This past week I attended the Electronic Entertainment Expo, otherwise known as “E3”, held in the Los Angeles Convention Center. This industry tradeshow is all about gaming, and most of the upcoming games, gaming hardware and accessories are announced and on display at the show. This year’s show was particularly interesting, as several pieces of hardware were introduced.
One of the biggest reveals of E3 2011 was the new Wii U system. This is a new and improved Wii console, launching sometime in 2012, with the capability for displaying HD graphics and a special new controller. This new controller includes a six-inch touchscreen along with the traditional buttons and triggers from a standard game controller. It also includes an accelerometer and gyroscope, which means that it can still use motion controls. There is also vibration, a camera, a microphone, speakers and a stylus too. With so many features, it will be interesting to see how the game software developers take advantage of all of these tools.
While hardware specs are interesting, how does Nintendo envision us using this device? One of the first examples they showed was the ability to play the game on both your TV and the in-controller screen. While this may seem redundant, this means that if someone else in your household would like to use the TV – say, to watch a sports game – then you can seamlessly continue to play your game. Another usage of this controller, pictured above, is to use the smaller touch screen to display additional game information to enhance the game experience. There are many other possibilities, and I’m eagerly awaiting to see what other new ideas the software developers will come up with.
Another major announcement at E3 2011 was the Playstation Vita, or the PS Vita, the handheld version of the popular Sony Playstation console. This gaming-on-the-go device features all of the bells and whistles you would expect from a high end gaming device, and will launch sometime in 2012. It has touchscreens on both the front and the back fo the device, with the front screen being a 5 inch multitouch OLED screen, has 3G capability, cameras on the front and back, and integration with the Playstation 3 console. I got a chance to play some great games on this device, including Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Hot Shots Golf, Little Deviants, and Sound Shapes. They all made some great innovative use of the touch screen, whether it be using touch to control where your character climbs in Uncharted, to playing a front and back whack-a-mole style game in Little Deviants, to changing your camera angles to get a better shot in golf.
E3 is all about getting retailers, media and gamers excited about the upcoming games – and while I’ve barely scratched the surface of what the expo had to offer in this blog post I’m already really excited for what we have coming in the future. There is lots more E3 news out there – what have you read about that excites you?