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Geeks and tech enthusiasts the world over have been wetting their pants over the past week as announcements, demos and industry revelations streamed in from the Electronic Entertainment Expo – the annual conference showcasing the best innovations from the world’s top entertainment powerhouses. Three names: Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo.
Story by Nick Frost
There is a wealth of live feeds and on -the-spot coverage to be found on the E3 event. Too much to condense all of it into one digestible reading. That would be ludicrous. However, there was a glitzfest of cutting-edge shockers and mmm shiny eye-candy, there were a few developments that you simply have to know about, even if it’s just enough to fake it at the next local gaming convention.
Sony brandishes Vita: PS3 1/2
Sony announces the revolutionary Vita handheld device. Apart from addressing the recent Network Hack and announcing a few upcoming titles, Sony’s press briefing was centred on the exciting prospect of a brand new handheld console: the PlayStation Vita. Established brand offerings like Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception may be enough to have the avid gamer in a fit of rabid eagerness, but the Playstation Vita’s reveal packed a mighty punch, promising a radical fusion of a variety of modern technologies: augmented reality, touch technology, WI-FI… you know, that kinda thing.
Also in the news was the reveal of a new 3-D monitor for gamers, which promises game-changing benefits such as the ability to play split-screen multiplayer matches whilst each experiencing the action on a dedicated screen.
Donkey Kong Forever
Nintendo focus on core franchises, and announce a new console. Japan’s third most valuable listed company, Nintendo, announced an assortment of retro franchise reboots at E3 this year. Titles such as Kirby, Donkey Kong and Kid Icarus are due for a 2011 release, promising a fresh spin on gameplay, graphics and plot. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword demoed for close on half an hour during Nintendo’s briefing.This flagship sequel is reported to feature Wii MotionPlus support which means increased accuracy and control with weapons and items in game. You can look forward to The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword later this year.
Also, in what is looking to be an extremely good call, Nintendo revealed a Mario compilation sports game, including what looks to be soccer, hockey, dodgeball, basketball and volleyball. predictions are for a surprise hit, and considering the amount of die-hard Mario junkies worldwide, I’d say they’re right on the money.
Last but most certainly not least, Nintendo announced the arrival of a brand new console in the near future. Well – it wasn’t so much of an announcement as a promise. The Wii U pledges big innovations. The controller – a tablet-like gadget that blends the features of a touchpad, DS, Wiimote and handheld – is a one-of-a-kind testament to Nintendo’s mastery of novelty. Also, it boasts a 6.2-inch touch screen, a microphone, a front-facing camera, a stylus for sketches… Oh, and an accelerometer. Overachieve much, Nintendo?
Microsoft Sticks to Knitting
Microsoft maintain focus on the power of the Xbox, the simplicity of Kinect and the intelligence of Bing. Aside from the highly-anticipated reveal of established franchise money makers such as CoD: Modern Warfare 3, Gears of War 3, Forza Motorsport and Fable: The Journey (rumoured to make use of Kinect functionality), Microsoft announced some pretty ground-breaking developments in the pipeline at E3 ’11.
A pioneering achievement from the Microsoft camp was the introduction of voice search capabilities with Bing on Xbox and Kinect. This will enable users to issue voice commands telling their Xbox what content to search for, ultimately providing them with faster and more convenient access to the ever-expanding universe of entertainment, available right in their living room. Jump in indeed, Microsoft.
Of course, a Microsoft E3 briefing would not be complete without the mention of the adored Halo franchise. Fans got a glimpse of two fresh games from perhaps the most beloved Xbox 360 game franchise ever. Besides celebrating the ten-year anniversary of the Xbox console with the release of a re-mastered and revamped version of Halo Combat Evolved, Microsoft announced that fans can expect to see Halo 4 in holiday season, 2012.
And so ends another E3 Expo, followed – as always – by the gaming community’s anticipated decline into bouts of tech withdrawal-related depression. Mixed with excitement, of course. The ground-breaking innovations are flying in at an alarming rate as technology evolves. The major vendors were all about delivering what they’d promised, delivering the goods with less hot air was central at E3 ’11.
The future looks bright for gamers. Bring on 2011.