E3: The best gaming has to offerBy Johan Keyter 5 July 2011 | Categories: feature articles
Earlier last month Los Angeles played host to the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3 for short. It's marked on every serious gamer's calendar, since it's here that the best new releases and products get revealed. We've included a few choice ones for your reading pleasure.
At E3 this year Nintendo unveiled its new Wii U console, the successor to the device which reintroduced gaming to motion control, the Nintendo Wii. The Wii U will be made up of a nondescript white console (with HD capabilities), with an iPad-like tablet controller certainly being the most interesting aspect of the device. This controller will allow players to play games on their TV or on the controller's display itself, and the controller will also be used within games, for example displaying your inventory or a game map.
Nintendo also demonstrated capabilities that saw a person watching TV and using a motion gesture to drag TV content from the box and onto the controller's 6.2" display. The device includes an accelerometer, gyroscope and camera, and comes with a stylus which will allow users to draw fully-fledged art pieces on the controller. The Wii U is expected to launch sometime next year, and while solid information on a price hasn't been announced yet, it was hinted that it would probably be more than $250.
Alongside Nintendo, Sony was one of the only major manufacturers to unveil a new gaming device at E3 this year (no Xbox 720 or PS4, sorry), showcasing its new PlayStation Vita handheld. Previously known as the NGP (next-generation portable), the PS Vita will sport a powerful ARM Cortex-A9 CPU and a GPU offering 128 MB of graphics memory - huge for a handheld. The device will also sport a touch-screen and a multi-touch pad on the back, and a small flash memory card will take over for the UDM discs of the original PSP.
A couple of Vita titles were demonstrated at the show, including Naughty Dog's new mobile Uncharted title as well as the popular Mod Nation Racers. Capcom is also said to be working on a Street Fighter title for the new device, and Irrational Games are busy with a Bioshock one.
Sony gave no specific release dates at the show, but it was revealed that the handheld will be priced at $249 for a Wi-Fi only version, with a 3G and Wi-Fi version retailing for $299. Whether the Vita will be coveted in the age of smartphones and tablets remains to be seen.
It seems Microsoft's Kinect motion-sensing peripheral for its Xbox 360 console is facing somewhat of a revival. The peripheral launched last year to record breaking sales, but the number of games that supported it wasn't really something to write home about.
That seems set to change though, as Microsoft Game Studios head Phil Spencer, recently told Gamespot: "It's not a mandate that everything we do in first-party has to support Kinect right now. But I will say, specifically with voice, that there are some things that just seem to make navigating and playing games so much easier, that I would guess the answer will be yes in the end, that you'll see all first-party games using some form of Kinect functionality."
Microsoft revealed Kinect features for Forza 4 and Gears of War 3 at E3, as well as announcing Fable: The Journey, a brand new Fable title where players can use the power of Kinect to, "craft and control magic in a way that can't be done with a controller."
A number of other upcoming titles also received reveals including Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, Bioshock Infinite, Dust 514, Gears of War 3 and Mass Effect 3. Microsoft's 343 Industries also wowed the crowd by announcing that it's working on Halo 4 for the Xbox 360.
If anything, it's clear that the end of the year and ensuing Christmas holidays are going to be exciting times for gaming. First off the ultimate battle of the shooters is set to commence as both COD: Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3 will be released mere weeks apart, both vying to be crowned as the new FPS king. In addition, one of the industry's most beloved RPG franchises will be making a comeback in the form of the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
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