For a couple of years, even as the game industry entered a renaissance, the E3 trade show was lost in the wilderness. But this year, it made its way back to center stage, with the return of squeeze-through crowds, trillion-decibel booths, jiggling booth babes and blockbuster games on huge screens.
stories by Dean Takahashi
The semiconductor industry, a bellwether for the tech economy, is expected to fall 21 percent in 2009, according to a new forecast from the Semiconductor Industry Association.
Satoru Iwata is very excited about your heartbeat. The chief executive of Nintendo wants to capture it on his new Wii Vitality Sensor, an add-on peripheral for the Nintendo Wii, so that video games can tune in to your level of excitement or relaxation and make use of that as a kind of control in future Nintendo games. While Sony and Microsoft announced motion-control devices that were trying to catch up with or leapfrog the Wii’s motion-sensitive controller, Iwata was showing a path to a new kind of gaming he hopes will continue the broadening of the video game market that has allowed Nintendo to sell more than 50 million Wiis and 100 million handheld DS units. In a one-on-one interview, we caught up with him today at the close of the E3 trade show in Los Angeles. He talked about the iPhone, the recession, free games, and how Nintendo is still trying to set itself apart from the pack.
Intel said today it will buy Wind River Systems, a company that lets wireless carriers and cell phone makers build software that’s embedded into phones, for $884 million.
Here’s a video I shot with Alexa Lee of Ooyala at the Microsoft Xbox 360 booth at the E3 trade show in Los Angeles. After three and half days at the 40,000-attendee event, I’ve soaked in some of the interesting trends. In this segment, I talk about the trend toward a deeper connection between humans and game machines, as evidenced by everything from Microsoft’s Project Natal to Sony’s “magic wand” controller. I also mention some of the best looking games at the show, and what that might mean for game sales in 2009. The video is being played in Ooyala’s new video player that launched last week.
Hollywood and Silicon Valley met Wednesday night as Palm bankrolled a big party of stars to celebrate the launch of its Palm Pre smart phone.
Several prominent Israelis have formed a new game company, GameGround, with $4.1 million in funding from Sequoia Capital.
Microsoft threw one of the biggest curve balls at the E3 video game conference on Monday as it announced a new way to control games through your speech, gestures, and your full body, code-named Project Natal. You can control an Xbox 360 video game through your own motion. It goes farther than the Nintendo Wii because it uses a 3-D depth camera to capture not just the movements of a handheld controller but the movement of your whole body. In a one-on-one interview, I asked Shane Kim, corporate vice president for strategy and business development at Microsoft’s game division, to explain how Microsoft developed the technology. I also got an update on all of Microsoft’s game plans.
Not to be outdone by Microsoft or Nintendo, Sony is showing off its own futuristic motion-tracking technology today.
Sony confirmed its worst kept secret of the E3 video game trade show. It announced today its PlayStation Portable handheld, the PSP Go, will launch in October.
Nintendo is launching a new version of Super Mario Bros. for the Wii this fall as part of a line-up it believes will keep it in the dominant position in the video game business.
In a marriage of games and social networks, SmallWorlds has teamed up with social network Hi5 to open up SmallWorlds’ cartoon-like virtual world to Hi5′s 60 million monthly visitors.
The coolest video on Monday at the E3 games conference — one of the video game industry’s biggest gatherings — was this cinematic video of Star Wars: The Old Republic.
Twenty five years ago, a 29-year-old Russian mathematician loosed Tetris upon the world. Now the game has sold more than 125 million copies — an astounding average of 5 million per year. Now the two men who are responsible for turning it into a worldwide phenomenon are trying to take it to even higher sales through online tournaments and matches.
Ubisoft showed off its work with one of Hollywood’s most technology-minded directors, James Cameron, at a press conference at the E3 game conference today in Los Angeles.
[Updated with video of the Old Republic game]
Trying to one-up Nintendo at the E3 game conference in Los Angeles this week, Microsoft showed off a game-control scheme where you use your body to control what happens in a game.
Microsoft scored a coup last November when it debuted Netflix movies on the Xbox 360. Now it’s Facebook’s turn. Microsoft will now integrate the Facebook social network into the Xbox 360 dashboard. You can now view photos, make friends, and otherwise interact on Facebook directly from the game console.
Time was Microsoft couldn’t get big stars to show up at its press conferences at E3, the big video game trade show. Not anymore.
The Sims 3 game launch today is likely to be critical to the future of Electronic Arts. And we’re not just talking about the company’s performance in the current quarter.
The semiconductor industry continued its slow path to recovery as it reported that April sales were up 6.4 percent to $15.6 billion compared to March.
Nvidia is becoming a real player in portable mobile devices as the industry embraces its Tegra processors. The company is announcing today that some of the world’s biggest gadget manufacturers are designing mobile devices using the Tegra chips.
Activision Blizzard webcast a press conference today, highlighting the games it expects will generate millions and millions of sales for the company this year. The event was the first of many from game companies at the E3 conference.
Details of the latest version of Sony’s PlayStation Portable, the PSP Go, keep leaking out.
The E3 video game trade show gets under way Monday, and is expected to draw more than 40,000 people with a new grandiose format.
Positive reactions from the security industry are coming in response to President Obama’s decision to set up a high-level cybersecurity coordinator within the federal government.
We reported recently that Microsoft was preparing to announce a gesture-control system for the Xbox 360 at the E3 show in Los Angeles starting Monday. Now we’ve peeled back another layer of the secret.
John Riccitiello, chief executive of Electronic Arts, came into EA a couple of years ago with the commitment to improve the quality of the big company’s games. During his calls with financial analysts, Riccitiello regularly cited average review scores for the company’s games.
Chris Taylor is a goofy character in the game business. That’s why he was a fine emcee at our recent GamesBeat 09 conference. But he has a serious side as the founder of Gas Powered Games, a maker of real-time strategy games that has weathered big changes in the PC game business. Taylor’s games –- including Total Annihilation, Dungeon Siege, Supreme Commander, and the recent Demigod — have sold more than 6 million copies. We caught up with him in his office at Gas Powered Games in Redmond, Wash., where we talked about what it takes to survive as a game developer for so long.
Yes, these people in the picture are real. What’s weird is they’re attending a conference about virtual events. You know, the kind they have only in cyberspace where you pretend you’re at a live event.
Sometimes there’s no need to reinvent what your enemy has done. That seems to be the thinking that Palm embraced as it announced today that the Palm Pre cell phone will be able to sync with Apple iTunes content.
PC game software grew 18 percent in 2008, thanks to growing usage of online games that are played primarily on computers and not on consoles.
Microsoft announced today that it’s sold more than 30 million Xbox 360 game consoles and that its active user base of Xbox Live online gaming service is now over 20 million.
Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo spoke at the AllThingsD conference today where he gave some unexpected praise for Apple’s iPhone in a couple of interviews. If you haven’t caught some of the video, it’s worth a look.
An industry alliance is announcing today a new version of the popular HDMI cables that connect high-definition video appliances to TVs and other appliances. It’s just a simple cable upgrade, but it will mean far easier set-up of Internet-connected devices in the your living room.
Philippe Kahn showed off a motion-sensing ear piece at the AllThingsD conference today. For the past five years, Kahn’s startup Fullpower Technologies has been developing a system that can track your motion. They’ve now built the accelerometer-based technology into a ear piece that serves as a cell phone headset.
OK, just because I live in California doesn’t mean that I’m a fan of the eye-liner-wearing Adam Lambert, who lost out last week to Kris Allen of Arkansas in the American Idol finale.
Electronic Arts is launching its Sims 3 game across as many platforms as it can next week. But one of the most interesting to watch will be the game’s debut on the iPhone. That’s because the game represents a big effort inside EA to get the game right on the fast-growing platform.
Yahoo chief executive Carol Bartz sat on the hot seat in an interview with Kara Swisher at the AllThingsD conference. Bartz managed to deflect and disarm tough questions with her sense of humor.
Showing there is still investor interest in games, startup Heyzap is announcing today it has raised a round of in seed funding from Union Square Ventures. The amount was $500,000 to $1 million.