E3: Microsoft, Sony And Nintendo Take The Stage With Gaming Innovations
The Xbox 360 team and game publishers rallied around Xbox’s motion-tracking accessory, Kinect. Introduced in 2009 and launched last year, Kinect has sold very well to younger and casual gamers. It is clear that Microsoft is now aiming the Kinect straight at the hardcore gamer market by encouraging developers to make mainstream titles compatible with the device. Third party studios demonstrated clever uses of the motion-tracking and voice-command system in new games including Mass Effect, Ghost Recon, Gears of War and many more.
Infinity Ward treated audiences with a ten-minute demo of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 while Crystal Dynamics demoed a segment of Tomb Raider, a re-imagined story of Lara Croft. Halo fans, fresh off the news that Bungie would not continue development of the series, were surprised when Microsoft announced a remastered, tenth anniversary version of Halo CE and teased a clip of Halo 4.
Besides a new Star Trek game for the Playstation 3 and a lengthy apology for the Playstation Network outage, Monday's announcement was all about the future of Sony’s latest handheld device, the Playstation Vita. Replacing the Playstation Portable, The PS Vita is equipped with motion sensors, dual cameras, dual analog sticks, an OLED touchscreen, and a rear touchpad for advanced control. The device delivers stunning, next-generation graphics almost on par with the PS3--an impressive feat. On the software side, Vita is considerably more social than it’s predecessor, featuring party mode and a location-based, friend-discovering feature.
When Playstation Vita goes on sale late this fall, it will be available in WiFi-only and 3G configurations priced at $249 and $299 respectively. 3G data service is currently exclusive to AT&T. Launch titles like Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Ruin, ModNation Racers, Little Big Planet, and Streetfighter will be available for both Vita and PS3. Developers are working on ways to let users stop playing on one machine and automatically continue playing on the other. More information will be available closer to launch as to which games will support this feature.
After a year of less-than-stellar 3DS sales, Nintendo sought to revitalize excitement by focusing on original titles for the handheld gaming system. The 3DS, which achieves a three-dimensional, stereoscopic image without glasses, has been criticized for lacking content that utilizes the unique nature of the device. Nintendo hopes that its updated electronic store will make new games like Zelda 3D, Luigi’s Mansion 2, Kid Icarus, Pokémon Black and White, Star Fox 3DS, and Metal Gear Solid more attractive.
Perhaps the most talked-about announcement of the keynote is Nintendo’s new home console: the Nintendo Wii U. Not much is known about the console, except that it will run natively in full HD resolution. Nintendo did, however, unveil the new game system’s controller: an unusual touchscreen-equipped slate that allows gamers to more actively interact with game content. The first generation Wii was marketed with family interaction in mind. The Wii U seeks add to this tradition while also catering to the more serious gamer.
“This device is designed to appeal to all people, particularly the most experienced players,” said Satoru Iwata, the president and CEO of Nintendo.
Reach writer McKenzie Carlile here.