Mon, Jun 12, 2017 - Page 14 News List

Fans are in focus at major E3 video game trade show


Game enthusiasts and industry personnel on Saturday watch scenes from Need For Speed: Payback during the Electronic Arts EA Play event at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles. The Electronic Entertainment Expo is to begin tomorrow.

Photo: AFP

Video game giant Electronic Arts Inc (EA) on Saturday courted fans with titles such as Star Wars Battlefront and snatched the spotlight ahead of a major industry trade show in Los Angeles.

Gamers who have become stars on YouTube for streamed play or commentary joined EA executives in the Hollywood Palladium to provide world premiere glimpses into eagerly awaited games.

The event kicked off a three-day “fan fest” where people can get tastes of coming games.

EA Live is to end today on the eve of the official start of the historically trade-only Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3).

“There is a lot of interest in the industry to speak more directly to the gamer,” Sony Interactive Entertainment Inc worldwide studios chairman Shawn Layden said.

E3 took the unusual step this year of making about 15,000 tickets available at US$149 each for fans to explore the show floor and attend panels.

EA held the first of a series of news events by console and game makers in the days leading up to E3.

Games showed off included blockbuster shooter Battlefield and a sequel to a Star Wars Battlefront game that met with criticism after its release about two years ago.

“We got a lot of feedback; a lot of it positive and a lot of it constructive,” EA chief executive officer Andrew Wilson said on stage. “That is a euphemism for not as positive.”

EA provided a glimpse at what appeared to be a new science fiction shooter work titled Anthem from BioWare and a character driven, buddy prison break game called A Way Out that can only be played cooperatively with a friend.

EA’s “fan fest” comes as the video game industry flourishes and shifts to cultivating ongoing relationships with players instead of simply selling them blockbuster games in packages or as digital downloads.

Historically an event exclusively for the industry, E3 appeared to be adapting to the trend of game makers building ongoing relationships with players in online communities.

“E3 is evolving to try to bring in people who are not involved in the industry, who are fans, “ Jon Peddie Research senior video game industry analyst Ted Pollak said.

Hot trends at E3 this week are to include the rise of streaming games, to be played subscription-style as a service or to be watched as spectator sports on the booming eSports stage. Inc-owned Twitch and Google’s YouTube are once again at E3, streaming announcements, game trailers, interviews and other game content to viewers around the world.

Microsoft Corp launched a subscription service for Xbox, letting players pay a monthly fee for access to a library of video games for its console.

People who already subscribe to an Xbox Gold service can pay an extra US$10 monthly for the new “Game Pass.”

E3 is to once again be an arena for competing consoles from Microsoft, Nintendo Co and Sony Corp to battle it out.

Sony’s PlayStation 4 has dominated the market, while Nintendo’s recently launched Switch has been a hit, with fans snapping up the console and a Legend of Zelda game that has become a must-play title.

Microsoft yesterday was to spotlight a muscular new Xbox model, referred to in development as “Scorpio,” at a special E3 news event.

The PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One are both performing better in the market than their respective predecessors, and Nintendo “is back in a big way” with Switch, Piscatella said.

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