E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) is an annual trade showcase held in Los Angeles, Calif. focused on upcoming video game hardware and software releases. This year's events will be atypical due to the introduction of a new home console generation for the first time in eight
years and presentations for the final body of highly anticipated current-generation software.
Meet the Consoles
It could be argued the first system of the new home console cycle was actually released last year. The successor to Nintendo’s popular Wii console, the Wii U, was released in November.
The system utilizes a tablet-style controller and high definition visuals; however, its hardware power remains on par with consoles already on the market.
A lack of compelling software support since its release has kept the Wii U from experiencing mainstream adoption, with less than four million units sold worldwide to date. Nintendo has taken a unique approach to addressing this issue, canceling their traditional E3 press conference and scheduling a floor demonstration of upcoming Nintendo-exclusive software instead.
Sony announced their latest hardware at a press event in February. The PlayStation 4 is scheduled to be released this holiday season.
The promise of new iterations of popular exclusive games, interface capability with the PlayStation Vita handheld console and media sharing features created a significant online buzz for the system following its announcement. By choosing not to show off the actual system shell during the February announcement, Sony made an event of the reveal itself, set to occur during their E3 press conference on June 10.
Microsoft rounded out the new hardware group last month when they announced the Xbox One, also scheduled to be released during the 2013 holiday season.
Cable television control and display options, a new generation of the Kinect peripheral, and integration with fantasy sports leagues were touted as some of the features intended to place the Xbox One at the center of living room entertainment. When online reactions suggested their message was being interpreted as a slight against dedicated gamers – no real time gameplay footage was shown during the reveal event – Microsoft staff assured the public E3 presentations would address those concerns.
While much of the discussion will revolve around new game development technologies, there will still be plenty of games on display at E3. Follow our blog
for hands-on demonstration footage, show floor images and developer testimonials. Here are some notable titles expected to be shown:
"Call of Duty: Ghosts" – The Call of Duty franchise is the best-selling series in the video game industry. Period. Ghosts will mark its debut on the next generation of consoles and although developers have promised an increase in visual fidelity, there is no indication at this point gameplay will be evolved beyond the established formula.
"Destiny" – Bungie, the developer behind the highly successful Xbox exclusive, "Halo," is aiming high with this upcoming title. Described as an action role-playing first-person shooter, the game has been teased throughout 2013. Developers have scheduled that the first gameplay footage of Destiny to be shown during Sony’s E3 press conference.
"Rayman Legends" – This follow up to the critically celebrated 2011 platformer, Rayman Origins, promises an even more impressive art style and new cooperative gameplay options. Originally planned as a Wii U exclusive, the game’s release date was delayed from November 30th, 2012 to Sept. 3, 2013 and development was expanding to the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PlayStation Vita.
"The Last of Us" – There are only a handful of games that can, on their own merit, motivate gamers to purchase a console. Naughty Dog is a developer who has produced multiple titles fitting into this category. "The Last of Us," their latest PlayStation 3 exclusive title, is a survival action game set in a future United States devastated by a deadly fungus. It’s already been praised by scores of positive reviews released this week, and everyone won’t have to wait long to play it. The game will be in stores on June 14, one day after E3 ends.
"Watch Dogs" – First shown at last year’s E3, "Watch Dogs" was one of the first games suspected to be in development for the next generation of consoles. With a new level of graphical fidelity and animation quality, this open-world action title emphasizes computer hacking to achieve mission objectives while its story themes tackle the current age of internet connectivity.
"Grand Theft Auto 5" – The Grand Theft Auto series attempts to top its own scope and chaos with each iteration. "Grand Theft Auto 5" is shaping up to be no exception with a focus on three separate main characters and the promise of a world larger than three of the previous games in the series combined. Rockstar, the game’s developer, had to release three separate character trailers to get the point across.
Super Mario / Super Smash Bros. / Zelda titles for Wii U – There is no underestimating the importance of new quality software for Nintendo’s latest console. Up to this point, concept descriptions haven’t even been given for the new Mario and Smash Bros. titles expected to be shown at E3. To make matters more concerning, the latest announced Zelda title is actually a remake for a game release 10 years ago.
The mustached-mascot has traditionally saved the company from a lack of third-party software support, but the Virtual Boy and Nintendo GameCube stand as proof this is not always the case.
We asked several gamers in Austin for their thoughts on E3 2013: