It's hard to believe, but Sifteo's interactive gaming Cubes first went on sale just over a year ago. Fast forward to the present, and the company has unveiled version two of the MIT-born blocks. If you'll recall, the 1.7-inch squares let you play interactive table-top games, each featuring a 1.5-inch LCD screen, motion sensing and wireless connectivity. With this next-gen variant, Sifteo's improved the graphics, added capacitive touch to the screen (the original acted like a physical button) and doubled the amount of Cubes that can interact at once to 12. The V2 Cubes also come packed with a dedicated, AAA-powered, wireless base station / speaker that stores your titles, sparing the need for a computer to play as was the case with the originals -- an onboard USB port allows downloaded files to be transferred from your computers. Developers looking to create content for the device will also pleased to know that Sifteo's releasing its next SDK on October 1st.
Ready for some tangibly-cute Cube gameplay? Pre-orders begin today at Sifteo's website, priced at $130 for 3 Cubes with a base station and five games, and $30 for each additional cube. They're set to ship in November, so in the meantime you'll find details in the video demo and press release after the break.
Sifteo Cubes next generationSee all photos
Update: For those curious, we've learned that the original Cubes are not compatible with the new ones, but Sifteo has emailed owners with a $50 voucher that they can use toward upgrading.
SIFTEO ANNOUNCES THE NEXT-GENERATION OF SIFTEO CUBES, THE AWARD-WINNING INTERACTIVE GAME SYSTEM
Enhanced core technology and A-list game partnerships define next-gen Sifteo Cubes for expanded, portable "Intelligent Play"
San Francisco, August 30, 2012 – Sifteo, Inc. today announced the upcoming availability of its next-generation Sifteo Cubes interactive game system and A-list game partnerships. Sifteo Cubes are motion-aware 1.7-inch blocks with full-color touch-sensitive TFT LCDs. The cubes communicate wirelessly and respond to each others proximity and players' gestures during gameplay. The tactile nature of Sifteo Cubes combined with puzzle packed games deliver on Sifteo's promise of Intelligent Play – a gaming experience that will get minds and hands moving. The next-generation Sifteo Cubes are completely portable and feature enhanced technology and deeper gameplay. They are available for pre-order today, and will begin shipping in November.
Sifteo Cubes: Now Portable and Enhanced
Play on the go! The new, ultra-compact Sifteo Base eliminates the need for a computer during gameplay and makes Sifteo Cubes truly portable. The Sifteo Base stores players' games, plays game audio with a built-in speaker, and wirelessly communicates with Sifteo Cubes.
"We're extremely proud of the original Sifteo Cubes product, and the next-generation Sifteo Cubes are the next step in Sifteo's mission to make classic play interactive," said Dave Merrill, President and co-founder, Sifteo. "Creating a completely portable system has been a top priority since we started Sifteo, and today we're incredibly excited to be achieving that goal and more."
Sifteo Cubes will ship with four game titles pre-installed and ready to play out of the box. Players can purchase additional games using Sifteo Sync, the Sifteo desktop software. Purchased games sync automatically when the Sifteo Base is plugged into the computer, then the base and cubes can be tossed into the included soft carrying case for play on the go. The Sifteo Base and Cubes run on AAA batteries.
The new Sifteo Cubes interactive game system also expands the number of cubes that can be in play up to 12 (original Sifteo Cubes support six). Adding additional cubes unlocks new levels, puzzles, and special characters, and allows the whole family to come together for hands-on play. Each player can maneuver a cube or two (or three, or more!), as they collaborate or compete to solve puzzles and explore worlds.
Sifteo Signs A-List Partners
Sifteo is thrilled to announce new partnerships with Nickelodeon, the number-one entertainment brand for kids, and game designer Richard Garfield, creator of the popular card game Magic: The Gathering.
Sifteo and Nickelodeon are developing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Ninja Slide for release this November. The new game is part of a four-game contract with Nickelodeon to develop titles
exclusively for Sifteo Cubes starring some of Nickelodeon's most popular characters.
"We're very excited to work with Sifteo to produce this brand-new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game where players can navigate their favorite Turtle on interactive missions," said Manuel Torres, senior vice president, global toys and consumer electronics at Nickelodeon. "Through Sifteo's innovative platform, we're able to create a state of the art gaming experience for fans looking to reconnect with this celebrated franchise."
"We think it's really fitting to be part of the team reinventing a classic franchise like the Turtles," said Jeevan Kalanithi, CEO and co-founder, Sifteo. "We are creating the conditions where the classic characters and play patterns from our childhoods can meet the technology of today."
Sifteo's partnership to create Ninja Slide is part of Nickelodeon's larger push to update the franchise since its $60 million acquisition in 2009. Nickelodeon is currently developing a new CGI-animated Turtles television series and will partner with Viacom company Paramount Pictures and director Michael Bay to bring a live action Turtles movie to theaters later next year.
Sifteo also has partnered with world-renowned game designer Richard Garfield to create a game set for release in early 2013.
"Sifteo Cubes is an innovative game system that truly combines the best of classic, tabletop gameplay with 21st century videogame technology, making it the ultimate platform for the type of games I'd like to create," said Garfield, 49. "I'm excited to partner with Sifteo and am enjoying creating a game that I think will be as fun and engaging as Magic: The Gathering has been for many."
Sifteo SDK Invites Game Developers
Sifteo is also announcing a new software development kit (SDK) available October 1st, giving all developers the opportunity to create interactive games and applications for their Sifteo Cubes. Studios, individual game designers, hobbyist developers and tinkerers of all types will enjoy Sifteo's unique platform, clean application programming interface (API), cycle-accurate simulator and world-class build toolchain to bring their ideas to life. Sifteo is encouraging developers to visit sifteo.com/developers to get more information and find out how to apply to publish their Sifteo games.
Pricing and Availability
The Sifteo Cubes interactive game system includes three cubes, the Sifteo Base with speaker and USB port pre-loaded with four brand new titles that work right out of the box, a free download of a fifth game - Sandwich Kingdom, a micro USB cable, five AAA batteries, and a soft carrying case. Sifteo Cubes interactive game system, priced at $129.95, and Add-on Sifteo Cubes, priced at $29.95 each, are available for pre-order at Sifteo's website (www.sifteo.com), Amazon.com and ToysRUs.com, and will begin shipping to customers in November 2012. Also starting in November, next-generation Sifteo Cubes will be available in popular retail locations including Barnes & Noble, Toys "R" Us flagship locations, Marbles: The Brain Stores, and FAO Schwartz in New York City.
Sifteo Cubes: History of Innovation
The original Sifteo Cubes began as a project at the MIT Media Lab and were first introduced by Sifteo President Dave Merrill in a 2009 TED Talk that sparked the world's interest. The original Sifteo Cubes were released commercially in September 2011, and have since received numerous awards and distinctions including: Best in Show in the IxDA 2012 Interaction Awards; one of Fast Company's Top 10 Consumer Electronics Companies of 2012; Best Gadget/Product in the San Francisco Business Times 2012 Tech Innovation Awards; a silver medal in the 2011 International Design Excellence Awards; one of Business Insider's Best New Gadgets of 2011; a finalist in the Best New Gadget category in the 2011 Mashable Awards; winner of a CES Innovations Award in 2011 in the Gaming Hardware and Accessories category; and a Best of What's New - 2011 award from Popular Science. The popularity of the original Sifteo Cubes allowed the Sifteo team to pursue and fulfill their ultimate goal of offering a truly portable, interactive game system at an affordable price.