Sunday, June 10, 2012

E3- the Quick and Dirty

And so we conclude the Super Bowl for gamers, E3.

Also known as the Electronic Entertainment Expo, E3 is where the hottest soon-to-drop gaming titles and hardware are announced. The ultimate showcase for what's become a $65 billion-dollar industry.

If you didn’t have a chance to tune in to our 17 hours of live coverage on Spike, let me give you a quick and dirty recap of everything you need to know.

Microsoft - Xbox
"This will be the biggest year for games at Xbox.”  We saw the announcement of numerous games, including but not limited to the much-anticipated Halo 4, Splinter Cell Blacklist, Dance Central 3, FIFA ‘13 and even a new South Park game.

A lot of Kinect integration with games and a push in voice recognition on Madden 13, FIFA 13 and Splinter Cell.

Halo 4 gameplay was off-the-charts amazing. Post-show, a Microsoft lead told me they even set of the seismic alerts at USC during a rehearsal.

Halo 4 - seismic style

Microsoft is also pushing the Xbox as more of a content and entertainment machine. They announced the addition of 35 content partners, from Nickelodeon to ESPN to Univision. We also saw the add of notables such as Amazon Instant Video.

One of their biggest announcements was SmartGlass. The app basically connects your mobile or tablet device to your Xbox. Surprisingly, SmartGlass is not proprietary to Windows and will also work on iPhones and iPads.

Internet Explorer will also come to Xbox. Google TV anyone?

As we've known since March, there would be no word of a new Xbox console until next year.

Nintendo obviously had the most at stake with the highly anticipated Wii U. They wisely held a pre-E3 announcement showcasing a few details on the GamePad (controller for the Wii U), managing to beat Microsoft and Sony to the punch. But overall, most were disappointed with the takeaways.

The Wii U- one part tablet, one part console - failed to awe. Here are some of the specs:

• Wii U hardware supports two separate gamepads
• GamePad works with your fingertip or stylus
• Control pad and four way array
• Analog sticks
• (2) trigger buttons on the backside
• Infrared transceiver
• Accelerometer
• Rumble feature
• Built-in camera and microphone

There was also a push to a more immersive Wii Fit, which will be backwards compatible with the Wii U. They noted “sweating more” and this got me excited.  Then they showed a Wii Fit demo, and I was embarrassed for them. I could have yawned and burned more calories away than I would've with the example they showed.

A few new games announced were Pikmin 3, Super Mario for Wii U and Zombie U. But then, with games like Batman: Arkham City, one has to wonder if someone is really going to buy a game that’s already been out again just for the Wii U console.

I did like the addition of Miiverse. A more social approach for Nintendo, Miiverse allows users to connect and send messages to each. However, messages have to be approved in order to keep it clean.  Uh, delay anyone? Iwata noted “I think 30 minutes should be acceptable.”  Thirty minutes!?  In a world of instant gratification that’s like 10  years!!

In short, there was a lot unanswered at the Nintendo press conference. Sure, we know its going to be a connected entertainment device with the likes of Amazon Instant Video, YouTube, Hulu and Netflix. And yes, we get that it has a second screen tablet.  But I think there was a collective nod that everyone wanted to see more and dive a little deeper.

A number of game announcements. Quantic Dream’s Beyond:Two Souls and Naughty Dogs: The Last of Us wowed fans.

They also balanced the presentation out with Wonderbook, an augmented reality book/accessory to be used with a new game called Book Of Spells (from J.K. Rowling). Wonderbook will allow integration for the Sony Move as if you were a Hogwarts student performing spells.

They also introduced PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale (think Super Smash Bros). The game was demoed nicely on stage, but for an amount of time that just seemed endless. (Dear Sony, We are all are hyperactive. Get to the point.)

Sony also announced cross-play functionality between the Vita and PS3.

No word on a PS4.

EA Sports
This was one of the smoothest press conferences, so I wanted to showcase a few notables.

Infinity Engine showcased for Madden 13. Real-time physics for the first time ever in gameplay. I had a chance to speak with Andrew Wilson, EVP of EA Sports, who told me it added a more immersive and real game play than has never been done before

SimCity (dropping in February) also looked pretty sweet.  And there was a lot of excitement around Dana White and the announcement of a new UFC game.

EA had a solid presentation with new features on Madden and Fifa but nothing got more excitement than an announced partnership with UFC and a Dana White appearance.

Success!  17 hours of live programming!

We celebrate at an amaze Spike party at the rooftop of the standard with waterbeds!!
I can't wait for Pikmin 3!  Here is my own version ;)

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Copyright © 2012 Katie Linendoll