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Expo Showcases New Video Games, Consoles

Nearly 50,000 game developers, retailers and enthusiasts gathered recently in Los Angeles to try out the newest video games and consoles.

There were new games and new versions of established games, with lots of animated action and some epic battles.

Thousands came to the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo, better known as E3, to try them out.

FIFA 12, the latest version of a video soccer game, promises realistic action when it is released later this year.

And there are games that make you want to dance.

And games that make you want to hit a winner.

But competition comes from online games, some offered for free, and game makers are increasingly moving to the Internet, says analyst Chris Antista.

"What they're making exclusive are the downloadable games on their networks, the ones that they host, and so I think they're going to gravitate over towards that because that's where their expertise has to go," Antista said.

Industry sales have sagged during the current economic downturn, and Microsoft, Nintendo and other console makers are coping with competition from independent developers that create games for computers, tablets and mobile phones. Some manufacturers have lowered their prices in response to the tough market.

But online and offline games are coming together. Nintendo's Wii is one of the consoles that lets players connect with each other over the Internet, and the upcoming Wii U will do the same. It can be played on a handheld console, as well as a TV set, and will have access to new games, says Nintendo's Jeff Pawlik.

"This is actually still in concept phase, so we haven't designed any games particularly for the Nintendo Wii U yet, but it will be able to be backwards-compatible with any Nintendo game for the Wii or GameCube," Pawlik said.

The video game industry is facing a lot of challenges: demanding consumers, a glut of exciting new games and battling software pirates.

It is a tough business climate, but for hard-core gamers, the action is better than ever.