Ri­vals con­sole-search­ing

Gam­ing’s heavy hit­ters think out­side the box in their bat­tle for supremacy, Jen­nifer Dud­ley-ni­chol­son re­ports

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Gaming -

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.

Smart move:

Mi­crosoft’s Marc Whit­ten an­nounces

Xbox Smart­Glass

at E3.

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