E3 2012 – NBA Baller Beats Presentation
While most people were wondering about what Microsoft would show at their press conference, or how much of a price cut the Vita would get, I was curious to see how the hell NBA Baller Beats would work with the Kinect. I mean, this is the first game that would use a peripheral in conjunction with Kinect which seems to defeat the purpose of us being the controller. But I was highly interested in this presentation, because I have a son that is very interested in basketball, and whether the concept could actually work.
It should also be noted that by the end of E3, Majesco made sure that we knew all about the celebrities and all-stars that would come by to check out live demonstrations of NBA Baller Beats. I mean, we had pro basketball player Deron Williams, TNT basketball announcer Kenny Smith, American Idol judge Randy Jackson, famed radio personality DJ Skee and Michael B. Jordan, one of the actors in Friday Night Lights showing up for a presentation at some point over the three days. I mention this because when you need that kind of celebrity power to show up at your booth, it might mean that your game is not very good. One only has to look at Hulk Hogan showing up last year for his atrocious wrestling game.
But watching my 15 minute presentation of NBA Baller Beats, I found it to be a rather interesting concept. While it is marketed as a game of sorts, it actually could be looked at more as a training device, helping kids learn tempo and speed when dribbling a basketball. I had a curiosity for the game, but make no mistake; this will be more for those that want to show off their skills with a basketball, or for younger kids that want to improve their hand skill with a basketball. Core fundamentals are lacking in todays up and coming players, and I could see NBA Baller Beats helping to alleviate that problem.
Action works similar to the way Rock Band or Guitar Hero works, as you have a highway with notes that are coming down the highway. You then dribble the ball, crossing over from left to right and back keeping the ball on the proper side of the body to hit the notes. Over 30 licensed tracks are in the core game, with each having several difficulty stages.
This is a fully licensed NBA product and because of that, logos, players and more are featured from the Association and you can choose the team that you want to perform as when dribbling the ball. As you can see in our live demo below, we see two different songs being performed, one a slower, easier tune and the other being a very difficult track.
While I like the idea of NBA Baller Beats, it could be a tough sell when it comes to market later this summer. Retailers are already wary of peripheral bundles after the great music peripheral crash of 2010, and beyond a niche audience of those that own a Kinect device; it could be hard to sell units. Also, living spaces could factor into your purchase, as I am sure if you live on a second floor, your downstairs neighbors would not think kindly of you introducing this into your daily routine.
But as it stands, NBA Baller Beats does look like it is for real and it could be a big hit if it catches on with coaches and younger folks that want to improve their skills. Look for NBA Baller Beats later this summer exclusively on Kinect for Xbox 360 from Majesco Entertainment.