Sony and Microsoft will be battling for the spotlight at the E3 videogame show with new consoles designed to put them at the heart of home entertainment.
Both companies are expected to showcase blockbuster titles for high-powered machines that go beyond rich, immersive game play to expanded capabilities for socializing online and accessing films, music, sports or television shows.
“There is certainly going to be a massive spotlight on the two next-gen consoles,” Bethesda videogame studio marketing vice president Pete Hines said ahead of the E3 expo that gets its unofficial start today in Los Angeles.
“Certainly, games are going to look better, but not so dramatic in terms of differences,” he said. “A lot of stuff is in the margins with changes you can’t wrap your head around easily.”
Sony unveiled a new generation PlayStation 4 (PS4) system in February and laid out its vision for the “future of gaming” in a world rich with mobile gadgets and play streamed from the Internet cloud.
There was no glimpse of a PS4 at the launch event, setting the stage for its hands-on debut at E3.
Those attending the industry-only gathering will also be able to try the new-generation Xbox One that Microsoft introduced last month and touted as an entertainment hub that goes far beyond games.
The beefed-up hardware is powered by software that allows for instant switching between games, television and Internet browsing. Microsoft-owned Skype was also integrated for online group video calls.
Kinect motion and sound sensing accessories accompanying the consoles recognize users, respond instantly to commands spoken in natural language and even detect a person’s pulse.
While next-generation consoles, including the Wii U released by Nintendo late last year, will dominate E3, digital play has changed considerably from when their predecessors arrived some seven years ago.
Meanwhile, makers of games for smartphones, tablets, or online play at social networks will be at E3 to make connections, but face the challenge of competing with cinematic console game trailers shown on screens fit for Times Square.