January 2011 Paul McCollum
Elegant and simple, the Sifteo Game Cube is a combination of software and hardware that could be the delivery system for a whole new era of family gaming and fun. Linked to a computer through a wireless USB transmitter the 3 to 6 handheld gaming cubes participate in the games individually. The cubes are quite sensitive with a clickable face and motion sensors to tell how they are being held and moved. They also have a proximity sensor to allow them to interact with other cubes and sense order and even stacking. They “must” be running Android under the covers. While their current offering of games is a little light (more are being developed in their labs every day.), if this new device makes it into the open source community, we see tons of potential. The display is fairly small at only 128×128 pixels so even the most amazing games or homebrew will be somewhat low-def. Despite that, the gaming potential is really exciting.
Kid games are shown on the website and could be really contagious given how closely they resemble Pokemon or Tamagotchi type games, but have much less chance of getting taken away by the teacher since they only really work when playing games with the PC in range. The next step is to think of them as thinking flash cards which could be given to tiny hands for really early learning boosts. This new breed of baby Einsteins might then enjoy the options for Sifteo to host very adult friendly games like Poker or BlackJack, with the motion sensors reading 3D gestures for ‘hit’, ‘stay’ or ‘fold’. The first limited run of the devices has already sold out but their shelves should restock shortly. For only $149 for a 3 pack of Cubes, charger station and transmitter look for these to be next holiday season’s most popular gift. Sabacc anyone?