News / Science & Technology

Good Times Roll at E3 Videogame Trade Show

Show attendees play video games on the PlayStation 4 at the Sony booth during the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, June 13, 2013.
Show attendees play video games on the PlayStation 4 at the Sony booth during the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, June 13, 2013.
Reuters
Few first-time participants at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles this week would have realized that the $66 billion videogames industry is in steep decline.

Microsoft Corp, Sony Corp, Electronic Arts and other industry giants whipped up the crowd of gamers and developers at the event into a frenzy, with displays of high-powered new consoles and previews of popular genre games.

For an industry accustomed to dwindling revenue in recent years, the pervasive visual pyrotechnics offered something to look forward to after years of subsisting on franchise-oriented games such as "Call of Duty" and "Halo" that run off aging technology.

This fall will usher in the Xbox One and Sony PlayStation 4, which apart from being more powerful than their predecessors, now support cloud-based game play and mobile integration.It remains to be seen whether these will avoid the fate ofNintendo Co Ltd's Wii U, whose disappointing sales since its late 2012 launch have forced the Japanese company to sharply curtail revenue forecasts.

The Xbox One will sell for $499 and the PlayStation 4 for $399 - a hefty bit of change in an era when free-to-play Internet and smartphone games from "Angry Birds" to "Clash of Clans" are attracting budget-conscious gamers and millions in investment."

The graphics capabilities of console games are going through the roof, but mobile games are becoming more and more sophisticated too," said Mike Cuff, vice president of content at Wikipad, which launched a portable gaming tablet at E3.
 
Rectal software designer Julian Kantor (L) takes a picture of Jonathan Feng (R) as he uses the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset to experience his program during E3 in Los Angeles, California June 12, 2013.
Rectal software designer Julian Kantor (L) takes a picture of Jonathan Feng (R) as he uses the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset to experience his program during E3 in Los Angeles, California June 12, 2013.


At this year's E3, which will end late on Thursday, the debate raged around how Microsoft and Sony will treat used games, a segment that is growing quickly because the Facebook and iPhone generation seem to be moving away from the traditional practice of shelling out for newly released, highly marketed franchise titles.

"Sony and Microsoft still have work to do in order to convince a broad consumer base that they need to spend $400 or $500 on new hardware, in addition to $60 for each new piece of software," R.W. Baird analyst Colin Sebastian said. "There doesn't seem to be as clear a reason to upgrade compared to prior cycles, which introduced DVDs, 3D and HD to consumers."

Mixed feelings

According to industry tracker NPD, sales of videogame hardware and software have fallen every month, on a year-on-year basis, since January 2012.

Still, industry executives were encouraged by the enthusiastic response they received at E3."There's been a lot of confusion about, 'Hey, with the riseof tablets and phone games does that have some impact on consoles?' Not at all," said Yusuf Mehdi, senior vice president of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business. "All that's doing is bringing more people to the world of gaming."

The high level of excitement at the convention, driven by the faceoff between the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, was the noticeable difference from last year, said Keza MacDonald,  editor at games news site IGN.com.

Developers fed off that excitement by showing off what they envisioned as franchises in the making.
 
EA unveiled Titanfallwith mech-style soldiers and robots, a project led by Vince Zampella, a co-creator of Activision Blizzard's "Call of Duty." Ubisoft Entertainment SA announced "Tom Clancy's: The Division," a role-playing shooter revolving round a pandemic that breaks out in New York on Black Friday.

"The good news is, we entered the show thinking, 'Why do weneed consoles anymore?' We're leaving the show with, 'Which one would you like to buy?'" said Peter Moore, EA's COO. "That's a win for the industry coming in here."New hardware and software will boost the video game industry's growth in 2014, Ubisoft Entertainment SA Chief Executive Officer Yves Guillemot said.

Still, questions remain over how long the good vibes will last or whether the crowd at E3 is representative of a much broader swathe of casual and mobile game players out there.

"In the near term, we see pent-up demand among core gamers for new hardware and software, which should deliver a strong launch," R.W. Baird's Sebastian said. "Beyond that, we still need more visibility that Sony and Microsoft can safely avoid a stallout like what is currently plaguing the Wii U.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama, Modi Break Nuclear Deal Deadlock

Impasse over liability issues had been stalling bilateral civilian nuclear cooperation; deal reached at start of US president's three-day visit to India More

WHO's Late Efforts in Tackling Ebola Highlight Need for Reform

Health experts debate measures to reform agency’s response to global public health emergencies in special one-day session on deadly outbreak More

One Tumultuous Year in Power for CAR's President

As sectarian violence raged across Central African Republic, interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has Herculean task: to end civil war and put country back on right track More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid