wholesale, with between 80 and 90 percent share. Then Walmart, along with Sears, Costco, and other big box retailers, swallowed these little mom and pop stores up. Retailers learned that diversity, scrambled marketing, and one-stop shopping were important to consumers, and the only way to keep costs low was to squeeze the manufacturers into providing high-quality products at lower prices.
That’s where Fuji comes into play, and it seemed as though Kodak never saw it coming.
Kodak held between 7 and 10 percent of the Japanese market in the mid-90s, while Fuji had a dominant position. In fact, each of the companies held a rather dominant market share on their home turf, with Fuji representing 17 percent of the U.S. market. But distribution channels in the two countries were very different. While Kodak and Fuji were selling their products directly to retailers here in the States, distributors played middle-man over in Japan. Fuji, not surprisingly, had strong ties with the four major distributors in Japan, and Kodak… well, they didn’t like it.
In 1995, Kodak filed with the United States Trade Representative (USTR) for an investigation under Section 301 over whether or not the Japanese government had allowed anti-competitive practices. After two and a half years of litigation, the World Trade Organization in Geneva issued a “sweeping rejection of Kodak’s complaints” regarding Japan’s film market.
By dominating their own market and steadily making inroads in the U.S., Fuji had quite a bit of cash lying around to buy itself into new markets. And that’s exactly what it did. According to a case study [PDF] out of Pace University, “while the U.S. based Eastman Kodak Company was sleeping, the Japanese firm Fuji Photo Film opened its first film-production plant in the U.S., cut prices, marketed aggressively and stole valuable market share.”
This was between 1996 and 1997, when Kodak still held approximately 80 percent of the U.S. market and was focused primarily on roll film and film cameras. But Fuji was now prepared to duke it out in price wars, and though both companies denied actively engaging in such a thing, Kodak fired back hard each time Fuji cut prices. But it was too little, too late. In the years leading up to this, Kodak refused to cut prices for fear of profit erosion.
In 1996, however, Kodak signed an exclusive agreement with Costco that left Fuji with 2.5 million rolls of excess film. To avoid expiration, the company offered a 10 to 15 percent price cut. Kodak resisted engaging, and rightfully so (perhaps), as Salomon Smith Barney analyst Jonathan Rosenzweig figured that “for every 1 percent cut in Kodak film prices, a 1 percent drop in earnings per share results.”
Meanwhile, the American consumer was changing. While people still felt pride when they were “buying American,” imports became more and more attractive. A few years later, in January of 1999, the United States would record its single largest trade deficit month to date at $ 17 billion. To put it bluntly imports outweighed exports, and Fuji with its low-priced film fit into the U.S. market swimmingly.
By 1998, however, the competition between Fuji and Kodak seemed to slow down. Most of the price wars happened in the form of promotional deals rather than every day prices, but something even more fatal than Fuji was creeping up on Kodak: the digital revolution.The Only Hope
Kodak’s market share had already been eroded by Fuji, but the company, over a century old, had too much pride to change. When all is said and done, pride and nostalgia brought Kodak to its knees. But today there is (or was, rather) one saving grace.
Kodak holds 11,000 patents which analysts value around $ 1 billion. Since Kodak invented the first digital camera, and research was one of the four pillars of Kodak’s business strategy, it only makes sense that where digital imaging is concerned they own the technology.
But it’s too late to act like the technology in those patents is groundbreaking. It’s everywhere, and thus Kodak is suing everyone: RIM, Apple, HTC, Fujifilm, and Samsung. The company knows that its patents are its only solid source of revenue, whether it’s by selling them or licensing them.
Unfortunately, litigation takes years, and no one seems all that interested in buying Kodak’s patents. Which brings us to today.
After filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on January 19, 2012, Bloomberg is reporting that the company intends to shift its business toward printers and its ink. Selling off its camera unit and perhaps its patents should allow for more cash which can be invested in further patent litigation and licensing.
But this is a far cry from the Kodak of yesteryear. Once dominant, the 131-year old company is now fighting for survival and without a massive leap forward in terms of innovation, this may be the end.
There will still be kodak moments, but there may no longer be a Kodak.
MyU2B for iPhone/iPod is simply the best way to experience YouTube on a mobile device. Just click this link myu2b.com to learn more. (Coming soon to Android) Thanks so much! Please follow me on Twitter, http I have made this video to say I’m sorry for my last video… Diet Coke + Mentos = Human Experiment. This will explain what really happened. Thanks for all of your concern, paulRelated Posts:
Question by L. Randall R: What happened to youtube on iPhone? About a third of my favorite youtube videos that I watched all the time on my iPhone now show this message “Video Unavailable this video does not currently support iPhone.”. I can see them if I watch on my PC, and like I said, I use to watch them on the iPhone, so I know it can handle them. Does anyone know what happened and what I can do to watch them again?
Answer by Theiphonenerdif ever upload a video to youtube u r gonna have a option to select if you want your video to be watched on pc and mobile device. The video owner probably disable the mobile one!! thats why.
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Question by I kind of hate life…but I love me.: Spring break is over and I may want to ask him what the hell happened. Pls reply.? I liked a guy and initially he liked me too. HE told me to compare and contrast answers through facebook for hmwk. We never did that though. He deleted that he added me as a friend, which I found weird. We’re both pre-meds but super good looking (I have to work for it though). Initially we were flirting but sometimes I would ignore him. I felt scared and shy.He put up this thing our class talked about in school and I asked him about it and he didn’t respond to anyone but me. It was about birds and love. The next week I commented on it and we were okay again and flirting, atlhough he deleted my comment–the only comment that got the true meaning of the picture. I was tired of taking it so slow and giving mixed signal bc the day after commenting on that pic he approached me but I ignored him for my friend. Once I IMed on fb chat but it came out wrong… it basically sounded as if I was saying “Cool guys with a life hsouldn’t be onfb chat” and he went off after I said that. So I told him I like talking to him and I wish he would talk to me more. To reinforce it, I sat closer to him inclass–not next to him but in the same area. He usually has girls sit by him but he ignores them and stares at me, so much so that his friends, his friends that are girls (who hate me still) and even the professor notice. After that he started dressing up really hot. He also started talking openly more often, but always the same lines “Hey How are you?” I wouldn’t really extend the convo but seriously I just didn’t know how. Girls in my culture don’t initiate… everyone thinks I’m persian but I’m actually from a conservative Muslim household but trying to change it to be more open.
I IMed on the last week of classes but he was idle both times (it showed it after 2 minutes of IMing). He even approached me twice two times but it just wasn’t going anywhere because I just didn’t know what I was suppose to do. Then on the last day of class I wanted to say bye to him at least… and I kept bumping into him… so finally I couldn’t avoid him bc he was alone and in front of me and he says his robotic “Hey How are you?” and I say “fine how are you.” He literally freaks out and starts talking rude to me and says “I have to go. I’m super busy. I have to go.” People noticed our feelings in class and one of my friends (who said he’s too crazy and wild for sweet girls and that she should set me up with a sweet guy also) noticed he defriended me on facebook. Not only that he blocked me.
I have a lot of respect for myself so I had to do something. So I sent him a message through my family fb account and basically said he was immature and should have handled things more politely bc I expected more kinder behavior and that I doubt he would want anyone to do this to a respected female and I’m someone’s too. Two days later… I just thought I should be fair bc I screwed with his head too…so I t old him I liked him and sorry to play games but I was new at it, shy, from a conservtative culture, and freaked out at how everyone paid attention. The next week was finals. He’s tall and he was looking for me and I spotted him earlier. When he saw me he smiled and couldn’t help laugh (not rudely but really happy type). In class he looked at me, but n ot in the just I find you hot way, but I respect you. His friend that’s a girl really hates me now…even though he hasn’t unblocked me or blocked my family account. He doesn’t go on fb anymore or update his statuses or check on his friend’s activity. There’s no new girls, just his needs to have no regret and party it up. Or maybe he’s hiding the girls…just like he hid me.
I don’t think he’s a bad guy. He’s never been in relationships atleast picture wise or comment wise. Most of his friends ar eguys. He’s open when he’s with his friends and parties and clubbing…but no real relationship experience. He’s arabic. I’ve grown up around Arabics. Gneeraly they party like crazy and then sober up mid-late 20s.
As for me, I have no real guy figure in my life. My guy friends are old and true and have known me for quite a while for us to have gotten as close as we are (child hood friends, college guys that have been in my courses for years). It takes me a while to open up and although I have many admirers most don’t appeal enough to do risks as I did here.
I don’t think there is a positive end to this but I want to grow as a person. Can you point out in all the ways I’m wrong. I know this is long but I could do some growing up and I don’t want to makek the same mistakes. Thank you for your time.
Pic of me and he’s super cute: http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c101/exoticeyez03/12861_1261159402549_1036590090_3078.jpg
Answer by RachelSweetie, I admire how you handled yourself. Very classy woman might I add. But I think that as part of growing up and being in that college age, you should open up. Be open to anything. Think about it, was the guy you had a crush on a celebrity or the King of England? No. So relax. The guy you had a crush on was just like you and me. Just an average person. You both are on the same level. And in the sense that you aren’t as open as you could be, please don’t let people walk over you. I hate seeing sweet girls get walked all over. You are a grown, classy woman I think that you can stand your ground. When he deleted you off of facebook, that was very immature. Right then and there, you should have forgotten about him. I know it’s hard but he erased you. He basically deleted you from his life. You shouldn’t have messaged him from your family account. I don’t care how hot he is, if my crush did something like that, I would have said ok, on to the next one. Remember honey, there are other fish in the sea. I hope I helped you.
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…thought dell said when they first showed it off it was going to be more details(or released i forget) weeks after it was shown off and that was months ago. gdgt – new in gadgetsRelated Posts:
I get the feeling that we have just participated in a dare — or the indulgence of a delusion. What else could explain the utterly insane spectacle that just took place in Galen Center here in LA? We were promised an experience. I experienced something, all right. Not something I’m in a hurry to experience again, I’m afraid.
Those of you who weren’t present for this indecipherable boondoggle are probably wondering what the fuss is all about. The fact is there’s no fuss at all; the Project Natal Experience was a complete non-event — and I’d have said that even if the device, name, and launch titles didn’t all leak a couple hours before the show. But the fact also is that this was just too weird not to share. In detail. Do you like to read? Good.We were shuttled to the venue a little before 6; Matt, Nicholas and I were unsure of the nature of the event and thought it best to arrive a little early in case there was a line to demo the machines. I laugh now at our innocence. How little we knew then! So young, so full of life. I envy the me of earlier today.
So we arrived at 6:00, I say. A third of the street was blocked off to form the line, though puzzlingly, the entire sidewalk and parking strip was blocked off as well and inaccessible to us. A second line ran parallel to the main one, and seemed to be the dominion of anybody willing to look like they belonged there. European E3 attendees flouted traffic laws and took pictures of downtown from in front of frustrated buses.
Like cattle we stood for a bit over an hour, staring at a huge sign featuring Felix the Cat and watching a seemingly endless number of media people zoom by, getting line shots. There must be some streamlining to be done there: Microsoft should have pre-released video of a mockup line to obviate such redundant and pointless efforts.
The weather was clear and warm, luckily for us; Los Angeles has that going for it at least. A drum being slowly beaten at what we presumed to be the entrance to the Experience became like the tick of a clock — yet time, nor the line, never moved forward. I struck up a conversation with one of the founders of Gamasutra, a site you should read. We determined that free to play is an interesting business model.
Finally, a bit after 7 if memory serves, they asked us all to crush forward, ruining our finely knit socio-physical networks and creating a rush toward the entrance. Fancifully made-up women and men were moving sinuously beneath decorations that resembled ferns and scorpions’ tails equally, and their unexplained undulating had made us more curious than ever. The drum beat on.
At the entrance, those of us wearing green wristbands (Nicholas and I) were separated from those wearing orange ones (Matt) and many brief, but emotional, farewells were heard. Nicholas and I were stopped in order to be a backdrop for some sort of hip young broadcaster, and a hovering producer gave several one-minute warnings (cry wolf much?). Several minutes passed and although the front line was asked to show enthusiasm, we ended up simply swarming past, as the pressure of hundreds of attendees was at our backs and after an hour standing, enthusiasm was in short supply.
Before going inside, we were told “pace yourselves.” As to where this advice was meant to be applied, I have no idea to this hour. But what I do know is that upon entering, we were issued dazzling white polyester ponchos with puffy, rigid shoulder pads. Thus, attired as if attending a wedding in 17th-century Tokyo, we entered a dark hallway lined with velvet curtains.
It was short. Not ten steps brought us to a rectangular hole in the wall, through which was visible a happy family sitting on a couch in a brightly lit room. Through was the only way forward. “Welcome!” they said, grinning, as we stepped into the breach in the wall. “We’ve been waiting for you.” Puzzled, scared, and embarrassed, we passed on through to the next phase of the nightmare as the happy family warmly greeted the next clot of gamers.
Now we entered into the Experience proper. Emerging into the center area of a large exhibition hall, we began to understand just what Microsoft had in store for us. Which is to say, we began to understand that we would never understand what the hell Microsoft was thinking when it designed this absurd event.
Above stadium seating crowded with like-poncho’ed, seated attendees (separated from the center, and us, by enormous veils), there were screens a hundred feet long and fifteen feet tall depicting a jungle scene inhabited by Xbox Live avatars. They laughed, climbed trees, and walked jankily across the screen, eventually teleporting out to be replaced by a new set. At the far end of the room, a sort of series of boulders led upwards from a painted man in a spotlight, who was meditating as hard as he could. A family of three smiled and pointed from a couch suspended 70 feet in the air. Throughout our little arena, faunlike dancers flitted about, not speaking, but inviting you to tap your foot in a virtual pool of water or have your photo taken on top of a rock. Occasionally, one would do a backflip.
I describe it at a stroke, but there was much more to it than the setup. For one thing, the awkwardness was palpable. A few thousand people somehow related to the gaming industry, unceremoniously shunted into a weird jungle concept-environment which they are all trying to unravel, with nowhere to go, nothing to do, and fatally, nothing to drink. I will say this: if every time I was surprised by a faun, they surprised me with a vodka tonic, I would have borne the rest of the evening much better. As it was, we stood looking at each other, murmuring, and watching the glitchy three-minute loop of avatars in the jungle.
This is where it gets difficult to explain. You see, we stood like this, as we had stood outside, for even longer than we had outside, and without anything happening except an occasional faun backflip or a slight change in the music (imagine a theme song to climbing that big tree in Avatar stomping on a human face, forever). There was nowhere for us to sit, and I learned later that there was nowhere for the sitters in the “audience” to stand. Nicholas had asked earlier: “Are we being waterboarded?” In a way, Nicholas: waterboarded by Enya. The event was scheduled to start at 7, and it was past 8. I posited two options: either this was it, and Microsoft had completely lost it, or there was some kind of insurmountable delay and they hadn’t planned for an hour of downtime. Matt heard it blamed on “VIPs.” I think they were having trouble with the elephant.
During this time, we of course wanted to record the nonsense going on around us. But everyone who produced a phone or camera was instantly shut down by a sort of gadget police, who informed us that any and all technology was being suppressed. They gave up after a while, because really, what are you going to do? Unfortunately the light was terrible and the only shot I got is at the top, there. The others came from Microsoft (from last night’s private showing, I gather).
After we had been standing for (I think) at least an hour, the fauns made a move. They split the floor right down the middle, grabbed some poncho people, and made a sort of soul train line, down which several people did backflips. I can’t say more because my attention was riveted on the fabulously pneumatic faun-girl in front of me. The faun-men were wearing all manner of thick and stylish things, by the way, and the faun-girls were made to wear the tightest leotards I’ve ever seen (no exaggeration). Make of that what you will.
The soul train gave way to a sort of micro-show, in which some fauns mimed and showed signs to their side of the audience, and a pair of huge novelty cans on a rope was stretched from one side of the auditorium to the other. The two sides were meant, I think, to yell a sort of conversation, but games journalists have no coordination, nor volume, and the message was lost among the tom-toms and jungle flutes. Props to the fauns for disentangling the rope-ball and unhooking that poor guy’s head. All part of the show, folks!
We all expected this, I think, to segue directly to the show itself. Not really: we stood about for another 15 minutes or so, until finally, finally, the music changed and we saw some scorpion-fern-lamps being brought out. My memory of the event here is a bit fuzzy, but I believe this is about the time when the elephant arrived. The couch had descended, I think, and the kid got off, and then… an elephant.
Not a real elephant, of course, although it was quite well engineered. I can forgive the girls behind Matt, who he tells me were convinced it was real until displays on its sides indicated internal projectors. You ever see a hollow elephant? Me neither. On top of the elephant rode some kid, carrying a glowing koosh ball the size of a head. He dismounted, and was carried on the shoulders of some fauns, who (someone help me out here) I do believe dropped him about halfway to the stage and hurriedly scooped him up again. It was inelegantly done, I’m afraid, if a part of the act. Anyway, the koosh was brought to the stage, then thrown into the crowd, rather hard I thought at the time, where it nailed someone.
SINCE THE DAWN OF TIME, announced a voice, SOMETHING ABOUT CONTROLLERS. CONTROLLERING YOU. MACHINES AND MANKIND. BUT WHAT IF SOMETHING ABOUT YOU ARE THE CONTROLLER?! (paraphrased)
The kid then played his way through a few games on plain ol’ controllers, climbing up successive boulders, before climbing the biggest one… which suddenly was revealed to be — a huge Xbox X. Suddenly, all our shoulders lit up like fireflies. I had to clap at this. Well done, Microsoft. And now the kid played something without a controller, and we were treated to the name we all knew by now from checking our emails, texts, feeds, and so on. Kinect. Some of us also already knew the games they were to announce. You probably did by then. But we got the full monty — as if we had a choice.
The “final screen” was actually a small room in which (after it spun around a bit) was to be found a family of smiling, perfect actors. I won’t give you a play-by-play of the games they pretended to play (and if you ask me, a few they actually did), but we saw quite a number — a dozen or so. Mine carts, river rafting, standing on the wings of a plane doing nothing (?), doing yoga, dancing, a whole track and field thing, a pet tiger, and a Star Wars game assaulted us on all sides. One view showed the player, the others showed the game. As for how the hardware performed, who can say? Not everyone was convinced the players were even playing. I’m skeptical of the actual control possibilities, but I’ll wait until we get our hands-on. Anyhow.
There was a complete WTF moment at one point around now when, after seeing several gameplay demos obviously compressed to make them more rapid-fire, we were treated to an extremely long Disney castle logo and Tinkerbell. Yes, Tinkerbell took her sweet time flying all the way around the screens ringing the room, and her presence was never explained. They simply moved on to the next demo. If my mind could have been re-boggled, this would have been the time for it. Keep in mind that this whole time, the entire cast of fauns (plus their yellow, meditative leader) were perched on the boulders beneath this constantly rotating room, swaying and pouting and pointing at objects of interest.
While showing off the Kinect interface for Xbox Live video and stuff (which actually looked quite cool), the daughter of the family treated us to a curiously stiff video conversation with a friend, and showed a slideshow of slightly Lynchian photos of the family. I had to turn my eyes away.
The great climax was near. I forget how they justified this, but all of a sudden the huge screens moved and revealed behind them a number of small cubicles, each one of which featured a family in full dance mode. Our shoulder pads blinked and changed color; I noticed some audience members had already taken theirs to pieces and were waving the LEDs. The fauns broke out the flashlights and began shining them around, and the perfect family in the rotating box urged us to join in the dance party. Needless to say, few joined in (footsore as we were, having stood for about three hours straight now) and as the house lights did not come on, we were informed that we had just taken part in the Project Natal Experience.
We were asked to return the ponchos on our way out, and in return were provided with toy cats and USB drives containing the assets you see adorning this post.
What is to be made of all this? Nothing positive, unfortunately. To be honest, I had to stop myself from making the preceding 2000 words a diatribe against everything in Microsoft that creates stuff like this. I mean, they must have spent half a million dollars on the setup, and probably have paid some 300 guards, dancers, “families,” and so on all kinds of money. And the message that the thousands of attendees will take away is…? Nothing. Nothing but vague memories of crass artifice and cute faun butt.
But it’s E3 and madness is in the air. Will anyone top this? Not to cut speculation short here, but I sincerely doubt it, and I can’t say that’s a good thing. I’m extremely skeptical of this kind of event, however colorful of a blurb it makes for USA Today. To anyone with eyes to see, however, it’s clear that this sort of thing is hugely wasteful — both of their money and our time. Nothing was gained at this event, and really, not much of value was ventured. Aside from the actual demo, it could have been an announcement for almost any product, by any company, and that soullessness undercut any joy it might have produced.
This sensationalistic flailing about, clearly just a common attempt to gain coverage regardless of content, is both unnecessary and undignified. It’s painful when you compare this to the huge and genuine response generated by a microscopic (but highly meaningful) PR effort like Valve’s promoting Portal 2. The excitement latent in a company or brand’s fans cannot be accessed with a shabby skeleton key like a re-purposed Cirque du Soleil act. The lesson I took away from today’s event was that Microsoft has no idea how or to whom they should promote this product. Anything would have been better than this — anything but Nintendo’s farcical stiff-backed-businessman-uses-hip-lingo strategy, that is, which would become Microsoft even worse than it does the big N.
I’m excited to try out the Kinect (which I say has nothing to do with the Kin, despite what John and Matt think), but this event only drained my enthusiasm. It was the kind of event thrown by a group of people who have no interesting ideas. Sure, this is just the debut, but whatever the follow-up is, this was inarguably a weak start. It’s too early to say whether the technology itself is compelling enough to bear the weight of Microsoft’s tenacious and mystifying marketing incompetence, but it shouldn’t have to in the first place.
We’ll have plenty of hands-on video later in the show.
Props to CrunchGearRelated Posts:
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