Microsoft Kinect Sales Skyrocket

By Eric Gerlach & Evan Shertzer

Some people use it for fun, others use it for exercise. Either way, a lot of people are using it

Recently, the Xbox Kinect passed 10 million sale milestone. According to, the Guiness Book of World Records has named the Xbox Kinect “The Fastest Selling Consumer Electronics Device.” Within in the first sixty days, Microsoft sold over eight million units.

Two gamers test their skills on the Xbox Kinect - Photo from

At Penn Manor, there are few students that own the Xbox Kinect, like freshman Ethan Barley.

“I used to use it a lot,” said Barley, “it is good for working out and it is a lot better than the Wii. The Wii sucks.”

The Xbox Kinect is made up of a microphone, console, sensors, and 3D camera.  The 3D camera picks up the human’s motion and depth allowing you to control the images displayed on the TV screen.  This new technology was presented and released by Microsoft in November of 2010.

“I’ve played it twice. It was fun and enjoyable,”  said freshman Brad Underkoffler, “I would like to play it again.”

The Xbox Kinect does have a somewhat hefty price attached to it: $150. It may seem like a lot of money to a high school student, but Underkoffler tells us it’s worth it.

“It costs a lot, but it really is worth the money,” said Underkoffler.

The Xbox Kinect and Console - Photo from

The Kinect breaks the sterotype that video games are an unhealthy habit for kids. You’ll still get a workout. Multiple Kinect compatable games involving fitness, like The Biggest Loser and EA Active 2, have been published.  These games help players stay active and healthy. And the games are a big benefit for those who are uncomfortable working out in front of others at school or at their local gym. Plus, if the weather doesn’t allow you to go outside, the Kinect allows you to still get some exercise.

“Without the Kinect, I would probably get fat,” Barley said.

In short, its innovative concept and impressive hardware make Microsoft’s newest toy a revolutionary device, bringing new possibilities to the gaming community.

Companies are “Steamed” Over Piracy

By Ryan Krause –

Why buy it when you can get it for free?

That is the mentality of many.

Some Penn Manor students, and others around the world, partake in illegal downloading and companies are now working hard on methods to prevent that from happening.  There are two major companies that are essentially leading the charge against piracy known as Steam and OnLive.

DRM (Digital Rights Management) is known as “Any technology used to limit the use of software, music, movies or other digital data.”

One of Steam's goals is to prevent piracy. Image owned by Valve Corporation.

Steam, a program created by Valve Corporation, was made to minimize the amount of space that physical copies of games take up. But it was also created to prevent piracy.

Some major computer games are Steam only, for example the Call of Duty series and the Fallout series.

Steam only lets an individual play a game after they buy it. It adds the game to your account so only that person has access to that certain copy. If someone else logs on to their account, it notifies them right away.

One can either buy the actual disk, but have to activate it via an included game code, or one could buy the game directly off of Steam.

“Steam is great because they actually have a good anti-piracy system that works well,” said a Penn Manor senior who wished to remain anonymous for previous trouble with the law on this topic. “I know from experience, their games are extremely hard to crack.”

Some think that piracy really isn’t all that bad, as long as they feel that the product isn’t cheap and not worth their money.

“I think it’s alright if it’s overpriced,” said the anonymous student.

But Internet piracy is all fun and games until you get caught.

“My ISP (Internet Service Provider) emailed me,” said the senior. “They were all like, ‘Ya dead kid!'”

Steam is a very solid platform for game management, there were always nice things to be said about it. It’s also mainly known for the fact that all the games that are purchased are online.  So one who buys a lot of games, wouldn’t have a lot of clutter everywhere.

“I am usually a fan of physical copies since most online distributors only allow a certain amount of downloads, but Steam is good about it and usually allows unlimited downloads,” said the anonymous student.

A clutter of computer games. Picture by Ryan Krause.

“Downloaded files simply cannot compare to a stack of physical, tangible games,” said Penn Manor senior Jerome Lynch. “The ability to have hundreds of games on a shelf as part of a collection is something that is not possible to achieve with games that are available exclusively through digital distribution.”

Many people like to have the physical copies for the sake of collection or resale.

Lynch said, “As a collector, this is something that I will miss once digital distribution completely replaces physical media.”

Other companies are also working on their on programs for rights management.

OnLive was created for both DRM and to be different.

It has a revolutionary feature that doesn’t require a lot of hardware to play “high-end” games. High end games are newer games that have very high graphical properties and cannot be handled by a simple machine usually.

The OnLive controller and console. Image owned by OnLive.

OnLive actually has the games hosted and played on their own computers, while the user controls that computer from their own personal TV or computer. This means that the person playing isn’t hosting the game on their personal machine, so it doesn’t require a powerful computer. Essentially, the player is only seeing a projection of what that remote computer is showing. OnLive sells a very small box to plug into one’s TV, or one can just download the program for free on their computer.

To help put a stop to piracy, gamers have to buy or rent the games on the OnLive program to play them. There are many time-based demos on there as well. It’s an effort to help stop piracy because players who don’t wish to buy an entire game because of the price will have the ability to rent for the cheaper price. Most gamers only play a game for a little while, usually within that time-frame.

Although there have been complaints about how the program doesn’t host enough popular games, OnLive stated that their selection will broaden once more companies submit more games for them to host.