Top discussions will revolve around a few key news bites from each company:
Microsoft –Xbox Live as a living room experience, the expansion of Kinect to casual and core audience, and SmartGlass.
Sony – the renamed PlayStation Network is a key driving force to the company moving forward as they highlight core gaming features across all their platforms.
Nintendo – focus will be on the Wii U, what is different from existing hardware and its applicability in an exploding mobile world.
I first started attending E3 when it was held in Atlanta, and while it was a spectacle, it was very forward thinking. The technology and graphics companies were there along with the console vendors. Sure there were some big booths but it felt more organic and less scripted than recent E3s.
There are some that say the show is outdated given the growing focus on mobile, social and cloud gaming. It helps that companies such as GREE, Zynga and Gaikai all have a presence at the show this year. There is a lot of room for growth at E3 and a lot to get out of the show. What I continue to enjoy the most are those companies that beat to their own drum.
There a few jewels that stand out this year, if you can step outside the noise of the show. These are the companies doing things their own way and pushing the boundaries of development, technology and innovation with their work. Here are my picks:
A company I’m currently very excited about is CCP. Certainly, not on the small side with over 600 employees in five studios: Iceland, US, China and two in the UK, CCP has done things their own way. They did a wonderful job with EVE Online and now they are launching Dust 514, a free-to-play game for the PS3 that enables cross-platform play with Eve Online players. Make no mistake, what they are doing with Eve and Dust 514 is the future of cross-platform gaming.
Dust 514 – Command Center
Another indie studio at this year’s show worth checking out is Plastic Piranha. Located at booth 2259 in the South Hall, Plastic Piranha will be launching Rekoil, a multiplayer shooter for the PC. Rekoil is an infantry-based game with amazing graphics and is using the the Unreal Engine. A self-funded company, expect to hear more from Plastic Piranha this week!
Gaikai has been on fire lately. They announced their partnership with Nvidia to support a cloud gaming service called GeForce Grid.
Gaikai has also just inked a deal with En Masse Entertainment to add a streaming option for the new MMO, TERA. This will enable anyone to instantly stream the demo to view the intense graphics experience of the game immediately.
We expect to hear more deals announced this week as the show unfolds.
Last year one of my favorite exhibitors was IndieCade, the organizers of the International Festival of Independent Games. Located in the Concourse this year, IndieCade will be showcasing 20 young indie developers who were showing off their projects. Last year at E3, Minecraft’s Markus Persson spent quite a bit of time at the IndieCade booth just getting to know some of the young talent and seeing their work.
For a complete list of indie developers exhibiting at IndieCade - CLICK HERE
Overall, looking forward to E3 2012!