E3 2006

Every Year in Mid May the gaming community lights up like it’s on fire. All eyes in the gaming world are focused on one event, the E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) trade show in Los Angeles, California. E3 was once a small gaming trade show; but it has grown so much the last few years it has become one of the most coveted trade shows in the world! Industry heads, celebrities, gamers, and gorgeous gaming girls; all converge at the Los Angeles Convention Center to experience 3 days of the latest in gaming.

This year was even more exciting than the last because all 3 next gen systems were playable on the showroom floor. This meant that this was the definitive E3 show, which only comes around once every 5 or 6 years to show off the future of games on next gen hardware.

Xbox 360 has had a full years start on its competition. This strategy worked wonders for Sega back in the 16-bit golden era with the Sega Genesis. With an early lead and aggressive marketing campaign Sega went on to steal the North American market. However, it is important to note that not every early release takes the console crown. Two of Sega’s other early console releases flopped; Saturn and Dreamcast. I would highly doubt the 360 will flop though. Microsoft just has too much money, and they have used that money to push a very heavy marketing campaign. Sales of the system exceeded Microsoft’s original goals and the company has said that they will have a 10 million unit head start by the time the PS3 is released. Peter Moore (Corporate Vice President of Xbox) has promised that there will be 6 million Xbox Live users by E3 next year! Those are big words, but coming from the biggest and financially strongest player in this next-gen console era; Microsoft needs to be taken seriously.

Sony has unveiled a couple of secrets of its own. First a release date and price point has been set for the PS3. My original speculation of a $299 US price point was just a day dream. The system has been set at a whopping $599 US! Although for a console that comes with a built in Blu-ray DVD player, this is a relatively good price. This price point could be problematic for initial sales of the PS3. It will all depend on if the Blu-ray format takes off or not; or could it be doomed to fail like Sony’s other three formats (Beta Max, Mini Discs, and Universal Media Discs). Without a doubt the PS3 is superior in every shape and form compared to its competitors.

Sony has also decided to make two different versions available at launch, much like the 360 did with the core and premium bundles. There is a 60GB edition ($599 US) and a 20GB edition ($499 US) which is a much scaled down version. You may ask yourself, “Is the 20GB PS3 even worth getting?.” It is obviously missing 40GB on the hard drive. But wait it gets worse! There is no 802.11 wireless connection, integrated memory card readers, or HDMI outputs included! The 20GB edition should have been at least $200 less than the 60GB edition in my humble opinion.

One other interesting note is that Sony has decided to stick with its original Dual Shock controller design and scrap the boomerang controller originally unveilled with the PS3. The new Dual Shock “3” has also been fitted with motion sensing technology (gee I wonder where they got that idea?). The controller was put into action with the new War Hawk flight simulator game at E3. The games controls are incredibly fluid and natural. The added motion sensing technology really improves the overall quality of not only the controller but also the gaming experience as well. The PS3 has been slatted for a November launch (the 11th in Japan and the 17th in America), so you better get the sleeping bags ready nice and early to camp for this one, cause the PS3 could be sold out before Xmas!

The show stealer at this year’s E3 was Nintendo for sure. The previously named Revolution (now Nintendo’s Wii) captivated people on the showroom floor. Everyone wanted to tryout Nintendo's latest innovation! And from peoples reaction, everyone seemed to agree that the future of gaming lies with Nintendo and the Wii. The Wii’s graphics are not as good as its competitors and it has a strange name. But the Wii’s uniquely designed controller is on another level; offering an entirely new and fresh gaming experience.

The name took some getting used to, but Nintendo has an interesting philosophy behind the Wii. Reggie Fils-Aime (Vice President of marketing for Nintendo in North America) has stated that the name for Nintendo’s new console is based upon the concept of inclusion. The entire system was designed in the hopes of tearing down the wall between gamers and non gamers. Wii is synomonus with “we”. It represents inclusion.

Over the last 20 years games have become more realistic graphically and interactive, but more complicated at the same time. There are many people out there who have never picked up or touched a gamepad or joystick in their lives. Herein lies the idea behind the strange Wii controller. It was designed specifically to look like a traditional TV remote controller so it would be familiar to those who have never played video games before. Who has not used a TV remote before? Everyone in the modern world has used a TV remote at some point in their life.

Nintendo has yet to release a price point for the Wii, but Im pretty confident that it will fall below both the 360 and definitely below the PS3 price points. A date has also yet to be given for the console's release, but Nintendo has stated that the Wii will be released during the 4th quarter of 2006.

E3 isn’t a Tradeshow about only hardware (although all the new hardware did steal the show); it’s a show about video games. Below is a list of my top games for each system.

PlayStation 3: Metal Gear Solid 4, Assassins Creed, Brothers in Arms: Hells Highway, Final Fantasy XIII, Tekken 6, and Call of Duty 3

Xbox 360: Gears of War Fable 2, Halo 3, Forza 2, Alone in the Dark: Solitude in the Shadows, Hitman: Blood Money, Blue Dragon

Nintendo Wii: Wii Sports, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, Fire Emblem, Super Mario Galaxy, Super Smash Bros: Brawl, Dragon Quest Swords: The Mask Queen and Tower of Mirrors, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers

PlayStation 2: Final Fantasy XII, God of War 2, Yakuza, Xenosaga episode III, Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII

Xbox: Jaws Unleashed, Destroy All Humans 2, Mortal Kombat: Armageddon

Gamecube: Super Paper Mario, The legend of Zelda: The Twilight princess, Baten Kaitos II

Nintendo DS: Castlevania: Portraits of ruin, Children of Mana, Star Fox DS, The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, Nintendo DS Web Browser, Final Fantasy III, Yoshi’s Island

PlayStation Portable: Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, Grand theft auto: Vice City Stories, Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, Tekken: Dark Resurrection

Contributed by: Cain
Source: IGN

- June 6, 2006

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