With the launch of Microsoft's Xbox One this Friday, the tech giant plans to bring spectacular innovations directly into consumer's living rooms through its all-in-one entertainment console.
And for NHL fans, an upcoming Xbox One app will offer an amazing new way to experience something only pro hockey players can -- being suspended by the league's Department of Player Safety.
In NHL DPS for Xbox One, players can have their real-life actions judged by the console's advanced processing and be disciplined directly by league vice president Brendan Shanahan. Players can use voice commands, gestures, Smart Glass devices and the Xbox One wireless controller to receive a penalty, attend a live meeting with Shanahan, and either accept or appeal their supplemental discipline.
"It's really amazing. So real," said lead app designer Kara Simmons. "You'll see Brendan Shanahan in your living room explaining what you did wrong, all the circumstances the department took into account and what the decision is. The algorithms are based on real cases and suspensions, so this is as close as you can get to really feeling 'The Shanaban.'"
NHL DPS for Xbox One uses the console's included Kinect sensor to read almost any movement, with the app's sensitivity changing hourly based on league rules, the current month of the NHL season, the size of the room, the weather, or a number of other factors. Once an infraction has been called, users will instantly face a digital Brendan Shanahan, who will walk the player through their actions and punishment.
"I pushed my brother off the couch and immediately had a meeting with Shanahan," said gamer Kurtis Patrick at a recent Xbox One event in Portland, Ore. "He said I had committed to the push instead of pulling up when I saw Jake wasn't looking, but since I had no history of supplemental discipline and Jake wasn't hurt on the play, I only got two games.
"I expected one game, but two wasn't a surprise. I'd say NHL DPS on Xbox One works very well."
After the meeting, users will see their own custom NHL Player Safety video, complete with Shanahan narration, slow-motion video clips and spot shadowing. Players can save their videos to their SkyDrive online storage account, or post it to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to share with friends.
The app remembers your suspensions and will treat repeat offenders more harshly each time they are called onto the virtual carpet. Players can also input their phone numbers and receive phone hearings for suspensions less than five games.
"I got four games for not using a coaster on the coffee table. I mean, come on. That's bull," said gamer Scott Johan from New Orleans. "I guess it was a make-up call for the one game I got for sneezing on the controller. But that was an accident."
Once suspended, players can use voice commands to fight the decision. Just say, "Appeal," and Xbox One lets you explain your actions directly to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman* in the hopes of reducing your sentence. (*feature available through a software patch coming in April 2015)
"We want users to feel exactly what NHL players feel when facing a suspension," Simmons said. "With NHL DPS for Xbox One, you can do something that seemed like a good idea in the heat of the moment, get a call from Brendan Shanahan, be told where you went wrong, and then sit a while and think about your actions.
"And the best part is you can then do it all again the next time you turn on your Xbox One. This truly is next gen sports gaming."
This is a satire. For $600, I hope Xbox One offers a little more than this. Be sure to read Polygon's awesome, completely serious review of the Xbox One.