"An era can be said to end when its basic illusions are exhausted." - Arthur Miller

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

E3 2010 News

E3 is a video game convention/conference where the major video game companies present their plans for the next year. The business aspect is to get retailers and the like interested in their product but the main benefit is the free press they get worldwide as people talk about their plans and show off the products that are coming down the pipe. This year brings not only new hardware from Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft but the usual plethora of games. Below are links and the like to info I found most interesting.

E3 Press Conferences and Trailers
From checking the various websites, Gametrailers.com really is the best source to see all the E3 press conferences and trailers in solid quality so head there if want all the details and not just a few bullet points.

Microsoft Kinect Officially Announced
Last year at E3, Microsoft demonstrated a device they called "Project Natal". This year it is now an official edition to the Microsoft line-up complete with Kinect specific games, special port on new XBox Slim and really a whole new way to do motion control. The device supports controller-less playing, voice commands, video chat and more. It uses sensors to tell a person's positioning to reflect commands so a kick is read as a kick, a jump a jump and so forth. Touching in space can register as commands and a lot more. It’s hard to type out what it does, but the potential of this is huge. It also seems like a lot of work since you can't "cheat" the system like you could with the Wii where could bowl from the couch. Since your body is the controller, it means games will require your full physical attention to participate. The systems release date is November 4th and the expected launch games list is here. Gamestop has the price at $149 but that price point is not official. I suspect that that at that time there will be XBox, Kinetic + game system packs that will go on sale in time for Christmas.

XBox 360 Slim Officially Announced
Microsoft may finally rid itself of the red ring of death now that it has a new version of the same device coming to retail in the next day or two. The XBox Slim sports a 250GB hard drive and built-in Wi-Fi for the same price so $299. The XBox systems have probably already dropped $50 or more at retail to make room for the new hardware. The "new" system has five USB ports, a special port for Kinect, and the hard drive retains a proprietary but much smaller case. If you have an old system and want to upgrade, add $20 to the total for a data transfer cable. An unboxing video can be found here.

Nintendo 3DS Officially Announced
The next version of the DS has debuted and the result is about the same. The new device sports the ability to do 3D without glasses, includes 3D camera, a slightly wider top screen, and "Slide Pad" for greater control. The game is compatible with DSi games and is expected to come with a good size series of launch games. No release date (I expect around Christmas) nor price (I am guessing $199) was announced. Right now I am not seeing any particular reason to upgrade to a new device but that may change once plans and pricing are finalized. A hand-on video with the device can be found here and the specs here.

Nintendo 3DS Games List
This list is near complete list of games that are being developed for the new 3DS system. Games of note include Resident Evil Revelations, Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition, Bomberman, Contra, Metal Gear Solid 3D, Mario Kart, Kid Icarus, PilotWings, Star Fox 64 3D and more. One rumor is the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina in Time will also be remade for the system but that was not announced by Nintendo.

Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword Trailer
Coming in 2011 is the next installment of the Zelda series. No specifics on story were provided but if it holds to tradition it will probably not be a sequel to the Twilight Princess. The game sports better visuals then Twilight with similar user interface and modified controls that take advantage of the MotionPlus peripheral so games can use it for direct swordplay while the Nunchuck controls the shield. Unable to embed the trailer so will have to click the above link to view.

Knights of the Old Republic Trailer
Star Wars returns to MMORPGs by going back to an era of Star Wars that predates the movies by hundreds of years. The trailer shows off some fantastic cinematics, a Darth Vader analog and tons of potential. What it doesn't show off is any game play elements. Still it is an entertaining few minutes even if not particularly informative on what the game will be.

Sony's Playstation Move Officially Announced
The company used their press conference to officially announce their response to the Wii with a new controller set that basically mimics the wii-mote and nunchuck. The move controller is $49.99 and navigation controller is $29.99. The Move will be available in North America on September 19th and elsewhere on September 15th. Click the link above to read Sony's press release on the device.

Playstation Plus Announced
Sony continues to copy their competitors this time with a response to XBox Live service. PS Plus is a $50/yr program for the Playstation Plus that acts like the XBox Live Gold membership by providing exclusive content, early access to betas, Qore and other features.

Metroid: The Other M
New trailer for the game that I think comes out on August 31st. Still looking like a pretty sweet game that doesn't rely on 1st person shooter sytle. Click link above to view as not embeddable.

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