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Archive: E3: Off Screen

Posted at 10:27 AM ET, 05/14/2006

E3 in Today's Print Post: Sunday

What Press Pass? At E3, a Convergence of Card-Carrying Bloggers by Jose Antonio Vargas

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Posted at 6:55 PM ET, 05/12/2006

Final Thoughts

The final numbers are in and 60,000 people attended this year's show. It was crowded, but it definitely didn't seem as crowded as last year, which had over 70,000 attendees. You couldn't walk from booth to booth in the South Hall last year.

I think one thing that's changed in that time is the accessibility of the show floor to consumers via the Internet. E3Insider.com attracted 1.5 million consumer visits over the three days. You can get all of the press conference videos on that site. And that's just one site. Gamespot.com, IGN.com, Gametrailers.com, MTV.com, G4TV.com and others were streaming feeds and video online, and G4 was broadcasting much of the show live.

In many ways, except for the behind-closed-door meetings, consumers now get better access to the games by not being on the crowded show floor than some attendees and journalists who are. From game trailers to developer interviews to live press conferences, E3 is instantly available for anyone for free. That's on top of the daily blogs you've been reading here.

It wasn't long ago -- last year really -- that information would be revealed at the end of a press conference. Now blogs update things by the minute and streaming technology allows gamers to watch the action unfold in real time -- and they don't get stuck for an hour in the Sony Pictures parking lot. It's appropriate that technology -- the driving force in gaming -- has opened the annual trade show to anyone with a PC.

Traditionally, the last day of the show is quieter than the first two, as many people bolt early because they're burned out or are trying to get home for the weekend. This year seemed like it was about as busy as yesterday at the noisy South Hall. I spent the day there catching up on games I had missed over the first two days.

Sometimes it's nice to just get your hands on the demos out in the booth, rather than getting stuck for 30 minutes on one game behind closed doors. I was impressed by a lot of the third-party games I saw today. I visited Sega, Namco Bandai, Konami, Capcom, D3, NcSoft, Vivendi Games, Sony Online Entertainment, D3 Publishing, Square Enix, 2K Games and Eidos.

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Posted at 4:05 PM ET, 05/12/2006

Waiting to Play Wii

The line at the Nintendo area is the longest in this whole hall. When I walked around it, I felt like I was running the mile.

I talked to two guys toward the end of the line -- Kevin Dowell, 19, and Paul Pao, 20, both students at USC. They had been waiting about 10 minutes when they were told they would have to be in line for two hours.

They didn't budge.

"That's the only thing I want to do," said Dowell, referring to trying out the Wii.

Which game? "Zelda," said Pao. "Ditto," said Dowell.

I'm writing a story for tomorrow about how E3 is blogger country. The blog kotaku.com posted a video showing that when they opened the Convention Center doors this morning, people were running ... guess where?

I think everyone is really curious about this console. The story of this E3 has been this controller.

Funny thing, Sony released a motion-sensitive controller of its own, but nobody's talking about that.

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Posted at 4:04 PM ET, 05/12/2006

Shhh, It's Getting Loud In Here....

Scott Steinberg, Sega's vice president of entertainment marketing, said he had to call conference security to get the folks in the neighboring NCSoft booth to quiet down, as per new E3 rules requiring that booths keep the decibels down.

"I think there's a rule," he said. "The less good your games are, the louder your booth is."

Steinberg said Sega is betting on all the upcoming platforms. His expectation is that Sony will win its duel with Microsoft again, but that Microsoft will "close the gap." He said that Nintendo is the wild card-- and could wind up anywhere from first to third, all depending on how well game makers can take advantage of the system's innovative controller.

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Posted at 3:55 PM ET, 05/12/2006

Is Will a No Show?

Ran into Will Wright five minutes ago, the world's most famous game designer, a guy who has made zillions of dollars for game publisher Electronic Arts. Wright, looking exhausted and panicky, was trying to find lunch in the 27 minutes he had till the next showing of his upcoming game Spore. Evidently the guy has to hunt down his own eats...

How do you like the show Will?

"I haven't seen any of it," he said, running off. "Not a bit."

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Microsoft Everywhere

Spent a lot of time in the Microsoft booth ... Talked to Todd Holmdahl, corporate vice president for the Xbox and gaming platform group. He showed me an app that could be a key for Microsoft when it takes on PS3 later this year. Holmdahl typed in my Xbox Live...

By Bob Greiner | May 12, 2006; 03:38 PM ET | Comments (0)

Mobile Game Outlook

Mobile gaming is a growing business, but E3 is not the best venue for those games. There are game makers and carriers at the show, but many of them are hidden away in Kentia Hall. CTIA, which happens twice a year, is the show for everything mobile, so a lot...

By Bob Greiner | May 12, 2006; 01:11 PM ET | Comments (0)

Hearing the Buzz

Sometimes it pays to just sit down for a few minutes in an area and listen to the buzz. I was at the "Into the Pixel" art exhibit (they have comfortable chairs) and I heard some people talking about the show as it closed for the day Thursday. One of...

By Bob Greiner | May 12, 2006; 12:34 PM ET | Comments (0)

E3 in Today's Print Post: Friday

Pixels Put on a Par With Paintings: Video Games Show Off Their Artistic Side in Exhibitions by Jose Antonio Vargas Narrated gallery of images from the "Into the Pixel" exhibit Gallery of wire photos from E3...

By Bob Greiner | May 12, 2006; 11:57 AM ET | Comments (0)

Heading Into Day 3

My main goal today is to stay upright and conscious. I have two high-profile meetings today -- one with Activision where I'm assuming they will probably show me and maybe let me play Call of Duty 3, then another appointment with Microsoft. I'd like to get their take on the...

By Bob Greiner | May 12, 2006; 11:10 AM ET | Comments (0)

Random Bits

I love the language of the video game industry sometimes. NCSoft is showing off its latest game. "We're going to shut off the god mode and show you death," says the game's producer, who was going hoarse, like everybody else, by the end of Day Two. ================ Most years, you...

By Bob Greiner | May 12, 2006; 10:04 AM ET | Comments (0)

Reflections on Celebrity

While Xbox Live had Jenny McCarthy, the band Panic Member and Method Man come by their booths at E3 this year, it seemed like there were less celebrity appearances this year from game companies. Paris Hilton isn't really "technically" a celebrity, yet she drew a crowd at the Gameloft booth...

By Kyle Balluck | May 12, 2006; 12:03 AM ET | Comments (0)

Atari's Chief Surfer

Atari chief executive Bruno Bonnell said the Xbox 360 is a "super telephone," the PlayStation 3 a "muscle car" and the Nintendo Wii a "wonderful toy." The company is in difficult financial times, and there is no surefire hit in sight for these guys. But it had the most pleasant...

By Bob Greiner | May 11, 2006; 10:13 PM ET | Comments (0)

The Paris Event

Throngs gather near the Gameloft booth to get a glimpse of Paris Hilton. (Chris Barylick for washingtonpost.com) So, I just came from the Paris Hilton appearance on the show floor. Amid a crush of reporters, photographers and fans, she emerged in a green dress to sign autographed cards for...

By Kyle Balluck | May 11, 2006; 08:30 PM ET | Comments (0)

Console Comparisons

I've gotten a lot of looks at the PS3 this week ... When Xbox launched in 2001, a year after the PS2, there was a definite differentiation between the graphics. As far as the PS3 visuals i'm seeing now, while they are great next-generation visuals, they are about on par...

By Bob Greiner | May 11, 2006; 04:50 PM ET | Comments (0)

Waiting for Paris -- or Not

Happened to be over by the booth for French mobile game maker Gameloft, which has a Paris Hilton jewel game. The PR people were going crazy wondering whether she would show up on time. In the queue for getting a picture taken -- Hilton's scheduled appearance was about a half...

By Bob Greiner | May 11, 2006; 03:52 PM ET | Comments (0)

Nintendo Chatter

So Nintendo has offered something strange -- and it might actually work. So far, feedback on its wireless controller and directional "nunchuk" has ben overwhelmingly positive. The controller feels comfortable in almost any hand and can be turned sideways as a more traditional controller, the rectangle in your grip harking...

By Bob Greiner | May 11, 2006; 12:49 PM ET | Comments (3)

Vargas Web Chat

Blog contributor and Post Style staff writer Jose Antonio Vargas, whose profile of enigmatic Electronic Software Association head Doug Lowenstein appears in the paper today, will take reader questions at 2 p.m. ET (11 a.m. PT). You can submit questions in advance, or read the transcript after the chat....

By Bob Greiner | May 11, 2006; 09:44 AM ET | Comments (0)

E3 in Today's Print Post: Thursday

Shadow Player: The Face of the Video Game Industry Steps Into the Spotlight at Electronic Entertainment Expo by Jose Antonio Vargas (Here is an audio clip from Jose's interview with ESA head Doug Lowenstein.) At Expo, Games Are Played and Opinions Aired by Mike Musgrove...

By Bob Greiner | May 11, 2006; 09:41 AM ET | Comments (0)

Study: Games Contributed $18 Billion to U.S. GDP

Think-tank report commissioned by ESA (summary here and PDF of full study here) looks at economic impact of the industry....

By Bob Greiner | May 10, 2006; 12:50 PM ET | Comments (0)

E3 in Today's Print Post: Wednesday

Nintendo Offers a Peek at System: Firm Prices Wii Console to Attract New Fans, Undercut Rivals Also, here's a link to the text of ESA chief Douglas Lowenstein's State of the Industry address and the ESA's "Essential Facts" presentation (PDF download)....

By Bob Greiner | May 10, 2006; 12:37 PM ET | Comments (0)

Great Ad for Army Game

The U.S. Army is here again, with one of the coolest ads I've ever seen, for the game America's Army: A picture of a soldier in a combat zone with the text: "No Actors. No Costumes. No Cheat Codes." A lot of people are stopping to look at it --...

By Bob Greiner | May 10, 2006; 10:57 AM ET | Comments (0)

E3 in Today's Print Post

Where the Games Go To Compete: Developers Look to Score Points at Annual Expo by Mike Musgrove Coming to a Console Near You: Local firms and products being shown at E3 (D.C. area) News Graphic: What's the Real World Anyway?...

By Bob Greiner | May 9, 2006; 12:14 PM ET | Comments (0)

Nintendo's Magic Wand?

No one knows what to make of this show other than the fact that it'll be significant. This isn't one of those times when everything revelatory is revealed; that was last year with the three new consoles. This is the year we fill in the gaps and find out more...

By Bob Greiner | May 8, 2006; 08:16 PM ET | Comments (8)

The Right Amount of Skin

The Super Shuttle on the way from LAX to the Wilshire Grand Hotel was filled with game industry guys. A couple of guys in the back lamented E3's new rules cracking down on "booth babes"-- the models that game companies hire and squeeze into skimpy outfits to attract attention to...

By Bob Greiner | May 8, 2006; 06:58 PM ET | Comments (0)

Spago and Sony

How important is E3 to Los Angeles? Well, it brings in $19.35 million in direct spending to the local economy this week. Hint: hotel rooms. E3 is the largest annual convention in the city, and L.A.. Inc., the organization that touts tourism in the city, hosted a lavish lunch --...

By Bob Greiner | May 8, 2006; 06:25 PM ET | Comments (0)

 

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