By Jared Newman | Friday, August 27, 2010 at 9:03 am
Surprise! PC Maker Lenovo is making a video game console called the Ebox, and has no qualms about mentioning it in the same breath as Microsoft’s Kinect for Xbox 360.
Like Kinect, the Ebox operates without a controller, instead using a camera that beams out infrared light to detect body shapes. “We are the world’s second company to produce a controller-free game console, behind only Microsoft,” Jack Luo, president of Lenovo’s spin-off gaming company eedoo Technology, told China Daily.
Lenovo plans to debut the Ebox in China this November, but the launch could get pushed to next year. Games for the console will have elements of Chinese culture, intended to appease a government that prohibits the sale of game consoles for fear that they physically and mentally harm the nation’s children. At launch, 30 games will be available, and 16 global game developers have reportedly signed on.
So, what are the odds that the Ebox becomes available stateside? IDG News reports that the console will launch throughout Asia sometime after the debut in China, with other overseas markets to follow, but I’m guessing those plans hinge on whether the Ebox is a success in its home country. The reported support from game developers is encouraging, but so far the lack of photo or video of actual games being played raises some skepticism.
Anyway, let’s see how Microsoft’s Kinect performs first, as it remains to be seen whether controller-free play is the future of gaming or just a passing fad. If Kinect somehow becomes an industry-changing force on par with Nintendo’s Wii, Lenovo’s Ebox won’t be the only clone to watch out for.