A Few Highlights From E3 2013

It’s been a big week in the industry, and as I write this, I just completed Day One of the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). It was fun yet exhausting as heck, because now I’m experiencing video game overload. Yes, I saw and played with the much-anticipated Xbox One and PlayStation 4 (PS4) next generation consoles, as well as a plethora of not-yet-released Nintendo Wii U titles. Of course, there’s not enough room in this column to cover all of E3, so the following are the highlights, with more to come soon.

Xbox One The basic information on Microsoft’s Xbox One was released a few weeks ago, now the juicy details were released about the hardware, software and games that fuel this next-gen experience. Plus, there’s a redesigned Xbox 360 that looks similar to the One. The price will be $499 and it will release in November, just in time for the holidays.

Also, just to clarify from my previous column about the Xbox One, unfortunately it will not be backward compatible – sorry to all those who wrote in about that. I was given false information. I verified the details with multiple Microsoft reps when I arrived at E3.

The quick rundown: The One is equivalent to 10 Xbox 360s combined into one machine. It uses an upgraded Kinect sensor to grasp your movements, including your leaning. You can watch live TV while multitasking with your game, etc. With the SmartGlass for Xbox One app, using the Surface tablet, real-time info can be streamed to the player on the second screen.

In addition, Xbox Live will switch to local currencies and ditch Microsoft Points; Project Spark lets you build your own game worlds with Kinect voice control and SmartGlass; Xbox Live will offer two free games per month beginning in July (includes Halo 3 and Assassin’s Creed); Killer Instinct returned as Xbox One exclusive title; and last but not least, the next-gen Halo was announced and will be available in 2014. Whew! And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

PS4 As you may recall, the initial details surrounding the PS4 were released in February. Some of the blanks are now filled in. For starters, the price will be $399, and it will be released later this year, just in time for the holidays (no exact date or month yet). In a way, it is undercutting the Xbox One by $100. Note the PS4 will not ship with the $59 PlayStation Eye accessory (similar to the Kinect), whereas the Xbox One does ship with the new Kinect.

Additionally, Sony showcased its first and third party content for the PS4, PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 3, and a next-generation PlayStation Plus membership program. Some PS4 debut titles include: Transistor by Super Giant, Don’t Starve by Klei Entertainment, Mercenary Kings by Tribute Games, Octodad: Deadliest Catch by Young Horses, Secret Ponchos by SwitchBlade Monkeys, Outlast by Red Barrels, Oddworld: New N Tasty by Oddworld Inhabitants and Galak-Z by 17-bit.

You can preorder your PS4 now at your nearest GameStop or Amazon.com. Unfortunately, it will not be backward compatible, so hang onto your PS3s for awhile. I wish I could bring a PS4 home with me from E3, but no such luck. I’ll have to wait with the rest of the world.

Nintendo Wii U Titles

The announcements from Nintendo weren’t as grand as Microsoft and Sony, but they didn’t sit this E3 out – there are some amazing titles in store for us. As you may recall, the Nintendo Wii U has been out since November 2012.

Here are some games to look for soon: Super Mario 3D World, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Bayonetta 2, Mario Kart 8, The Wonderful 101, Wii Party U, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Wii Fit U. clickchick@ outlook.com