The New E3
Gone are the huge booths, blaring music, and the never-ending plasma screens filled with digital imagery. There are also no billboards or posters advertising Sony, Microsoft or Nintendo on hotel walls and buses. The new E3 Media Summit, reduced from 60,000 people-plus to about 5,000 people, and relocated from the Los Angeles Convention Center to hotel suites in Santa Monica (not to mention pushed back from mid-May to mid-July), is nothing like past shows. And over the past few months, some game journalists, industry insiders and game publishers have been questioning whether or not the show will even continue after this year.
One thing about this year's E3, is that I don't expect any big surprises. The Sony announcement regarding the swapping of PlayStation 3 hardware (with the same $500 and $600 price points as Sony had at launch last November) was leaked early, potentially taking some steam out of its press conference scheduled today. Microsoft also didn't reduce the price of any of its Xbox 360 systems.
In fact, Microsoft kicked off this year's E3 with a very underwhelming press conferences. The company didn't show any Halo 3 game-play, they only showed an old trailer of Grand Theft Auto 4. They spent time showing Madden NFL 08 with NFL star Reggie Bush coming out for a short demo with marketing exec Jeff Bell.
Microsoft does have one area well covered, and that's Xbox Live Video Marketplace. Disney joined the digital distribution network for high definition content. There are now 35 Walt Disney Studios movies available in HD for download rental on the service.
Microsoft ended the long conference on a down note as executive Peter Moore introduced the Halo 3 Limited Edition Xbox 360 and only one person clapped. The Halo 3 trailer they showed failed to live up to the hype despite all of the game's bells and whistles.
With an E3 that many people don't want to continue, this might not be the best way to kick off the new show.
-- John Gaudiosi
John is a freelance journalist covering interactive entertainment and the video game business for more than a decade for The Washington Post and other online and print publications.
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