Gaming’s heavy hitters think outside the box in their battle for supremacy, Jennifer Dudley-nicholson reports
VIDEO games are not just child’s play — they’re big business — and the multibillion-dollar industry put on an explosive global show in Los Angeles last week.
Thousands of game developers, critics and costumed enthusiasts descended on the LA Convention Centre for E3 2012 to see what the industry has in store, from new hardware to fresh titles.
While there was no shock unveiling of a new Xbox or PlayStation, Nintendo revealed more of its incoming games console — a creation one expert dubbed ‘‘ a weird hybrid of a tablet and games controller’’ — that could save the company’s fortunes.
A long list of new games also received their first airing, from long anticipated sequels such as Halo 4 and Call of Duty: Black Ops II, to new titles including Watch Dogs and Wonderbook, giving players plenty to anticipate in 2012. sticks and the console could be paired with two GamePads at once.
What the company did not reveal was a price or launch date, with Nintendo America president Reggie Fils-Aime simply saying it would launch ‘‘ this holiday season".
Nintendo senior managing director Shigeru Miyamoto says the vague launch date should not concern potential users, however, telling IGN.com: ‘‘ As you can see from the show floor, the system is done and it works so you don’t have to worry about us delaying it!’’
Swinburne University communications and media lecturer Dr Mark Finn says the ‘‘ weird’’ tablet hybrid might be a strange release from any other game maker, but a ‘‘ desperate’’ Nintendo could pull it off.
‘‘ They’ve brought out wacky stuff before and made it work,’’ he says. ‘‘ Nintendo is in a bit of a desperate position at the moment, though. It’s made its first loss in corporate history and it needs to recover. They’re trying to build hype for this device.’’
The Japanese company is certainly backing its new console in a big way, showing off 23 upcoming launch titles, including fresh Pikmin and Super Mario Bros instalments. THE other two big names in game consoles didn’t offer new machines, but did add new screens on which to play games.
Microsoft revealed Xbox SmartGlass, a way to incorporate smartphones and tablet computers in gameplay.
The new feature will let players use compatible smartphones and tablets as a game controller — plotting football moves in Madden NFL or viewing a gun’s attributes in Halo 4 on their mobile device, for example.
SmartGlass could also be used to transfer video from a connected smartphone to the big screen or to control TV web surfing from a tablet once Microsoft adds Internet Explorer to the Xbox later this year.
The move is seen as a way to counter Nintendo’s double-screen approach with the Wii U.
Not to be outdone, Sony also announced ways to use multiple game screens, showing off more games that use both the TV and its handheld console, the PlayStation Vita.
Sony Computer Entertainment America president Jack Tretton says the feature, called Cross-Play, will feature in All-Stars Battle Royale, letting users battle against up to three friends, whether they’re using a PS3 at home or a Vita on the bus.
Tretton also announced a future Cross-Play feature for Little Big Planet 2 that will let players use the Vita as an advanced PS3 controller. IN addition to a long list of incoming titles, Sony and Microsoft added new content to its consoles.
Sony boosted its $69.95 yearly subscription service, PlayStation Plus, by introducing an Instant Game Collection with 10 titles for download and a new game of the month.
Meanwhile, Microsoft announced the addition of moviestreaming service QuickFlix to its Australian offering and revealed voice-powered internet searches would also be offered in the country this year.
Microsoft’s Marc Whitten announces