The future of today’s gaming: E3 Los Angeles

By Brian Jurilla

By Brian Jurilla

Once a year videogame companies, publishers and developers gather for an event to show the future of a $1 billion industry. The Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3 was once again held at the Los Angeles Convention Center from May 18-20. In the events 10th year, the main attractions that drew crowds were Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s Playstation 3 and new games from every large publisher in every type of game genere, from role-playing games to military and first person shooters.

Microsoft dominated with its footage and hands-on experience with the new Xbox 360, due out this holiday season. Though many of the games are still running on alpha kits the system looks graphically impressive. With footage of the games coming out for it and information on all the features such as personalized Xbox Live gamer profile, instant message chat and downloadable games, movies, music and demos content, coupled with hands on experience with a few of its launch titles made the Microsoft booth a must hit. Playable demos of games like Full Auto (an arcade racer with weapons) and Condemned (a first person survival horror) for the 360 were what drew crowds over to Microsoft, while still supporting the current Xbox with Half-Life 2 and the Halo 2 Multiplayer expansion pack.

At Nintendo’s booth, with the absence of its new upcoming system the Revolution, which will be able to go online wirelessly, and be able to download games from Nintendo’s past systems bringing the backwards capabilities of the system to 20 years of game history. The main featured game was The Legend of Zelda: The Twilight Princess, which had a line over two hours long, and its new handheld the Game Boy Micro.

The Micro is just slightly bigger and two-thirds the weight of an Apple Ipod. It contains the same processing power of their Game Boy Advance SP, and the brightest screen of any Nintendo handheld. A strong showing for the Nintendo DS had many games on display that make use of the handhelds two screens like Mario Kart DS, Viewtiful Joe, and a unique game that helped Nintendo sell millions of units in Japan, Nintendogs, a game that allows players to own a virtual dog and makes use of the handhelds touch screen, microphone and the wireless capabilities of the system to interact with others online.

Sony Entertainment unveiled its new and slick looking console due out spring of 2006, the PlayStation 3. The PS3 features backward compatibility with the previous two consoles, and new technology such as Blu-ray disc reading and Bluetooth wireless controllers (up to 7). The presentation given by Sony was impressive but left many to wonder the price point and will games look as good as the video shown to those in attendance. The PlayStation Portable was displayed as well, featuring many upcoming games such as Death, Jr, The Godfather, Grand Theft Auto, Socom and Hot Shots Golf. Sony is still showing support for its current console, the Playstation 2, with Kingdom Hearts 2, Soul Caliber 3 and We Love Katamari.

Throughout the convention center publishers Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Activision, Square-Enix and many others showed off their games like Ghost Recon 3, X-Men Legends 2 and Final Fantasy to those in attendance. Booths also put on shows to help promote and brought some of the best gamers in the world to compete against for cash prizes. A museum displaying the systems of old, such as the NES and going all the way back to the to the first home console system and the favorites like the Apple II and the Atari 2600, to the more popular Super Nintendo.

With the past, present and future on display at the E3, the industry looks to move closer to Hollywood with budgets and profits that can rival a Hollywood blockbuster. The next generation console systems will continue to push games to more and more realistic features and will continue the push of the industry and keep it on top with record sales and graphics.