Game console makers, software publishers and service providers are previewing new offerings this week at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, including Nintendo's new controller for its next generation Wii U game platform that promises to redefine how users interact with the latest video game titles when the new console begins shipping during this year's holiday shopping season.
Featuring a 6.2-inch touchscreen and dual analog sticks, the Wii U GamePad controller has been designed to add an entirely new dynamic to Wii U gaming by providing multiple players with information, viewpoints, advantages and objectives that differ from what is displayed on the console's main screen. The new device also will integrate traditional buttons for gaming as well as the ability to function as a TV remote control.
The Wii U Gamepad's new asymmetric game play capabilities will be showcased in Nintendo Land. The new Wii U game is set in a virtual theme park with a dozen attractions inspired by fan-favorite Nintendo franchises such as The Legend of Zelda and Donkey Kong.
One of the Nintendo's big competitors, Microsoft, meanwhile, on Monday previewed its SmartGlass app for connecting PCs, media tablets and smartphones to the Xbox 360 console. And beginning this fall, Xbox users also will be able to browse the Web directly from their Xbox game consoles.
PlayStation's New Cross-Save Functionality
Given Microsoft's silence concerning the launch of its rumored next-generation Xbox 720 console, Sony is hoping to grow its base of PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita users through the launch of a swath of exclusive games that leverage the motion-control capabilities of its PlayStation Move motion controller. The new titles unveiled at E3 include LittleBigPlanet, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale and Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time.
Sly Cooper is the first game from Sony that enables seamless play on both the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita. The cross-save functionality built into the new game will enable players to save their progress on the main console and continue play from the same level while on the go with the PlayStation Vita.
On-demand Cloud Gaming
On Tuesday OnLive rolled out a major upgrade to its on-demand cloud gaming service that will enable game publishers to deliver their titles to the Web browsers of OnLive subscribers equipped with a PC or Mac. What's more, OnLive is demonstrating a new game streaming service on the next-generation LG Smart TV with Google TV that harnesses the power of LG's L9 dual-core processor to stream video games on-demand without requiring the use of a gaming console or PC.
To play games on LG's new TV, OnLive subscribers merely need to add the Universal OnLive Wireless Controller or use any other compatible game controller. When OnLive's new service eventually goes live it will deliver "a full console-class experience" without adding to the cost of next generation LG Smart TVs, said OnLive CEO Steve Perlman.
Social Mobile Apps
This year's E3 trade show is also giving smaller software companies an opportunity to give attendees sneak previews of their own game titles, social mobile apps and gaming accessories. For example,
the object of Freeze Tag's new Party Animals game for smartphones and tablets is to 'build' a fun party for your friends, said Freeze Tag Chief Creative Officer Craig Holland.
"There are literally hundreds of different ways to customize your party and share ideas with your friends, all in a whimsical cartoon world," Holland said.