Future Shop appears to be the first Canadian retailer to be accepting pre-orders for the new Microsoft Xbox 360 Slim Console in all of its sleek blackness. As Don Mattrick announced earlier today, the shelf price is indeed $299.99 and the hard drive is 250GB. The new console also has built-in WIFI and is said to be “whisper quiet” which is something my current Xbox 360 Elite is not. Future Shop has placed a limit of 1 pre-order per household, and the current estimated date of arrival is December 31 2010. Won’t it be a nice surprise when it arrives earlier?
Ubisoft announced during their E3 press event that Your Shape™: Fitness Evolved is in development exclusively for Kinect™ for Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft. Developed by Ubisoft Montreal, the game will be available at retail in Fall 2010. Using the power of Kinect™ for Xbox 360® and Ubisoft’s proprietary Player Projection technology, Your Shape™: Fitness Evolved will give players full control of their fitness experience through voice and body motions. Your Shape™: Fitness Evolved will deliver a dynamic, interactive and convenient at-home workout tailored to each player’s individual fitness goals. The combination of Kinect™ for Xbox 360® with Ubisoft’s Player Projection technology will provide the player with unprecedented precision, feedback and results.
“Ubisoft’s Your Shape™: Fitness Evolved leverages the interactivity of Kinect™ for Xbox 360® to revolutionize fitness gaming,” said Felicia Williams, international brand manager at Ubisoft. “Your Shape™: Fitness Evolved is so precise, fun and interactive that players won’t even realize that they are getting a great workout while playing our game.”
Ubisoft’s Player Projection technology is a trailblazer for Kinect™ for Xbox 360®. The player’s real silhouette is projected on screen, not through an Avatar, making the player the main focus of the experience. Oh, joy. The player’s real body is tracked during the training session, enabling the game to give direct feedback, telling the player if they have reached the optimal position for the most efficient and immersive fitness experience ever.
Players will have the freedom to choose how they want to play and interact with Your Shape™: Fitness Evolved. They have the choice of working with a personal trainer, taking a variety of classes or getting the entire family involved with fun mini-games, such as dancing and target practice. At the start of the game, players will complete a fitness test and will be asked to input their goals. The game will then offer players a complete fitness program fully adapted to their goals and capabilities, and the fitness program will evolve and change as a players’ fitness level improves, keeping them motivated and challenged.
Players will also have the opportunity to work out with some of the best personal trainers in the industry in the comfort of their own homes without the cost of a gym membership. Michael George, Los Angeles–based celebrity fitness trainer and Michelle Bridges, trainer for all five series on Australia’s “The Biggest Loser,” will both offer workout classes at launch. There are also a variety of fitness class options, including yoga, Pilates, martial arts and boxing. In addition, Your Shape™: Fitness Evolved will also offer a wide choice of mini-games including dancing, ball games, balance games and hula-hoop. The mini games support turn-based multiplayer mode so players can challenge friends and family.
Kinect™ for Xbox 360® puts you at the center of your favorite entertainment experiences, including fitness,” said Matt Barlow, general manager of IEB marketing for Microsoft. “The precision of the Kinect sensor will transform your workout routine by making you the controller, taking technology out of your hands to allow you to get fit and have fun in the most natural way possible.”
Your Shape’s online fitness portal will allow players to track and share all their workout data and will provide a centralized location for all fitness, wellness and training needs. It will host a thriving community where users can share their fitness challenges, interact with groups and stay inspired and engaged. Your Shape™: Fitness Evolved will also offer new content online available on Xbox LIVE® Marketplace to refresh and continually develop players’ workout experiences.
While Your Shape: Fitness Evolved might look really cool, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood looks absolutely amazing. Ubisoft Montreal’s Patrick Plourde revealed that Brotherhood will exploit the full potential of horses – gamers will be able to ride them within cities as well as use them in combat. There will of course be new abilities and new weaponry, including the very useful cannon. This will come in handy, as Patrick stated that the enemy NPC AI has become more aggressive. I see much respawning in my future.
The artwork in Brotherhood is the same outstanding, if not better, work we saw in Assassin’s Creed 2, and Ubisoft promises even more memorable moments for players in addition to the new multiplayer option. Sadly though, it appears that dear Uncle Mario will meet his untimely end in Brotherhood, at the hands of the nasty Borgia family. Let’s hope that we will get a multitude of opportunities to exact revenge and steal back the Apple of Eden.
Also showcased during the Ubisoft presser event was Shaun White Skateboarding. Shaun White was on stage to walk attendees through his latest title, pointing out that the game was built on a solid skateboarding base, right down to board weights, basic moves and the ability to change your character’s outfit. The game has many features, and players will also be able to master Shaun’s signature skateboard trick The Armadillo.
Don’t forget to sign up for Electronic Arts’ new ‘Gun Club’ – an affinity program that rewards gamers for doing what they love best – enjoying their favorite games. ‘Gun Club’ members will receive benefits ranging from in-game content unlocks, early access to beta tests and demos, as well as the hottest news and exclusive access to development teams. The ‘Gun Club’ brings together some of the world’s biggest and best games, including Battlefield: Bad Company™ 2, Medal of Honor™ and a brand new paid digital expansion pack for Battlefield: Bad Company 2 set in Vietnam. Additional games will follow, including offers from Battlefield Heroes™ and Dead Space™ 2, among other titles.
“This program takes our games from being individual launches to being part of an ecosystem within our portfolio, while showing fans our appreciation for their loyalty. The Gun Club gives us a platform to cross-pollinate our games, dialogue directly with players and add value to the entertainment experience for fans,” says Jeff Karp, Senior VP of Marketing at EA. “Today, we are launching the Gun Club with Battlefield: Bad Company 2 and Medal of Honor – two of the hottest titles coming out this year… and this is just the beginning.”
Starting today, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 VIPs become eligible to redeem Medal of Honor rewards (conditions may apply), including early access to the Medal of Honor beta as well as early access to a Medal of Honor weapon unlock in the retail version of the game — the M24 Sniper Rifle. Using their existing EA profile as their Gun Club membership profile, gamers will access content that just might give them an edge in battle.
– Angry. Upset. Afraid. – Kids reported these feelings about negative online experiences.
– More than half feel some personal responsibility for their negative online experiences(i).
– Nearly seven in 10 say they would turn to their parents if something bad happened online(ii).
– But nearly half think they are more careful online than their parents while twenty percent actually say their parents have “no idea” what they are doing online.
The Norton Online Family Report which will be released tomorrow, June 15th, in conjunction with the announcement from Symantec that Norton Online Family is now available for free, is a good reminder for parents to plug in to their kids’ online lives, if they’re not already – especially with kids spending an average of 10 percent more time online per month than last year(iii). Over the past three years, Norton has examined the gaps between parents and kids with respect to their online beliefs and behaviors. With this year’s report, Norton also looked at the emotional impact of online experiences on kids and their online codes of conduct.
Norton went straight to the source, surveying 2,800 kids and more than 7,000 adults in 14 countries about their online lives and experiences. The resulting study, the Norton Online Family Report, was conducted by research company StrategyOne and examines kids’ actual online experiences compared with parents’ assumptions – with some surprising results.
According to NetFamilyNews.org Editor and ConnectSafely.org Co-Director Anne Collier, who collaborated with Norton on the study: “This report provides a rare glimpse into the online lives of young people in many countries – in their own words. Not only does it send a clear message that the online safety and security issues around parenting are universal, it offers insights and information that can empower parents worldwide to help kids use the Internet safely and keep family communication about technology open and ongoing – the number-one Net-safety best practice at home, school, and everywhere.”
In 2008(iv), Norton found that kids reported spending nearly 10 times as much time online as parents realized. In 2009, the gap shrunk to kids reporting being online twice as much as parents realized. This year, kids and parents are fully in sync about the about of time kids spend online – closing one major gap.
However, only 45 percent of parents realize their kids are having negative experiences. While parents are generally aware of the activities kids participate in online, they underestimate the extent to which kids download music and videos, activities in which kids may be exposed to inappropriate content and encouraged to disclose personal details.
Kids are feeling the powerful emotional impact of negative online experiences. Children are most likely to feel angry (39 percent), upset (36 percent), afraid (34 percent) and fearful/worried (34 percent) as a result of such an incident. One-fifth of kids worldwide regret something they’ve done online. Further, kids feel some personal responsibility for these negative experiences, especially downloading a virus or being scammed.
Kids actually want more parental involvement in their online lives. In addition to relying on their parents if something bad happened online, nearly nine in 10 report they follow family rules for Internet use. In addition, most kids say they have online manners: nearly seven in 10 say they don’t bully and aren’t mean to others online, over six in 10 say they don’t harass or stalk others online, and nearly six in 10 refrain from passing on embarrassing photos or posts about others. More than half wouldn’t do or say anything online that they wouldn’t do or say off-line.
While kids are aware of many common sense rules for staying safe online, the old rules are not enough to keep up with the fast-changing online world. In addition to talking to kids, keeping security software up to date and using tools specifically designed for kids’ safety, parents can improve kids’ online experiences with new tips that combine technology and communication.
– Prepare your kids for good or bad experiences online – don’t wait until after something happens.
– Highlight the importance of thinking before clicking and downloading.
– Use a search advisor to help identify if a website is safe versus unsafe.
– Let your kids know that what happens to them online is a shared responsibility – children cannot take all of the responsibility for what happens to them online.
Key Canadian Findings from The Report
– Although the majority of Canadian parents say they have house rules in place surrounding their child’s use of the Internet (69 percent), only 42 percent have actually set parental controls on their family computer.
– Only 49 percent of parents in Canada think their child has experienced a negative online situation, while 61 percent of Canadian children reported that they have.
– Four most common negative incidents include: someone I didn’t know tried to add me as a friend on a social networking site (45 percent), I downloaded a virus to my own or family computer (30 percent), and I have seen violent or nude images online (24 percent).
– Canadian kids are most likely to feel upset (50 percent), angry (45 percent), or afraid (36 percent) following a negative online situation.
– 40 percent of Canadian children report that they are more careful about their online activities than their parents.
– 83 percent of Canadian children say they follow their family’s rules for Internet use.
– Kids’ own rules/etiquette for being online revolve around not bullying or being mean to others online (80 percent), telling a parent/teacher/guardian if they are being bullied or harassed online (77 percent), and telling a parent/teacher/guardian if they suspect someone else is being bullied or harassed online (72 percent).
– 80 percent of Canadian parents have spoken to their child about safe online habits; 52 percent of parents have rules about how much kids may spend online; 39 percent check their child’s social network site.
– 46 percent of Canadian children say they’re allowed to download computer games on their own, without supervision.
– Canadian kids are not following some common sense rules: 59 percent are not using complex passwords and changing them regularly, 58 percent are not wary of pop-up banner ads, and 53 percent are trusting online offers at first glance.
– Canadian children see their parents as the first point of call when something bad happens to them online.
(i) The average percentage among those kids who reported having had a negative online experience. Negative online experiences included:
downloading a virus; responding to online scams; having someone they don’t know online try to meet them in the real world, having someone try to get them to do something online they thought was wrong; seeing violent/nude images; receiving “sexts” of someone they know; being bullied via mobile; being bullied via computer; or receiving “sexts” of someone they don’t know.
(ii) The average percentage of kids who reported that they would be most likely to turn to parents/guardians if any of the following happened online: someone online threatened them with physical harm in real life; they saw something suspicious or inappropriate online (like horrible images or websites); they had an email or a pop up offering you a big prize or asking them to send money; someone was threatening or black-mailing them online; or their social networking account was hijacked or hacked into.
(iii) The Norton Online Living Report 2009 surveyed online adults and children in 12 countries (U.S., Canada, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, China, Japan, India, Australia, and Brazil). Additional methodology available upon request.
(iv) The Norton Online Living Report 2008 surveyed online adults and children in eight countries (U.S., UK, France, Germany, China, Japan, Australia, and Brazil). Additional methodology available upon request.