E3

Originally written for eVent! [ep] magazine on 05/11/06.

It's E3 time folks. That's right the annual video game exposition and extravaganza is on right now. This is the time when the companies that develop the video game hardware show what is going to be coming out over the course of the next year, and the software companies behind the games themselves give us a peak at what we'll be playing so very soon. For us video game fans it's like being able to peak under the Christmas tree early, as what's revealed this week is what we're going to be lusting for. This year in particular is an important year for the expo, since both Nintendo and Sony have their next generation consoles coming out in the next year and Microsoft's XBox360 is not even half a year old and still has a few tricks up its sleeve.

So what are the big announcements from this year's E3? Well we're getting a few new details about the upcoming systems, such as a price for Sony's Playstation 3, as well as a look at a few of the games that are on their way into the stores.

Sony has been the king of video games for nearly a decade now, since it stole the crown from Nintendo with the Playstation. The Playstation 2 cemented Sony's dominance and even a late challenge by Microsoft's XBox, which in many ways was a better video game machine than the PS2, was not enough to unseat them as the King of the Consoles.

However Sony's been stumbling as of late as their next generation of video game machine the PS3 won't be out until the holiday season, a full year after Microsoft's XBox 360 and at this E3 when they released the price pretty much everyone who doesn't work for Sony moaned. The PS3 will retail for $599 American, and at least $100 more Canadian, which puts it well above the price of the XBox360, which when added to being released a full year later doesn't exactly give it a competitive edge. The price is being driven up by the Blu-ray drive, which is one of two options for the next generation of DVD.

Both Sony and Microsoft, who have their own next generation DVD player coming out as they're aiming to release an add-on for the XBox360 that allows the machine to play HD-DVDs, are aiming their video game machines to be the nexus of your home entertainment system. Whether you're watching the latest movies in Blu-ray or HD-DVD, steaming movies, pictures and music off of your home computer through Wi-Fi, or playing the latest video games with your friend Yang in China over the internet, both companies want to be the ones that you think of when you think fun.

Nintendo however is going a completely different route. The company recently renamed its next generation console Wii (pronounced "We") from Revolution to better appeal to a non-gamer audience. The Wii is expected to sell for about $150 American, significantly less than either the XBox 360 or the PS3, and will not feature any sort of movie viewing options, nor will it make you breakfast in bed. It will however be one of the most unique game playing experiences ever, if early signs are any indication. Nintendo has had great success attracting non-traditional game playing fans, such as girls and adults, to their Nintendo DS by offering games like Nintendo Dogs, which allow players to pet, walk and train virtual dogs. This strategy will continue on the Wii which is going to feature fun and accessible games alongside the Nintendo classics like Mario and Zelda.

Nintendo has also possibly redesigned how we look at video game controllers with a wireless control with motion sensors in that will allow you to control the game by moving the controller physically as well as pushing buttons. One example is a tennis game where swinging the Wii's controller like a tennis racket will allow you to return a serve.

This E3 is where everyone is making their claim that you must own their newest, latest and greatest video game system. Microsoft has had trouble getting enough XBox360s into stores, but that seems to have cleared up now. Very few people are going to be able to afford, or even want, to buy all three new systems so this is where everyone is making their pitch that you should buy their games. Whether you buy a 360 now, wait for the PS3, or even grab one of the decently priced Wii systems when they hit the streets, is up to you but they're all worth checking out.