Several of us on the gaming team went down to L.A. this week for the E3 trade show (where the video-gaming industry shows off the latest and greatest games and hardware). After two years of unsuccessful experimentation with a smaller, low-key business-oriented format, this year marked the return to the full-on Expo format. The hot new topic of this year’s show was motion control – capturing the player’s body movements with a camera to control the gameplay.
On the eve of the show, Microsoft announced Project Natal, a system with a screen-mounted sensor (with “depth-sensing” camera and microphone array) so you no longer need a controller in your hand. The demos look impressive (though a bit gimmicky), however, in the hands of a creative game designer, it could be a novel living-room experience.
And in their Tuesday press conference, Sony announced a new motion sensing controller. The concept is a hybrid of the current “Wiimote” and natal camera idea. Sony’s spin on the concept uses their EyeToy camera and a hand-held “wand” controller. The live demo looked very compelling, and the system seemed responsive (a potential advantage vs. a camera-only solution).
Not to be outdone, Nintendo also had news involving camera technology. Ubisoft announced their new fitness game Your Shape for Wii, a personal trainer that tracks your body movements and gives you feedback on how you are doing.
Overall, there was lots to see at the show this year, and even a new hardware announcement (Sony’s new PSP Go handheld). Although attendance didn’t seem as crazy as the last “big” show in 2006, it does seem that E3 show has re-established its place on the gamer’s calendar.
I’ve been bugging you about the wireless drums for Guitar Hero and you keep telling me you can’t talk about future products…
There they are. So start talking.