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E3: More Than Xbox One, PlayStation 4

12 Jun, 2013 By: Chris Tribbey

LOS ANGELES — Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4 dominated both the news and the show floor June 11 during the opening day of the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3).

Microsoft had already announced June 10 that its next-generation console would be out in November with a price point of $499. The Xbox One will include a 500 GB hard drive, a Blu-ray Disc drive, built-in WiFi, the new Kinect motion and voice control system, a wireless controller and a 14-day trial of Xbox Live Gold.

A Microsoft spokesman showed off the Xbox One — capable of doing everything from tracking asteroids in the solar system to recognizing a user’s heart rate — and promised live TV and “a ton” of available applications when it comes to market, including Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus and more. The Xbox One can also connect with cable boxes.

Not to be outdone, Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) showed off its rival console the PlayStation 4, priced at $399, undercutting the Xbox One retail price by a $100. That Blu-ray system — also featuring a 500 GB hard drive — will also be available before Christmas.

The PS4 boasts second-screen capabilities with Android and Apple devices and remote play with the PlayStation Vita portable gaming device. Its PlayStation Eye camera and Move controller add-ons will be sold separately.

A SCEA spokeswoman confirmed that Warner-owned Flixster, Redbox Instant, Netflix and Hulu Plus would be among the many video applications available on the system at launch.

Microsoft has confirmed that its new system will allow downloaded games and purchased discs to be played via the cloud on any system. But access to games will require owners to have a broadband connection, something the PS4 does not require. Xbox One users will need to connect online once every 24 hours to play games.

While Xbox One and PlayStation 4 earned most of the E3 spotlight, other companies made home entertainment waves at the show:

Nintendo Partners with Best Buy

Having launched its next-gen Wii U system in November 2012, Nintendo wasn’t involved in the E3 console battle, using the event to announce key titles for the system in 2014 (including Super Mario 3D World, Donkey Kong Country Returns: Tropical Freeze, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD and Mario Kart 8).

“There’s one fundamental truth in the video game industry: Software sells hardware,” said Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America’s president and COO. “That was true with Wii and Nintendo DS. It’s starting to happen with Nintendo 3DS and [it] will be on display this summer and holiday season with Wii U. When gamers are making their purchasing decisions this year, they’re going to find that the games and experiences they want are either unique or entirely exclusive to a Nintendo platform.”

Nintendo has partnered with Best Buy to offer exclusive, playable demos of its latest games at the retailer’s stores, long before they’re available for purchase.

LG Electronics and Cloud Gaming

Consumer electronics company LG Electronics announced it has partnered with gaming company Ubitus, Inc. to offer a cloud gaming experience on 2013 LG connected TVs in the U.S. Street Fighter X Tekken and Batman: Arkham City are among the games available during the beta launch with the service.

“LG is constantly striving to bring consumers the best home entertainment experience possible directly through LG Smart TVs,” said Richard Choi, SVP of the LG Electronics smart business center. “By utilizing GameNow gaming technology powered by Ubitus in our latest Smart TV lineup, our customers can enjoy blockbuster video games on demand without purchasing a dedicated gaming console.”

LG is currently offering a free trial of the service, and a full consumer launch is expected by the end of the year.

“We believe consumers will be amazed at how effortless it is to enjoy console-quality games directly and instantly on their LG Smart TVs,” said Ubitus CEO Wesley Kuo. “Select, click and ready to play, just like the way they've been enjoying video-on-demand services.”

Sony DADC Launches Games Services Division

Sony DADC’s New Media Solutions division announced prior to E3 that it’s launching a new digital games supply chain and distribution division, titled GENBA.

The division aims to help gaming publishers and retailers “store, manage, deliver and monetize gaming content to any location worldwide,” and will help “reduce operational overhead, protect brand intellectual property, simplify the delivery of content to market, and provide the control and insight needed to capitalize on expanded market opportunities.”

“The tremendous growth and popularity of digital gaming has created vast opportunities for publishers and retailers, but has also contributed to the complexity and inefficiency of the industry’s distribution ecosystem,” said Andreas Riegler, SVP of Sony DADC New Media Solutions’ creative services division. “With GENBA, Sony DADC has applied our proven technological innovation and media supply chain expertise to create a scalable and secure distribution platform that today’s game industry needs.”

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