For the past few years I've largely left the photographic duties to our able staff photographers, who have done an excellent job of chronicling the show, but I thought it might be fun to round up some of the slideshows of personal pics that we've run previously.
With the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo happening simultaneously with the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference this year, those in the habit of making technology-announcement predictions have a big week ahead of them. We've put our collective heads together to make some forecasts, and you're welcome to play along at home and score us on how we do.
To be fair, many of these have been so reliably leaked or telegraphed that they're virtually sure bets. Others seem likely based on corroborating clues we've seen or historical precedent. We've also thrown in a final list of E3 … Read more
Electronic Arts is doubling down on the digital-gaming space with the launch of a new direct-to-consumer platform, called Origin.
Launching later today, Origin will allow gamers to purchase and download over 150 games directly to their PCs. So far, the content on the site is limited to games from EA "and its partners," the company said in a statement today. In the coming months, EA says that it will offer more games, including the highly anticipated Battlefield 3, FIFA 12, Madden NFL 12, and Mass Effect 3.
"Origin is a game service with two fundamental features," … Read more
We've been cautiously optimistic about online streaming game service OnLive since it launched about a year ago. For the uninitiated, it's essentially cloud-based PC gaming that originally allowed nearly any laptop or desktop to play high-end PC games by offloading the CPU- and GPU-intensive tasks of actually running the game software to a remote render farm, then beaming the gameplay back to you as a streaming video.
Later, the company added a MicroConsole--a small box that connects to a TV via HDMI and acts as a streaming dongle for the games, which are played with a wireless controller … Read more
Even though it's supposedly an industry-only trade show, the Electronic Entertainment Expo is an event of epic proportions for video game aficionados, as evidenced by the legions of fans who follow the show's daily announcements online, through blogs, news outlets, and (a more recent development) video feeds.
But despite its decade-plus place in the public consciousness (I've been attending since 1999), the E3 show has been to the brink of extinction more than once, and while it has pulled off a remarkable recovery over the past couple of years, there's still a chance history may repeat itself.
In brief, what happened was the trade show equivalent of a boom and bust cycle. Throughout the 2000s, game companies competed to outdo each other, with excessive budgets and outlandish displays, creating literal mini cities inside the Los Angeles Convention Center that easily trumped anything seen at the larger Consumer Electronics Show, which takes place in Las Vegas every January.
The trend peaked in 2006, after which the participants collectively realized that entirely too much money was being spent on the show, which had long since stopped being a place for retail buyers to make deals with publishers, and had become essentially a weeklong press conference. Simply put, the week's worth of media hits was judged to be simply not worth the investment.
At the time, the Entertainment Software Association, a trade organization that runs the event, agreed to retrench, scaling down the 2007 version into what then-Entertainment Software Association President Douglas Lowenstein called a "more personal, efficient, and focused" show. E3 went from 60,000 attendees the previous year to about 4,000, and from 400 exhibiting companies to fewer than 40. E3 2008 was a similarly small affair, returning to the Los Angeles Convention Center, but keeping the small, low-cost format.… Read more
E3 is finished, wacky motion controllers and all, but the summer is just starting. In a few months, the holiday season will begin--and with it, companies will release an avalanche of games. While E3 presents a heck of a lot of glitz, promises, and hype, a handful of games always manage to emerge that excite us and give us hope for the gaming year ahead.
Could we have done with a lot fewer sequels? Most definitely. Do we wish Microsoft and Sony hadn't spent so much time hawking motion technology at the show? Undoubtedly. But we still found ourselves … Read more
Nothing makes an E3 show stand out like the collection of costumed characters, full-size monster sculptures, and movielike props that fill the halls, booths, and even the lobbies of the Los Angeles Convention Center.
It's closer at times to a comic book convention than an industry-only trade show, and a pretty good barometer of how the companies involved feel about the overall health of the expo (a frequent topic on conversation over the past few years).
If this last look at E3 2010 has you nostalgic for some of my hands-on hardware testing, trend-spotting, and photo galleries from earlier this week, click past the break for a handy roundup of all my E3 coverage from this year.
The annual Electronic Entertainment Expo typically concentrates on the games major publishers hope consumers will either purchase or put on their holiday wish lists in the coming year. Though there's always a certain amount of hardware, in the form of controllers, accessories, and PCs, for the most part, this a show about software, not hardware.
The exception is when a new game console is launching, and over the many years I've attended the show, I've seen the launches of the Sega Dreamcast; Sony's PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, and PSP; Nintendo's GameCube, Wii, and DS; and Microsot's Xbox and Xbox 360. That said, 2010 is the first year without a major living room console launch where I've seen almost all the attention focused firmly on hardware rather than software.
Both motion control systems have their strengths and weaknesses, but I thought that Kinect especially had promise for home entertainment control, and the PlayStation Move provided the kind of precision and accuracy that core gamers would most appreciate.
The 3DS, at risk of being written off as a novelty in the era of me-too 3D, was a surprising success (at least in the small doses it was offered up to attendees), with eyeglass-free 3D that actually seems to work. Though that's only a tiny personal screen for now, it makes those expensive, cumbersome active shutter 3D systems feel like a much tougher sell.
If the technology behind the 3DS holds up, it's really only a matter of time and scale before consumers expect all forms of 3D to not require glasses.
These new hardware devices were impressive in person, but they're all still a tough sell; console add-ons have traditionally not succeeded (from the Sega 32X to the Xbox HD-DVD drive), and Nintendo fans may have upgrade fatigue after the DS, DS Lite, DSi, and DSi XL.
The second major reason this year's E3 felt like it was all about hardware, was that the software largely failed to impress. This left the field wide open for the Kinect, Move, and 3DS to steal the show.
I've already detailed the overreliance on sequels and spin-offs, many on a rapidly accelerated production cycle to feed the need for annual product installments. But, there was a handful of games in development seen either on the show floor or behind closed doors that made my must-play list (and yes, most of them are sequels). In no particular order, they are:… Read more
LOS ANGELES--If there's one story we seem to write at least every other year at E3, its how the gaming industry is overly reliant on sequels and spin-offs, rarely creating anything truly new. This year, the issue seems bigger than ever, with seemingly few original ideas in a sea of IIs, IIIs, and more.
Case in point: The games big publishers are depending on to carry them through the all-important holiday shopping season are for the most part all retreads of existing games. They include Gears of War 3, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Fallout: New Vegas, Halo Reach, Dead Space 2, Crysis 2, Civilization V, and new installments in the Rock Band and Guitar Hero franchises (a separate-but-related issue is the "rebooting" of vintage games, such as Kid Icarus or GoldenEye).
Its overly simplistic to blame a conceptual lack of originality for the deficit of new ideas, stories, and characters. Video games generally don't function under the auteur theory that many of the best films do, crafted by a singular creative vision (with a few high-profile exceptions); instead they more often are the ultimate example of art by committee. Game developers essentially create "work for hire" on behalf of publishers, which in turn resemble nothing so much as the classic 1940's Hollywood studio system, where studio bosses pulled the strings and set the agenda. … Read more
LOS ANGELES--The annual Electronic Entertainment Expo is a very visually oriented experience, with game companies spending heavily to create compelling show floor experiences to lure in attendees. You'll typically find plenty of costumed characters, giant physical structures that can hardy be called booths, and more flatscreen TVs per square inch than at your average Costco.
We captured some of the most notable sights from the show floor, as well as from the Sony and Nintendo press conferences. Highlights include some caged zombies from Capcom's Dead Rising, Nintendo godfather Shigeru Miyamoto demoing his latest Zelda game, and the most … Read more