Mario ami­ibo, vir­tual re­al­ity, videos

Los Angeles Times - - COM­PANY TOWN - By Paresh Dave and Daina Beth Solomon

Thou­sands of video game en­thu­si­asts got their first chance to play a broad slate of up­com­ing video games as the Elec­tronic En­ter­tain­ment Expo opened Tues­day at the Los An­ge­les Con­ven­tion Cen­ter.

The video game in­dus­try’s big con­ven­tion of­fers a chance for game de­vel­op­ers to ex­hibit new con­sole, smart­phone and com­puter games to re­porters, an­a­lysts and, for the first time this year, fans. Here are some high­lights from Tues­day:

Nin­tendo an­nounced that it will turn its iconic Mario char­ac­ter into an ami­ibo, a fig­urine that’s able to con­nect to a Wii U gam­ing con­sole and hand-held gam­ing de­vices. The ami­ibo store data that per­son­al­izes game play when hooked up. Nin­tendo char­ac­ters Bowser and Don­key King will also be ar­riv­ing in doll form in Septem­ber to con­nect to “Sky­lan­ders,” a pop­u­lar kids’ game that fea­tures drag­ons, dogs and other crea­tures. More than 40% of par­ents in a re­cent sur­vey by re­search firm NPD Group said their fam­ily owned a plas­tic toy that “comes to life” dig­i­tally.

Sev­eral com­pa­nies showed off the next fron­tier in dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy: vir­tual re­al­ity head­sets. At the Vir­tuix Omni booth, gamers were fit­ted with eye gog­gles as they walked on bowl­shaped tread­mills. They swirled 360 de­grees while aim­ing mock shot­guns at tar­gets seen in a video that played in front of their eyes through the head­sets. At the Ocu­lus VR booth, sev­eral dozen peo­ple waited up to two hours to spend a few min­utes in a pri­vate room nav­i­gat­ing dig­i­tal space­ships and go­ing through other sce­nar­ios seen on head­sets from the Face­book-owned com­pany.

YouTube pre­viewed a web­site for gam­ing videos, set to de­but this sum­mer, at­tract­ing the praise of gamers who ap­pre­ci­ated its seam­less in­ter­face. Game cre­ators, mean­while, took to a small stage to chat about their work, with YouTube live-stream­ing the dis­cus­sions. Across the con­ven­tion hall, Ama­zon-owned Twitch, which has been stream­ing game videos on­line since 2011, also gave de­vel­op­ers a plat­form to dis­cuss their videos. paresh.dave@la­times.com daina.solomon@la­times.com

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