Last year at E3

Now that I have booked 2 days off work in order to actually ensure I catch all the E3 news direct from the show floors, I wondered if it wouldn’t be too much of a bad idea to quickly recap the events of E3 2009. I did a quick write up about last years show, and I fully intend to do the same this year.

For those who are interested, please read below for my E3 2009 feature. How much of what we saw last year has seen the light of day so far?

Many would say that this years Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, has returned to its former glory, and they wouldn’t be far wrong. With a whole host of exciting announcements on new technological advancements and titles for the coming months, this years press conferences from the big players were the best they have been in a long time.

It’s easy to say that Microsoft owned the show, with their two hour long press conference that left many edging ever closer to their computer screens as xbox.com streamed the entire thing live, not leaving a moment to catch your breath as the announcements just kept coming.  The biggest announcement of them all being Project Natal, Microsoft’s inspired idea to use the entire human body as a wireless way of controlling the games on your Xbox console.  After showing a heavily edited demo of the technology they had been working on, Microsoft took it one step further with a live demonstration of how Natal can read your body, its movements and utilise this into various fun and interactive games. This could be seen as a way for Microsoft to compete with Nintendo in the interactive stakes, but regardless, this was definitely one of the most exciting announcements of the whole show.

Don’t think that it was all about the hardware though. How about two new upcoming Halo games? The team at Bungee have been already begun slaving away on Halo 3:ODST, and Halo Reach. Or what about the special announcement from Hideo Kojima about the Metal Gear Solid franchise finally coming to Xbox 360, featuring Raiden as opposed to Solid Snake.

Of course, Microsoft were not the only ones to make big hardware announcements. Nintendo also had some interesting new gadgets to announce that were either in development, or ready and raring to go. Only small in size, but big in practicality, Wii Motion Plus is a small attachment for your Wiimote that enables improved precision for your gaming, a live demonstration also given with the soon to be released Wii Sports Resort which of course looked like a lot of fun, it is Nintendo after all.

The big shots at Nintendo HQ are still working on their ‘casual gaming’ concept as well. The company are well known for providing games for everyone, using their own slogan ‘Everyone’s Game’ all throughout the conference and boasting a whole host of versatile titles such as Cop: The Recruit, Style Savvy and Women’s Murder Club: Games Of Passion.

And of course, what would a Nintendo announcement be without something Wii Fit related? That’s right, Wii Fit Plus will be making its way to your living room by the end of the year. This addition to the original home fitness centre allows you to become your own personal trainer, setting up a routine that is engineered specifically to your requirements.  Some of the new features include a calorie counter, so you know just how many calories you have shed with each workout. There are also 15 new balance games for pure and simple fun, as well as 6 new yoga and strength exercises for those hardcore Wii Fitter’s out there.

Sony also put up a good fight and impressed the audience with their long line up of announcements, almost rivalling Microsoft in terms of excitement in the crowd. For the whole two hours the Sony representatives were certainly stroking their own ego’s, but with definite good reason. Also trying to latch onto the idea of motion control for the future, Sony announced their own new set of motion controllers which are currently in development, also providing an exciting live demonstration with an early model, and promising an early 2010 launch.

The word of the day at the Sony conference was ‘exclusive’. Boasting 35 PS3 exclusives for 2009 and an exceptionally long list of PSP titles the coming year, it is without a doubt that Sony are trying every way they can to stay ahead of the game in this continuing console war.

There was a lot of focus around the new PSP Go!, showcasing a sleeker and daintier design than the PSP’s earlier versions, and promoting a more ‘digital lifestyle’ benefit for those who are always on the go. With it’s tiny body and impressive high definition screen, the PSP Go! is looking stunning, and we only have to wait until October before we can all get our hands on this beauty.

If it’s the games you want to hear about, then you’re certainly in for a treat. Amongst the already announced titles such as God Of War, Uncharted 2 and Tekken 6, there were a lot of brand spanking new announcements for us to take in. Final Fantasy XIV online was yet another PS3 exclusive that Sony were exceptionally proud of, although oddly skipping past Final Fantasy XIII. Gran Turismo for the PSP certainly impressed the audience with it’s preview video, shown using the new PSP Go! And if that wasn’t enough, Mr Kojima made yet another appearance after his visit to the Microsoft stage to announce Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker for the PSP, scheduled for a 2010 release.

With all this news, it seems like it’s going to be another fantastic year for gamers and the industry, regardless of whether you own a Nintendo Wii, Microsoft Xbox 360 or a Sony PS3. It’s time to start saving your pennies if you want the best that 2009 and 2010 will have to offer!

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