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E3 2008: Conference Rundown

Well, E3 officially began today, although Microsoft held their conference yesterday. We’ve had lots of news from all three companies, Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo, some great, and some lacklustre to say the least. We’ve heard news of the big titles coming this and next year, and more still to come in the following days.

Here is a rundown of the main points from the console makers.

Microsoft:

The Xbox 360 dashboard is changing completely to be more user friendly and innovative, as well as to move with the times. Avatars are going to join with your Gamercard, and there were hints of social networking playing a role with this new feature. An 8 player party system has been integrated into the dashboard, allowing chat, picture sharing, and party-to-game features.

Netflix users will be able to stream movies direct from Netflix to your TV via your Xbox 360, doubling the amount of movie content available on Xbox 360.

Installation of your games will be possible, allowing for shorter loading times and a quieter gaming experience.

Gears of War 2 release date confirmed for 7th November.

Fallout 3 DLC will be exclusive to Xbox 360, and Games for Windows.

60gb console announced.

Final Fantasy XIII will be released on Xbox 360 as well as Playstation 3.

Fable 2 will be released in October of this year.

Xbox Live Arcade is getting some new titles, including Geometry Wars 2, South Park, Portal: Still Alive, and Banjo Kazooie.

Nintendo:

New peripherals announced, including WiiSpeak, a microphone that the room of players can all chat into, and talk to another group of Wii gamers over the internet. Motion Plus, an add-on for the Wiimote allowing for more precise use, and making more refined wrist movements show in game.

New games for Wii include Wii Sports Resort, a sequel to Wii Sports but in more exotic locations, for things like beach volleyball, and jet ski racing. Call of Duty: World at War will have jump-in and out co-op in the campaign. A new music game called WiiMusic will use the existing Wiimote and Balance board to enable the playing of instruments for the game, Rock Band style, although it won’t be hit this note, and that note, you will just waggle and stamp, and button mash, and the game will make music for you.

For the DS Pokemon Ranger was confirmed for release on November 10th, but the big title is Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars for the DS. This game will be set in modern day Liberty City, and basically be a regular GTA game that we’re used to, only on a smaller screen, much like the “stories” branch off’s for PSP.

Nintendo’s mission is to put more smiles, on more people’s faces.

Sony:

Sony this year focussed on all three of their consoles currently on the market, announcing 130 new titles coming to the PS2 this year.

The video store on Playstation Network was announced, and will be released later tonight, offering movie titles from several studios including Sony Pictures, Disney, and Warner. Users have the ability to rent and buy most titles as well, with a variety of titles being offered in SD and HD. These can be downloaded and also copied to your PSP, either from the Playstation 3, or from PSN on your PC. You can hold your bought content on multiple platforms.

Playstation 3 is getting, to put it simply, a Gamertag system. Each user will have a single online identity, allowing them to access all of their content from anywhere in the world, not just their own PS3.

New titles were announced for PSN, including a sequel to Pain.

A new 80 GB Playstation 3 was announced for a September release, at $399, which will have the identical features of the 40GB model, only a bigger hardrive.

We were shown a sneak peak of God of War 3, with no announcement of release, and the same with Home. No release date for that, however gamers were promised that the wait for Home would be worth it.

A new game, MAG (Massive Action Game) was announced, brining massively multiplayer online gaming to the Playstation 3. It will boast 256 player battles, with 8 player squad units. Along side this, DC Universe Online was announced, an entirely new MMO being released for the Playstation 3 and PC. As the name suggests, it’s a DC comic game, Superman and Batman etc, where the player creates a hero or villain, and plays in the online DC world.

Trailers and gameplay for Resistance 2 were shown, as well as PSP titles, including a version of Resistance for Sony’s handheld. Also Little Big Planet had a showing, but no information about release was given.

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I think I’ve covered all that mattered. All three companies pulled off what they wanted, and there seemed to be an underlining theme for all as well; the growth of community, and the importance of party games such as Rock Band 2, Buzz, and WiiMusic.

Like I said at the beginning, some fans were disappointed by certain things being said/shown, or not shown for that matter. And the week isn’t over yet. Expect to see more from the games you’re looking forward to over the next few days, from sunny Los Angeles.

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