E3 Video Game Conference Recap

Brent Wallace

The E3 Media and Business Summit, formerly known as the Electronic Entertainment Expo, has once again come and gone, and in its wake it has left tons of information and previews of new games and accessories.

E3, which is one of the gaming industry’s biggest events, allows video game companies, such as Nintendo, Microsoft, Sony, Activision and Capcom, to show off their upcoming games, accessories, and make other announcements. This year’s E3 was held at the Los Angeles Convention Center from July 14 to 17.

The centerpiece of E3 was the three press conferences held by Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony. All three press conferences had the standard previews and trailers for many upcoming games for both 2008 and 2009, but each company had some major announcements that will keep gamers talking for quite a while.

Microsoft announced a major new deal with Netflix, to allow Xbox 360 users to rent movies for their consoles. Microsoft also revealed a completely revamped 360 interface at the conference.

The show stealer from Microsoft was the announcement of a 360 version of Final Fantasy 13, which was originally a Playstation 3 (PS3) exclusive. Notably, the new 360 version will not be available in the home base of the series, Japan, where it will only be released for the PS3.

Nintendo’s press conference was arguably the weakest of the three, but still had a few intriguing announcements. These included Wii music, Wii Sports Resort, and new Pikmin and Animal Crossing games for the Wii.

One of Nintendo’s more interesting previews was of the Motion Plus attachment for the Wii Remote, which would serve to enhance the remote’s motion sensing capabilities by using multi-axis gyroscopes to sense rotational movement. But the biggest announcement was the preview of Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars for the Nintendo DS, which would be the first time the series would appear on the DS and the second time the series would appear on a handheld in general.

Out of all three main conferences however, Sony’s conference offered the most big bangs. While not a terribly big surprise, it was still greatly appreciated to see God of War 3 officially announced with a trailer for the PS3. Sony also released information on Resistance 2 and Killzone 2, both of which are highly anticipated first-person shooters coming exclusively to the PS3.

Along with more information on Resistance 2, Sony revealed Resistance: Retribution for the Playstation Portable (PSP), calling it the first ever “third-generation” PSP game, thanks to several new graphical enhancements that make Retribution one of the best looking PSP games to date, even in its current preview status.

Sony also revealed plenty of industry information, such as sales figures, using a custom level from Little Big Planet, a highly anticipated sandbox game for the PS3 that was confirmed for release in October. Sony also came around to announce that the 40GB PS3 is being phased out in favor of the 80GB PS3. There was a catch revealed however, as the 80GB PS3 to follow the path of the 40GB version by completely forfeiting backwards compatibility with Playstation 2 and Playstation 1 titles.

Outside of the main conferences, there were plenty of other game announcements, such as the revealing of a Wii version of Dead Rising and the confirmation of a new upcoming Wolfenstein game, among dozens of other announcements.

This year’s E3 was far from the most interesting outing the event has seen, but it still had quite a few notable announcements from its major conferences which helped make it worth tracking the show.