GamesBeat

VentureBeat’s photo gallery captures the noise of E3 2011 (part 1)

The only thing bad about an E3 photo gallery is that you can’t hear the sounds. E3, the video game industry’s trade show, is an extremely loud trade show, with game exhibitors blasting sounds as much as they can to draw attention to their games. The convention drew an estimated 45,000 people to Los Angeles this week. We were there from the first parties to the last. We saw many of the 35,000 screens showing off new games. Here’s the show in pictures.

Don Mattrick, head of Microsoft’s games business, opened the Xbox 360 press conference. He disappointed the crowd since he didn’t mention a successor console to the Xbox 360. He also didn’t announce a rumored virtual cable TV channel on Xbox Live. But he did deliver on Halo 4, which leaked out thanks to Microsoft’s own web site foibles.

Cliff “Cliffyb” Bleszinski, design director at Epic Games, needed more firepower to demo Gears of War 3 on stage at Microsoft’s event. So he brought out rapper/actor Ice T to blow up a giant boss monster.

At Electronic Arts’ press conference, EA chief executive John Riccitiello joked that he didn’t need to bring out celebrities on stage to introduce games. Then EA proceeded to invite star athletes on stage to introduce the new Madden NFL football game.

The battle of the blockbuster shooter games is underway. Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 debuts on Nov. 8. Activision Blizzard has made sure that just about every gamer in the world knows that with its advertising blitz and a game play debut at Microsoft’s press conference.
Not to be outdone, Riccitiello announced that Battlefield 3, EA’s rival game to Modern Warfare 3, will debut on October 25, a couple of weeks before. May the best shooter win.
The Los Angeles convention center was chock full of people attending E3. But there’s a chance that E3 might leave Los Angeles and head to Las Vegas. Talks are underway for LA to keep the show, which fills 25,000 hotel rooms and generates $25 million on restaurant, taxi, hotel and temp spending.

Yves Guillemot, CEO of Ubisoft, introduced his company’s press conference with a tribute to the French game publisher’s 25th year in business. Ubisoft showed off a wide array of potential blockbusters: Assassin’s Creed Revelations, Far Cry 3, Just Dance 3, Rocksmith, Brothers in Arms Furious Four, Ghost Recon Online and Ghost Recon Future Soldier.

RockStar Games didn’t show up with any new titles. But Take-Two Interactive (the parent company) did show off Duke Nukem Forever, which took forever to develop but is debuting next week. For real.
Jack Tretton, president of Sony Computer Entertainment America, must have felt small on stage as he apologized for the long outage of the PlayStation Network, which was brought low by a hacker attack. But he said that users are coming back thanks to incentives and that Sony is grateful for its loyal fans and wants to earn their trust back.

Victor Kislyi, chief executive of Wargaming.net, has a lot to smile about. After 15 years of making games — and many mistakes along the way — Kislyi says that World of Tanks is a huge hit with more than 3.5 million monthly active users. The game recently launched in the West and has outstanding graphics. In the massively multiplayer online game, you build your own custom, tricked-out tank and do battle online.
Microsoft showed off Forza Motorsport 4, which works with a full steering cockpit and three monitors.
Shigeru Miyamoto, the legendary game designer at Nintendo, showed off The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword for the Wii. That title may be his last major game for the Wii before going to work on games for the Wii U. Skyward Sword ships this fall. Nintendo showed a “concept prototype” of what Zelda would look like on a Wii U, but it said that was not a demo of an actual game. Next week, the Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time ships on the handheld 3DS.

Stormtroopers prefer escalators. These folks were promoting Star Wars: The Old Republic, the new massively multiplayer online game launching this year. BioWare is developing the game, which is pretty much a sci-fi version of World of Warcraft. We’ll see if it has the quality to snag a huge audience.

E3 continues to be one of the last trade shows with barbarian marketing tactics. Booth babes a plenty were selling the latest video games. These gals were promoting Margaritaville Online, a Jimmy Buffett online game for Facebook, uh, alcoholics. Just kidding. It debuts this fall and is being developed by Exploding Barrel Games.

Cute kids are also a good marketing vehicle at E3. These kids showed off Disneyland Adventures, a Kinect motion-sensing game that lets you fly through the air like Peter Pan.
Chris Taylor, the creative director at Gas Powered Games, will stop at nothing to hawk his games. Here he is, promoting Age of Empires Online, which Gas Powered is developing as a free-to-play online game.

Marc Whitten of Microsoft showed off the latest Xbox Live features, including the ability to access millions of user-generated videos on YouTube. You can also use Bing Search to find movies with voice commands recognized by the Kinect motion sensor.

Bethesda Softworks showed up with three major games at E3: Rage, Prey 2, and the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Pictured above, Skyrim is a massive fantasy role-playing game that debuts this fall. In this game, you get to fight dragons.
Jenova Chen, co-creator of Journey, showed off his game in the Sony booth. In this game, you play a creature made of cloth that makes its way through the sands to a mountain. The game is wonderfully creative, has no violence, and has spectacular sand effects. Chen said Thatgamecompany worked on the sand effects for two years.


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