This year is one of the most exciting years for the video game industry in recent memory. Two new consoles are launching this year, which is exciting for the industry and gamers alike. This drastic upheaval of the current video-gaming status quo gives us an opportunity to predict where the industry is headed over the next few years.
At E3 2013, we tracked the major (but maybe not so obvious) trends happening within the console industry. Here's what we learned.
People are passionate about their digital rights This week, Sony pushed in the knife Microsoft had already slipped and … Read more
LOS ANGELES -- I did not fall! No, really. I didn't (just watch the video). Falling was my biggest fear when I booked a meeting last week to see the Virtuix Omni, an omnidirectional, low-friction surface that allows you to move around in a virtual environment (using the Oculus Rift) without (seriously) endangering yourself, your coffee table, or others.
Hold on! The Omni is about 4 to 5 feet in diameter and is sloped toward its center. It's a low-friction surface with a narrowly grooved exterior. A circular handle surrounds your waist, affording you a degree of much-needed … Read more
Last week, Microsoft finally provided some additional information on how the "game licensing" policy will work for the company's newly introduced Xbox One. It was our first peek behind the curtain on how discs, digital downloads, game sharing, and Xbox Live accounts will work and interact on the upcoming game console.
The new policy explicitly states that the new system was designed so that "game publishers can enable you to trade in your games at participating retailers." But reading between the lines of that lawyery language, most gamers took that to mean that the aftermarket … Read more
E3, the big video game trade show, kicks off on Monday. And 2013 looks to be one of the biggest years ever.
The games industry is at a crossroads, with "hard-core gaming" under onslaught from 99-cent casual iPad and smartphone games. Two new consoles are on deck -- the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 -- and the third, the Nintendo Wii U, is fighting for its life. And the software publishers like Activision, EA, and Ubisoft will be fighting to outsplash each other with the latest and greatest sequels and franchise titles.
While most eyes at E3 2013 are on the new Sony PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Xbox One consoles, it was only one year ago that PC gaming took center stage. It was at E3 2012 that the current Xbox 360 and PS3 consoles were looking more than tired, and many of the best games on display, from XCOM to Metro: Last Light, presented themselves best on high-powered PC hardware.
In 2013, despite the massive marketing and engineering effort that is going to the new living room consoles, no one expects even the PS4 or XB1 to be able to match … Read more
Help me, please. I'm waiting for the future to arrive.
I feared a lull at this year's E3 before I even got on the plane. Games pushed back, executives claiming no new hardware. "No new hardware" is a mantra I've heard a lot lately, from colleagues as well as from industry insiders. Even from gamers, who certainly don't like the idea of spending up for a new console.
Well...we need next-gen. And it's bound to arrive. But when? Please say soon. I've been patient. … Read more
It's unlikely that E3 2012 will go down as one of the more newsworthy installments of this annual trade show. But, while we may lack blockbuster news (or many must-play games), there are several trends on display that paint a clear picture about what kinds of games and interactive entertainment experiences are coming over the next several years.
Hardware doesn't drive the business anymore Gamers should get used to the idea of a longer wait between new consoles. The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 are well past the half-decade mark, with not a hint of future versions at E3 this year. Nintendo's Wii U is more evolution than revolution, making use of the original Wii's controllers and accessories, and much of the same industrial and UI design.
And guess what? Both gamers and the professional industry watchers attending E3 are just fine with that. New games still look great, even if they don't look noticeably better than last year or the year before. And adding new accessories, such as Kinect, or new features, such as SmartGlass or streaming live TV, offer more bang for the buck than faster processors or GPUs. … Read more
E3 shows tend to fall into two categories. Those that are about hardware, and those that are about software.
Last year, at E3 2011, hardware was king, with the first look at the new Wii U console, as well as Sony's PlayStation Vita. Along for the ride was Microsoft's Kinect camera and the Nintendo 3DS, which, while not brand-new last year, were both finally coming into their own as commercially viable products.
Other than that, it's been a while since hardware was king at E3 (and we're not counting the missing in action Wii Vitality Sensor). … Read more
For a trade show all about video games and interactive entertainment, it's surprising to me that some of the most popular games are hardly represented at all. Amid the halls filled with life-size statues of space marines and zombies, you'll see little of the Facebook and social games that remain popular, if uncool.
There's a definite hierarchy to the games and gamers at E3. The PC game types look down at the console types, and they both look down at the social/casual types. Which is, on one hand, not surprising, as much of the audience at E3 is made up of industry enthusiasts who blur the line between fan and impartial observer, and they clearly prefer Halo to CityVille.
On the other hand, it's hard to ignore a huge genre of games that measure users in terms of tens of millions of monthly players (referred to as monthly average users, or MAU).
And yet, ignored these games are. At E3 2012, you'll find Disney and subsidiary Playdom, with Facebook games such as Armies of Magic. EA promotes games such as the brand-new Sim City Social or The Sims Social, both Facebook versions of classic PC games, but I've seen little of the popular games (Bejeweled, Zuma,) from PopCap, a recent EA acquisition. … Read more
LOS ANGELES--Aside from Halo 4, the most interesting thing at Microsoft's E3 press conference was SmartGlass, the multidevice sharing app for games, videos, and Web surfing. But SmartGlass was only sketched out in the broadest of terms (and probably very carefully chosen ones at that), so we're left with several burning questions, especially about how it will work with Windows 8.
What devices will it actually work on? Microsoft says "all your devices." Does that mean all your Windows devices, or are Android and iOS included? (Update: We're hearing now that iOS and Android are included.)
Is it a downloaded app or Web-based? Will SmartGlass be a standalone app or an HTML 5-based Web service? Or some combination of the two depending on what platform you're on? Windows 8 tablets seem to be included, but are Windows RT tablets?… Read more