Technology


Ubisoft out to get smartphone users dancing


Dancers perform onstage to Just Dance Now to demonstrate the multiplayer experience during Ubisoft's media briefing at the E3 video game conference held at the Orpheum Theater June 9, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. Photo - AFP

French video game star Ubisoft wants smartphone users to get up and dance.

A test version of hit franchise "Just Dance" that can be played just about anywhere using smartphones as controllers should be released on a small scale for testing later this year.

If "Just Dance Now" resonates, it will eventually be released as a free application for smartphones powered by Apple or Google-backed Android operating systems.

"We've seen the casual games market evolve and a huge explosion on mobile," Just Dance executive producer Jason Altman said at an E3 video game extravaganza that continues here through Thursday.

"We think the opportunity is enormous."

Ubisoft introduced "Just Dance Now" during an E3 press briefing where dancers spread about a theater audience jumped to their feet to see who could best match moves set to a Lady Gaga song.

Smartphones act as controllers tracking how well players copy moves in game video streamed over the Internet to Web browsers in computers, tablets, or smart televisions.

During the briefing, the game was displayed on a huge theater screen.

Altman said the game has handled a simulation of 20,000 people taking part in one game, making it conceivable that an audience at a stadium concert could face off on footwork during a song if an artist put the technology in place for a show.

"This is a huge opportunity to bring 'Just Dance' out of the living room and into the world at large," Altman said.

Ubisoft wanted to see whether "Just Dance Now" catches on before figuring out how it will earn revenue from the game.

For fans of the leading dance video game franchise, a new premium installment is on its way for play on consoles.

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