>Knights of Columbus, this is going to be difficult.
I am currently a beta tester for an upcoming, big-deal product that will be launching later this year. I’m not entirely sure how I was able to secure that gig, but I’m not complaining; it’s as close as I will most likely ever get to being in the videogame industry, and so I’m taking it pretty seriously.
Now, you can imagine that something this big-deal would come with a strict NDA, and you’d be right. That hasn’t stopped other people from uploading YouTube videos, of course, but – as I said earlier – I’m taking this pretty seriously, and so I’ve been biting my tongue.
Even so, there’s only so much of this silence that I can take.
Can you bear with me? Can you muster enough patience to get through this with me?
Then know this: it’s not perfect, but it’s actually pretty neat.
I’ve listened to a bunch of gaming podcasts regarding ________, and read any number of “hands-on” previews, and they all generally say the same thing: ________ is not for the hard-core. These previewers make no bones about their negative bias going in, and nothing they see convinces them otherwise. (It’s perhaps a little unfortunate that the enthusiast press is so clearly lacking in objectivity, but it’s not like this is the first time that this kind of thing has happened.) The larger issue, though, is that they all seem to miss the point: ________ is not a product that was ever intended for the hard-core. ________ is meant to get the non-gamer involved.
Of course, the problem is convincing a non-gamer to buy this thing in the first place. I would imagine that a lot of ________’s sales are going to be from people like me – we’ll buy it so that our wives and children and other non-gaming friends will get involved and enjoy it. And so I recognize the angle that the press is taking here – is there enough value in ________ to justify a purchase in the first place? Will there be any residual enjoyment after the non-gamer in the household is finished? Can it ever appeal to the hard-core crowd?
Lest we get sidetracked here into an unnecessary discussion of what exactly constitutes “hard-core”, let me answer the more relevant questions: Yes, it works (although it’s not yet perfect), and yes, it’s fun (but mostly when the game itself is fun, too). And yes, the non-gamers who have come over to the apartment have been gob-smacked, which is probably the reaction that the makers of ________ were hoping for.
The most recent update to the ________ software includes one of the titles that got my wife’s immediate attention when we watched some of this year’s E3 coverage, and that’s the one that we ended up showing off to our guests this weekend. And they loved it. They even loved just messing around with it, in between actual games – they loved seeing a 1-to-1 reaction between themselves and their avatars. They loved seeing how, when my wife and I moved back into the playing area, ________ recognized us and changed our on-screen appearances accordingly. It’s the best thing to use ________ by a long shot, and it’s the one that really shows off ________’s potential, even if it’s ultimately just a really good-looking proof-of-concept showpiece. The biggest downside to the ________ software so far is the tendency towards laggy sensitivity, but this specific game seems to have conquered that problem. It’s breathtaking.
And there’s more to ________ than the software. I’m not really at liberty to explain just what kind of testing I did yesterday, but there were hints that the ________ interface will work with various components and applications on the master machine, which would be pretty neat. (It’s more than a little ironic, actually – part of the appeal of ________ is its whole “get off the couch” nature, and yet some of the non-gaming functionality actually ends up meaning that you can stay on the couch, and not even have to press any buttons.)
Hmm. I’m sure that I’ve said a lot more than I’m allowed to say, so I’ll stop, even though there’s a lot more that I want to talk about. The short version, though, is that it’s got some serious potential, and I’m very curious to see what happens next.