GAME ON

Video bat­tle heats up

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page -

VIDEO games are not just child’s play – they’re big busi­ness – and the multi- bil­lion­dol­lar in­dus­try put on an ex­plo­sive global show in Los An­ge­les re­cently.

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 and

to new ti­tles in­clud­ing and giv­ing players plenty to an­tic­i­pate in 2012.

Halo 4 Black Ops II, Dogs Won­der­book,

NEW HARD­WARE

Jen­nifer Dud­ley- Ni­chol­son Call of Duty:

Watch Don’t men­tion the PlaySta­tion Or­bis or Xbox 720 – nei­ther Sony nor Mi­crosoft did in their E3 announcements.

Nin­tendo was keen to talk about its up­com­ing new games con­sole, how­ever, and to show off a fi­nal ver­sion of the Wii U’s con­trol, dubbed the GamePad.

The new, high- def­i­ni­tion Nin­tendo games ma­chine uses the GamePad in usual ways, with its 6.2- inch touch­screen show­ing dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives in games, let­ting one player plot a course or chase other players, or con­tinue a game in an­other room.

Nin­tendo also re­vealed the GamePad would fea­ture two joy­sticks and its con­sole could be paired with two GamePads at once.

What the com­pany did not re­veal was a price nor a launch date, with Nin­tendo Amer­ica’s pres­i­dent, Reg­gie Fils- Aime, sim­ply say­ing it would be launched ‘‘ this hol­i­day sea­son’’.

Nin­tendo se­nior man­ag­ing direc­tor Shigeru Miyamoto says the vague launch date should not con­cern po­ten­tial users, 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 and

in­stal­ments.

Bros

Pik­min

Su­per Mario

MORE SCREENS 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

or view­ing a gun’s at­tributes in 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 Wii U dou­ble screen.

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. Mad­den NFL Halo 4

Sony Com­puter En­ter­tain­ment Amer­ica pres­i­dent Jack Tret­ton says the fea­ture, called Cross- Play, will fea­ture in

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 CrossPlay fea­ture for that will let players use the Vita as an ad­vanced PS3 con­troller.

Bat­tle Royale,

All- Stars

Lit­tle Big Planet 2

EX­TRA CON­TENT In ad­di­tion to a long list of in­com­ing ti­tles, Sony and Mi­crosoft have added new con­tent to their con­soles.

Sony boosted its $ 69.95 yearly sub­scrip­tion ser­vice, PlaySta­tion Plus, by in­tro­duc­ing an In­stant Game Col­lec­tion with 10 ti­tles for down­load plus a new game of the month.

Mean­while, Mi­crosoft an­nounced the ad­di­tion of movie- stream­ing ser­vice Quick­Flix to its Aus­tralian of­fer­ing and also re­vealed voice- pow­ered in­ter­net searches would also be of­fered in the coun­try this year.

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