Meet the newest video game console on the market. It's for kids and casual gamers, looks like a bunch of building blocks and is the most original piece of gaming hardware we've seen in years.
The Sifteo is the brainchild of former MIT students David Merrill and Jeevan Kalanithi, who wanted to develop a gaming system that combined the flexibility of video games with the tangibility of board games. Rather than spend your time staring at a screen, they figured, wouldn't it be better to physically interact with the game and retain the personal interaction of old-fashioned playtime?
So they came up with the Siftoe, which rather than being a single piece of hardware is a collection of small electronic blocks. Each of these blocks can communicate with a PC wirelessly, and can be adapted to play a wide range of games. The screens on the cubes can be made to show cards, for example, or for a puzzle game the pieces of the puzzle.
Each tile is around 1.5 inches across and can be interacted with via touching, stacking, shaking or sliding around. The Sifteo's "starter kit", including three "cubes", a charging dock and USB adaptor. It will go on sale in limited numbers soon for $US99, with a wider release planned for later in the year (when the price will be jacked up to $US149).
Those hoping for an international release, sorry. It's currently destined for the US market only.