Archive: Off Screen

E3 in Today's Print Post: Sunday

What Press Pass? At E3, a Convergence of Card-Carrying Bloggers by Jose Antonio Vargas...

By Bob Greiner | May 14, 2006; 10:27 AM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Final Thoughts

The final numbers are in and 60,000 people attended this year's show. It was crowded, but it definitely didn't seem as crowded as last year, which had over 70,000 attendees. You couldn't walk from booth to booth in the South Hall last year. I think one thing that's changed in that time is the accessibility of the show floor to consumers via the Internet. E3Insider.com attracted 1.5 million consumer visits over the three days. You can get all of the press conference videos on that site. And that's just one site. Gamespot.com, IGN.com, Gametrailers.com, MTV.com, G4TV.com and others were streaming...

By Bob Greiner | May 12, 2006; 06:55 PM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Waiting to Play Wii

The line at the Nintendo area is the longest in this whole hall. When I walked around it, I felt like I was running the mile. I talked to two guys toward the end of the line -- Kevin Dowell, 19, and Paul Pao, 20, both students at USC. They had been waiting about 10 minutes when they were told they would have to be in line for two hours. They didn't budge. "That's the only thing I want to do," said Dowell, referring to trying out the Wii. Which game? "Zelda," said Pao. "Ditto," said Dowell. I'm writing a...

By Bob Greiner | May 12, 2006; 04:05 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Shhh, It's Getting Loud In Here....

Scott Steinberg, Sega's vice president of entertainment marketing, said he had to call conference security to get the folks in the neighboring NCSoft booth to quiet down, as per new E3 rules requiring that booths keep the decibels down. "I think there's a rule," he said. "The less good your games are, the louder your booth is." Steinberg said Sega is betting on all the upcoming platforms. His expectation is that Sony will win its duel with Microsoft again, but that Microsoft will "close the gap." He said that Nintendo is the wild card-- and could wind up anywhere from...

By Alicia Cypress | May 12, 2006; 04:04 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Is Will a No Show?

Ran into Will Wright five minutes ago, the world's most famous game designer, a guy who has made zillions of dollars for game publisher Electronic Arts. Wright, looking exhausted and panicky, was trying to find lunch in the 27 minutes he had till the next showing of his upcoming game Spore. Evidently the guy has to hunt down his own eats... How do you like the show Will? "I haven't seen any of it," he said, running off. "Not a bit." -- Mike Musgrove...

By Alicia Cypress | May 12, 2006; 03:55 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Microsoft Everywhere

Spent a lot of time in the Microsoft booth ... Talked to Todd Holmdahl, corporate vice president for the Xbox and gaming platform group. He showed me an app that could be a key for Microsoft when it takes on PS3 later this year. Holmdahl typed in my Xbox Live gamer tag on his cell phone, then when he added me to his friends list, he was able to look up all my scores on all the games I play on the network. They were completely accurate. "I see you're level 17 in Oblivion now," Holmdahl told me. (It was...

By Bob Greiner | May 12, 2006; 03:38 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Mobile Game Outlook

Mobile gaming is a growing business, but E3 is not the best venue for those games. There are game makers and carriers at the show, but many of them are hidden away in Kentia Hall. CTIA, which happens twice a year, is the show for everything mobile, so a lot of the big mobile game publishers use that venue for games. More game publishers like Tecmo, Capcom, EA and THQ do show their mobile games at their E3 booths. These days, just about every major publisher has a mobile component. Nokia held a big news conference Tuesday focusing on its...

By Bob Greiner | May 12, 2006; 01:11 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Hearing the Buzz

Sometimes it pays to just sit down for a few minutes in an area and listen to the buzz. I was at the "Into the Pixel" art exhibit (they have comfortable chairs) and I heard some people talking about the show as it closed for the day Thursday. One of the guys was saying that he doesn't know anyone that would pay $600 for a PlayStation 3 -- or any game console. He also said there wasn't any game on PS3 that really stood out from Xbox 360 games. He said that while Heavenly Sword looked good, the fighting mechanics...

By Bob Greiner | May 12, 2006; 12:34 PM ET | Comments (26) | TrackBack (0)

E3 in Today's Print Post: Friday

Pixels Put on a Par With Paintings: Video Games Show Off Their Artistic Side in Exhibitions by Jose Antonio Vargas Narrated gallery of images from the "Into the Pixel" exhibit Gallery of wire photos from E3...

By Bob Greiner | May 12, 2006; 11:57 AM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Heading Into Day 3

My main goal today is to stay upright and conscious. I have two high-profile meetings today -- one with Activision where I'm assuming they will probably show me and maybe let me play Call of Duty 3, then another appointment with Microsoft. I'd like to get their take on the 360 and the Wii, and everything being shown on the show floor today. Microsoft has been pretty quiet this year, but then again, when you think about it, they're the only company that has a working next-generation console. I did see some games on the show floor -- such as...

By Bob Greiner | May 12, 2006; 11:10 AM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Random Bits

I love the language of the video game industry sometimes. NCSoft is showing off its latest game. "We're going to shut off the god mode and show you death," says the game's producer, who was going hoarse, like everybody else, by the end of Day Two. ================ Most years, you get ringing ears about 20 minutes after walking into the South Hall. Call it the Electronic Arts "IT'S IN THE GAME!" headache. This year, the show's organizers were able to coerce the booths into keeping their volumes at a little more of a reasonable volume. Thank goodness. ================ Asked Richard...

By Bob Greiner | May 12, 2006; 10:04 AM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Reflections on Celebrity

While Xbox Live had Jenny McCarthy, the band Panic Member and Method Man come by their booths at E3 this year, it seemed like there were less celebrity appearances this year from game companies. Paris Hilton isn't really "technically" a celebrity, yet she drew a crowd at the Gameloft booth on Thursday. Original Batman Adam West was at 2K Games' booth Thursday to promote the Family Guy game. Although he's a very nice guy, he's not exactly A-list. In years past, I remember actors like Vin Diesel drawing huge crowds at E3. Speaking of Diesel, I saw the game trailer...

By Kyle Balluck | May 12, 2006; 12:03 AM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Atari's Chief Surfer

Atari chief executive Bruno Bonnell said the Xbox 360 is a "super telephone," the PlayStation 3 a "muscle car" and the Nintendo Wii a "wonderful toy." The company is in difficult financial times, and there is no surefire hit in sight for these guys. But it had the most pleasant place to hang out at the show, a dimly lit space off the show floor decorated to look like a Moroccan marketplace -- I was told this theme was a symbol of the company's plan to get "back to the basics," though I still don't quite get it. Conversations with...

By Bob Greiner | May 11, 2006; 10:13 PM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

The Paris Event

Throngs gather near the Gameloft booth to get a glimpse of Paris Hilton. (Chris Barylick for washingtonpost.com) So, I just came from the Paris Hilton appearance on the show floor. Amid a crush of reporters, photographers and fans, she emerged in a green dress to sign autographed cards for her upcoming mobile game from Gameloft, alternatively reported in the media as either "Paris Hilton's Jewel Jam" or "Paris Hilton's Jewel Case." In the short greeting she spoke to the audience, she thanked them for coming out to support "Diamond Quest" and sat down at the table to begin signing...

By Kyle Balluck | May 11, 2006; 08:30 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Console Comparisons

I've gotten a lot of looks at the PS3 this week ... When Xbox launched in 2001, a year after the PS2, there was a definite differentiation between the graphics. As far as the PS3 visuals i'm seeing now, while they are great next-generation visuals, they are about on par with the Xbox 360. The games I've seen on both platforms look pretty much identical. There's no big leap between Xbox and PS3 -- other than the $200 higher price point. The real differntiator is going to be what exclusive content each one can get on the game side, as...

By Bob Greiner | May 11, 2006; 04:50 PM ET | Comments (26) | TrackBack (0)

Waiting for Paris -- or Not

Happened to be over by the booth for French mobile game maker Gameloft, which has a Paris Hilton jewel game. The PR people were going crazy wondering whether she would show up on time. In the queue for getting a picture taken -- Hilton's scheduled appearance was about a half hour away -- there were only three people in line. -- John Gaudiosi...

By Bob Greiner | May 11, 2006; 03:52 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Nintendo Chatter

So Nintendo has offered something strange -- and it might actually work. So far, feedback on its wireless controller and directional "nunchuk" has ben overwhelmingly positive. The controller feels comfortable in almost any hand and can be turned sideways as a more traditional controller, the rectangle in your grip harking back to Nintendo's old-school 8-bit days. While there's a learning curve to its use, the Wii's controller has an intuitive feel to it. Swing a virtual racket in a tennis game and the force of the on-screen swing feels realistic, the player neither over- or undercompensating for the controller. Sensitivity,...

By Bob Greiner | May 11, 2006; 12:49 PM ET | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Vargas Web Chat

Blog contributor and Post Style staff writer Jose Antonio Vargas, whose profile of enigmatic Electronic Software Association head Doug Lowenstein appears in the paper today, will take reader questions at 2 p.m. ET (11 a.m. PT). You can submit questions in advance, or read the transcript after the chat....

By Bob Greiner | May 11, 2006; 09:44 AM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

E3 in Today's Print Post: Thursday

Shadow Player: The Face of the Video Game Industry Steps Into the Spotlight at Electronic Entertainment Expo by Jose Antonio Vargas (Here is an audio clip from Jose's interview with ESA head Doug Lowenstein.) At Expo, Games Are Played and Opinions Aired by Mike Musgrove...

By Bob Greiner | May 11, 2006; 09:41 AM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Study: Games Contributed $18 Billion to U.S. GDP

Think-tank report commissioned by ESA (summary here and PDF of full study here) looks at economic impact of the industry....

By Bob Greiner | May 10, 2006; 12:50 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

E3 in Today's Print Post: Wednesday

Nintendo Offers a Peek at System: Firm Prices Wii Console to Attract New Fans, Undercut Rivals Also, here's a link to the text of ESA chief Douglas Lowenstein's State of the Industry address and the ESA's "Essential Facts" presentation (PDF download)....

By Bob Greiner | May 10, 2006; 12:37 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Great Ad for Army Game

The U.S. Army is here again, with one of the coolest ads I've ever seen, for the game America's Army: A picture of a soldier in a combat zone with the text: "No Actors. No Costumes. No Cheat Codes." A lot of people are stopping to look at it -- very compelling. -- John Breeden II...

By Bob Greiner | May 10, 2006; 10:57 AM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

E3 in Today's Print Post

Where the Games Go To Compete: Developers Look to Score Points at Annual Expo by Mike Musgrove Coming to a Console Near You: Local firms and products being shown at E3 (D.C. area) News Graphic: What's the Real World Anyway?...

By Bob Greiner | May 9, 2006; 12:14 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Nintendo's Magic Wand?

No one knows what to make of this show other than the fact that it'll be significant. This isn't one of those times when everything revelatory is revealed; that was last year with the three new consoles. This is the year we fill in the gaps and find out more about Nintendo's and Sony's upcoming hardware and see more than initial prototypes. Nintendo seems to be offering a means of controlling a console that we've never seen before. The question, especially where the console's new wand controller has been mentioned, is how will this stick with a gaming audience? Has...

By Bob Greiner | May 8, 2006; 08:16 PM ET | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)

The Right Amount of Skin

The Super Shuttle on the way from LAX to the Wilshire Grand Hotel was filled with game industry guys. A couple of guys in the back lamented E3's new rules cracking down on "booth babes"-- the models that game companies hire and squeeze into skimpy outfits to attract attention to their products. This year, the trade group that puts on the show is fining any companies that cross the line. "It's a shame," said one. "It's a shame." The trade association didn't make the boundaries clear, so it seems like nobody really knows whether, say, Daisy Dukes are going to...

By Bob Greiner | May 8, 2006; 06:58 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Spago and Sony

How important is E3 to Los Angeles? Well, it brings in $19.35 million in direct spending to the local economy this week. Hint: hotel rooms. E3 is the largest annual convention in the city, and L.A.. Inc., the organization that touts tourism in the city, hosted a lavish lunch -- pan roasted halibut, chocolate grapin -- at the famed Spago in Beverly Hills for a small number of "MSM" journalists (i.e., Forbes, Time, Wall Street Journal, Detroit Free Press, The Post ... no bloggers allowed). It's the kind of place where Lamborghinis, Ferraris and Porsches are parked outside and Michael...

By Bob Greiner | May 8, 2006; 06:25 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

 

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