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E3 was promised to be back and big again this year and it sure seemed to be with Microsoft leading the press conferences on Monday.  Microsoft's main focus was on 3 items, new games, a new peripheral, and new Xbox updates.  Typically these are always the things they focus on though usually when they get to one section or another the audience groans in boredom (for example, when they drone on about Scene It! and other goofy family games no one watching will typically care about), but this year MS came out strong on all fronts.  Games announced included Beatles Rock Band, Crackdown 2, Halo Reach, Left 4 Dead 2, and others.  Gameplay previews included Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Splinter Cell: Conviction, and Halo 3: ODST.  The new peripheral was possibly the biggest talk of the meet, developed as "Natal" (pronounced na-taal), the peripheral is a large-ish camera and microphone that sits under or on your TV (similar to the Wii motion bar).  Natal also features voice and facial recognition software to know who is playing and automatically sign them into their correct account.  Also mentioned along with Natal was a new Metal Gear Solid game using Natal developed by Hideo Kojima himself.  Finally, Microsoft talked about many new Xbox updates including features able to link your Xbox with your Facebook and display what games you're playing, update your Twitter status from your Xbox, and free use of the last.fm music service.  Also mentioned was the ability to use a credit card and play full Xbox 360 games from the marketplace.

Apparently, the 'bigger, better' show applied to MS but not to Nintendo, whose conference was less than spectacular.  Highlights of the meeting include new games and one new peripheral.  Nintendo announced a slew of new games but the biggest announcements were Super Mario Galaxy 2 and a new Metroid game developed by Team Ninja.  There seemed to be a heavy focus on bring Mario back, with 2-3 other new Mario based games.  They also talked about the 'hardcore gamers' by bringing a Dead Space game, a new Resident Evil, and leading to the Metroid game.  Also of interest, several DSi games featured user-creatable content and distribution methods in 2 games.  Finally, the peripheral, which is extremely poorly understood or just not that useful.  Called 'Vitality', it is a finger scanner you attach to the Wii-mote to read your heartbeat and tell you if you're stressed, excited, or a variety of other feelings.  Sounds like a gimmick...

Finally Sony finished up the 3-core conference meets with one LONG event.  They focused a lot on games including demos of God of War 3, a user-creation based kart racer, MAG, and Uncharted 2.  Also shown were Gran Turismo for PSP, Gran Turismo 5, The Last Guardian (known online as Trico), a new Metal Gear Solid for PSP, a PS3-exclusive game by Rockstar North called Agent, Final Fantasy 13, AND Final Fantasy 14 Online!  Also announced was the PSP Go, a slimmer PSP without all the trimmings for the 'techie on the go'.  Sony is trying to compete in the motion wars by showing a controller that works with the PS Eye to produce 1:1 movement in games, which they showed LOADS of small tech demos featuring the technology.

Posted on Tuesday, June 2, 2009 1:10 PM Other | Back to top


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