The internet has been buzzing all week over the fanboy extravaganza that is taking place in the world of nerdism. As you may know, this week was the 2008 Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3 as it has come to be called. This is a once a year summit of all the major video game studios where they come to show their new stuff for the year. The three major companies involved of course are the console designers themselves, Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo. For the last few years, this summit has been off limits to the public, industry professionals only, but for the last two, G4 has been able to give us live coverage of the major press conferences. Rather than give you a rundown of the entire three days, I will give you some of the major points that were made from each developer. To watch all of the press conferences, visit www.g4tv.com.
Microsoft led things off by showing off what was arguably the biggest news of the summit. They unveiled their new XBOX Live Dashboard system that will be included in a firmware update later this fall. The new dashboard will include avatars rather than gamer pics to visually represent you as a player. Great. As you can probably already guess, this will open a floodgate of selling options for Microsoft, as they will charge you for certain aesthetics to make your avatar more unique. The more important news of the update, however, was the inclusion of the new merger with Netflix. With the new update, users will be able to rent and instantly download movies from their already existing netflix account and play them on their XBOX 360. This merger marks a huge amount of points for Microsoft as they continue their war with Sony for platform dominance. Finally, the biggest part of the conference and in my opinion, the biggest of the expo, was the announcement that Final Fantasy XIII will no longer be exclusive to Sony, but will be released simultaneously for the 360 as well. This came as a great shock to eveyone as their were no prior rumors of this nor was their any hints of it seeing as how Square Enix has made its home with Sony since its inception. What a way to kick off E3 2008.
Sony had a much tamer conference, but had some eye poppers as well. Resistance: Fall of Man was a launch title that did not live up to its own hype, however, Resistance 2, set to come out in October of this year, looked just as stunning as it was fun. The folks at Insomniac games have outdone themselves by creating a totally expansive world and villains unlike you have ever seen. The most interesting part of Sony’s conference though, was the announcement of MAG. An acronym for Massive Action Game, MAG boasts a new shooter play style unlike anything we have ever seen. Because of the PS3’s unparalleled hardware, they are able to create a war game so massive, it can be played as an ongoing battle that each user can sign in and out of. Imagine Call Of Duty, except with vehicles and the ability to level up your character as if he were in an RPG. Now you enter the fray in battle groups of 8, but are part of a 256 man army! Never before on any platform have so many players been in the same shooter game at once. A feat only capable of the PS3.
I will spare you the boring details of Nintendo’s conference as it sparked nothing in my mind as interesting. I do however want to come to my next point. Vivendi. As you may or may not know, Vivendi games has a couple subsidiaries. Blizzard and Activision. Blizzard as you know, is the proud creator of the most successful and popular RTS franchise of all time, Starcraft. They are also the creators of one of the most popular RPG’s of all time, Diablo. And they currently have the number one MMORPG with over ten million subscribers worldwide, World of Warcraft. With their merger with Activision, they only grow stronger. Activision is creator of the Guitar Hero Franchise, Call Of Duty, All Marvel Comic games, and are drowning the market. Call Of Duty has successfully drowned out other WWII franchises such as Medal Of Honor, and Battlefield. They are the most prominent WWII shooter available. Guitar Hero has only one real competitor, Rock Band. But if you ask me the instruments and the gameplay of Rock Band is nothing compared to Guitar Hero which has not only better mechanics, but a longer and more rich history. Invest in Vivendi, if you ave the dough. They are taking ove the gaming world, one step at a time.
That is all I have for now, but I will be back soon with my take on The Dark Knight. Remember, for full press conferences from all the major game creators, visit www.g4tv.com and get all the info on the biggest event in video games all year. Until next time, do your chewing in the sewer!