E3 – that's Electronic Entertainment Expo for those of you not familiar with the acronym – has opened in Los Angeles. ABCNews.com checked in with Scott Steinberg , lead analyst for the video game consulting firm TechSavvy (www.toptechexpert.com) and host of online video series Game Theory (www.gametheoryonline.com), who's at the convention.
What do you think of Nintendo's new video game system, the sequel to the bestselling Wii?
It's a fascinating system in keeping with Nintendo's heritage of innovation, but it appears to be more of an evolutionary rather than revolutionary step.
Although it has some compelling applications and a new touchscreen controller – and adding HD video is certainly a smart upgrade -- it's going to be several months, if not years, before developers fully come to grips with the technology and new game-play possibilities it offers. And despite a number of key title announcements (Kid Icarus, for one), it still remains to be seen whether or not Nintendo can make a compelling case for hardcore as well as casual gamers. They've yet to trot out marquis, must-see titles.
I don't' think they're going to offend anyone with this one or lose the core base of casual fans that help make the Wii a bestseller, but I've yet to see anything that's blowing hardcore players' minds.
What is Microsoft trying to accomplish with the Xbox? Does it make Kinect more important than it was? And can their strategy work?
Microsoft hopes to make Xbox a larger home entertainment brand, as opposed to typecasting it to the gaming world. While it won't abandon blockbuster gaming (Halo 4, Gears of War 3 or Forza Motorsport 4), the company is placing growing importance on forming strategic partnerships with content providers such as YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Vudu and TV/film studios.
The ability to search for and call up thousands of videos through Bing clearly reflects this strategy. Coupled with new Kinect video and hands-free motion sensing controls and live streaming video programs with augmented reality features, it's a strategy that may pay off in spades.
The company is also smartly focusing on introducing Kinect gesture-tracking support and speech recognition features to more core gaming experiences, such as fantasy role-player Fable: The Journey, Mass Effect 3 and Kinect Star Wars. While this is largely a stopgap year, as designers come to grips with benefits the hardware offers, these titles paint a broader picture of the benefits Kinect offers longtime gaming enthusiasts.
What about Sony's plans to double down on 3D, and roll out the high-powered PlayStation Vita handheld – can they work?
It looks to be business as usual for the global electronics giant. Sony's trotting out a number of software titles that make a convincing case for the PlayStation 3's more powerful hardware and Blu-ray capabilities (Uncharted 3 and infamous 2). It's also reaffirming its commitment to 3D – not a surprising move, given the worldwide investment in 3DTV sets, video cameras and supporting multimedia content. Nevertheless, that seems a pricey gamble.