LOS ANGELES--An earth-shaking and in-depth demo of Halo 4 opened up Microsoft's annual E3 Xbox 360 media briefing today, getting the thousands on hand worked up about the upcoming blockbuster. But beyond that, Microsoft had little to sustain the excitement.
For years, the video game press has flocked dutifully to Microsoft's shindig, which traditionally gets the honor of kicking off E3 week here, and setting the bar that rivals Sony and Nintendo have to try to jump at their own mega-briefings. This year those companies shouldn't be too worried about whether they can measure up.
Apple, the 800-pound gorilla of the industry, never has an official presence at shows like CTIA (mobile), CES (consumer electronics), and Computex (PCs). But if you read between the lines of the press conferences and press releases, every company at those shows is implicitly talking about -- and reacting to -- the latest Apple gadgets, new or anticipated.
And now, as we approach the annual E3 trade show, the focus naturally turns to Apple's role in the video game industry.
A truly epic video game relies on many factors to deliver a compelling experience, but the artistry behind the fancy graphics remains one of the most fascinating aspects of them all.
The 2012 "Into the Pixel" exhibition, hosted by the Entertainment Software Association and the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences, celebrates the breathtaking scenes and unforgettable characters created by the often under-appreciated game artists who influence the design of popular video games. A jury of 10 representatives from the video game and art industries chose from a large pool of entrants and came up with 16 original works from games including Journey and Mass Effect 3. … Read more
The collection of games and gear on display at E3 2011 was among the best we'd ever seen. The Nintendo Wii U and PlayStation Vita offered hot new hardware, while games such as Skyrim and BioShock Infinite made for an especially strong software lineup.
Some made their expected release dates (and several were huge hits); some are making yet another appearance this year, either as originally planned or because of delays; and some have seemingly vanished from the radar, and it may be some time before we see them again.
OK, honestly, this is my last post on E3. While this year's show is over and we've seen both surprises and disappointments, another year looms: and with it, we hold out hope that next year's show can deliver on some unanswerables that this year's show conveniently skipped. At least, that's the way I feel. No show can ever hope to bring everything we expect--mainly, because E3 is only a collection of demonstrations from an industry that's constantly evolving--but as I peer into next year's crystal ball, this is what I hope we find.
Games and reasons to buy the Wii U Nintendo's next console, the Wii U, remains shrouded in mystery, in the middle of a year where Nintendo remains in a larger cloud of uncertainty. The Nintendo 3DS feels like a disappointment, and the Wii is in decline. That touch-screen tablet-of-wonders that Nintendo's hawking is a project with no definitive must-have games or applications, and that will need to change next year.… Read more
For many gamers, going to E3 is an unfulfilled dream. Attendance is tightly controlled (depending on your definition of tight), so unlike a boat show or comic book convention, you can't just buy a ticket and show up.
But if you do someday make it to E3, the show secrets presented here may help you get the most out of the experience. Regular attendees eventually work out most of these tips, but we're always open to new suggestions--feel free to list your own E3 secrets in the comments section below.
On the mobile front, Origin's launch is murkier. EA launched no standalone mobile Origin app, instead integrating into only its iPhone version of Scrabble. We spoke with Electronic Arts' General Manager and Senior Vice President Chip Lange, who provided us with some insight into EA's strategy for Origin on mobile devices and consoles, and how Origin is different than similar efforts from other publishers.
Q: What can you tell us about EA's plans for Origin on the various mobile devices?
A: EA has always been a platform-agnostic company with the customer at the center. And when you think about the opportunity of creating a platform-agnostic user ID and gaming network [like Origin], those types of opportunities really don't come into play unless you have a couple of things in place.
One is the content deployed across different platforms. Then you need a back end capable of capturing, containing, and utilizing your data across those different platforms. Being able to connect those PC gameplay experiences to a similar, though not identical, game on a mobile device really opens up a number of creative opportunities for us, whether it be for a game like Scrabble or a game like Battlefield or anywhere in between.
It's easy to say that we're creating a store, and that's Origin's focus on the PC right now. On the mobile side it's different. Apple already has a great store. What we're looking to do is get the social component of mobile side activated more quickly and more easily so customers starting can start enjoying it today.… Read more
LOS ANGELES--Look around the halls of E3 2011, and you might notice something strangely similar about many of the most-hyped games on display. There's Battlefield 3, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Gears of War 3, Uncharted 3, and Mass Effect 3. BioShock Infinite is the third game in that series, and Skyrim is the third modern/console version of an Elder Scrolls game (technically, it's the fifth game in the series, as there were a couple of prior PC games back in the '90s). We've also spotted Saints Row: the Third, Serious Sam 3, and Ninja Gaiden 3, Deus Ex: Human Revolution (the third game in that series), and there are probably a few others I've missed.
This collection of third-timers is partially a coincidence, and partly indicative of the industry's addiction to sequels. With production and advertising budgets at or near what Hollywood movie studios have been spending for years, there's a natural, and very understandable, attraction to finding a successful formula and sticking with it.
A trilogy is also a familiar construct from the larger media world that consumers are comfortable with, and the format is useful for putting together a compelling story arc over the course of three films or novels. But while most movies quit after three outings, there's no doubt you'll be seeing a fourth chapter in many of the game franchises above within a year or two. … Read more
For a trade show all about the latest and greatest in interactive entertainment, it's somewhat shocking that many of the most popular video games being played right now are either underrepresented, or not represented at all. We are, of course, speaking about the social and casual games that have audiences larger than almost any traditional console game, and what's more, have managed to tap into the recurring revenue stream of microtransactions that seems to elude so many others.
This is no unintentional oversight. Many attendees of E3, the Game Developers Conference, and other industry events say that games such as Farmville and Cityville are not "real games," and that even mentioning them in the same breath as Halo or Gears of War would be to cheapen the entire medium.
At E3, these kinds of games are woefully underrepresented, despite having in many cases tens of millions of players (MAU, or monthly active users, is the standard metric for social games--the most popular game of this genre, Zynga's CityVille, currently has 90 million monthly active users). If you looks around artfully, however, you can still find a few examples. EA's social/casual subsidiary PlayFish, is here, and has scored with games such as Pet Society and Madden NFL Superstars. At E3, a portion of EA's giant floor space was devoted to The Sims Social, a Facebook version of the popular suburban life simulation game. … Read more