E3: Technology of Tomorrow
Jocks. Nerds. Thespians. These are terms used to describe and associate ourselves with one another based on our personal points of interest. For each demographic, there has always been a singular event that stands as the pinnacle for each faction. Athletes have the Superbowl. Cosplayers have Comic-Con. For techies, that event is E3.
The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) began in 1995 and was co-founded by the International Data Group and the Interactive Digital Software Association (now the Entertainment Software Association, ESA). Conceived by the IDG’s Infotainment World, the original E3 was meant to be a trade show for gaming companies that would be open for the public. Taking place in Los Angeles, California, the event ran from May 11 through May 13 and became one of the largest trade show launches to date with over 80,000 attendees. During its three-day run, it housed several prominent gaming companies and executives, including Sega of America CEO Thomas Kalinske and Nintendo chairman Howard Lincoln. Since its inception, E3 has become an annual event in which the biggest names in gaming compete with one another to bring gamers not just the next big gaming franchise, but also the next great revolution in gaming technology, with companies like Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft spearheading the charge.
For Nintendo, they have always maintained a philosophy of innovation over pushing graphical boundaries with their consoles and they look to continue that trend with the WiiU. Announced at E3 2011 and demoed at this year’s E3, the WiiU is the first of the new wave of gaming consoles set to revolutionize gaming through the use of a tablet controller. Though it has drawn criticism from some critics and gamers for not being “graphically on par” with current generation systems, it has received near universal praise for the new gameplay applications that the tablet has provided, including dual screen gaming and gyroscopic controls.
To combat the WiiU, Microsoft responded with the unveiling of Smartglass, a companion app for tablet and mobile devices. Smartglass is designed to allow Xbox 360 owners to control their console using their tablet/Smartphone device by linking them together. Though originally a gaming console, the Xbox 360 has been transforming over the years into an all-around entertainment hub used for accessing the internet, performing web chats and watching television programming through applications like Netflix and HBO Go. With Smartglass, Microsoft hopes to revolutionize gaming consoles by bringing greater interactivity to gamers through their personal Smart devices.
Whereas Nintendo and Microsoft are looking to the future of tablet gaming and greater interactivity, Sony is delving into new waters with its fascinating new device Wonderbook. A unique amalgamation of reading and gaming, Wonderbook utilizes augmented reality technology coupled with the Playstation motion control system to bring the world of a novel to life. To help jumpstart their device Sony has enlisted the help of companies like Disney, Moonbot Studios and the BBC to craft stories specifically for Wonderbook, with the first title to be published, Book of Spells, being written by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling. Though rather unorthodox, Sony hopes to find success through the combination of these two mediums and introduce new and engrossing storytelling to both children and adults.
Over the past 17 years, E3 has grown from its humble beginnings in Los Angeles into one of the biggest technology events in the world. Though there are some who see E3 as merely a time for gamers to check out the latest video games and franchises, it has evolved into something that people of all demographics should follow. From motion control to storytelling gaming, video game developers continue to provide some of the most innovative uses of technology today; technology that isn’t limited to just a gaming console but in fact demands that it be shared with other mediums. And it all starts at E3.