The Electronic Entertainment Expo kicked off this week in Los Angeles. Here’s a roundup of Eastside companies’ activity.
Windows 10 was revealed prior to E3, but Microsoft’s representatives used the Monday press conference at the event to promote the new Xbox streaming feature the OS will offer. Windows 10 will also be playing a large role in the partnership between Xbox and Oculus Rift, announced just last week, as it will enable Xbox One games to be streamed to the Rift headset. Microsoft also spoke about plans for its own augmented reality headset, HoloLens, saying that users will be able to play Minecraft in the real world. Though the two are quite alike, Oculus Rift facilitates virtual reality and allows Xbox games to be played on a headset screen, while Hololens incorporates holograms into the user’s physical environment.
“From playing Minecraft on your wall to an entire world right on your table, Microsoft Hololens gives the community a different way to play in the worlds they already love,” said Lydia Winters, brand director of Mojang, creator of Minecraft.
Another major reveal was backward compatibility capability that will allow Xbox One owners to play their old Xbox 360 games on the new console, a feature in high demand among Xbox owners. Players will no longer be forced to re-purchase titles when they upgrade consoles.
“Your Xbox 360 games, the games you’ve invested your time and money in, and the games you want to continue to be played will be playable natively on your Xbox One,” said Xbox executive Phil Spencer.
Microsoft also showcased the two newest versions of its Forza and Halo franchises. Forza Motorsport 6 and Halo 5: Guardians are set for release in September and October, respectively. Halo 5 is one of the most anticipated games of the year.
This year’s E3 featured the first PC Gaming Show, an event devoted to PC gaming. Eastside video game developer ArenaNet seized this opportunity on Tuesday to reveal the expansion pack for its popular massively multiplayer online game Guild Wars 2, expected to go on sale later this year, was available for pre-purchase immediately.
Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns has three versions for sale online. The expansion places greater importance on in-game community and teamwork. Heart of Thorns boasts the highly anticipated Guild Halls features, which enables guild teams to work together to build and tailor a map of their own.
“Guild halls in Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns are so much more than the name implies; they are a body of features that will represent one of the deepest community and social focused systems of any online game world,” said ArenaNet game director Colin Johanson. “As a whole, the features are designed to emphasize community, give players a place to call their own and build a shared history in the game, and even activate player creativity in ways that have yet to be seen.”
As predicted, Bungie announced a Destiny expansion pack, The Taken King, at Sony’s press conference Tuesday. Available Sept. 15, the expansion will cater to PlayStation players with console-exclusive features. The expansion pack will offer three new subclasses for players, increasing their skills and moves options.
Bungie, developer of the iconic Halo series, is well-versed in how to make successful first-person shooters; Destiny is one of the most popular on the market. Bungie’s E3 reveal is the third expansion pack for the game, further building on the world and story in Destiny.
Nintendo’s press conference focused largely on upcoming games rather than new technologies or big announcements. The company, which has its U.S. headquarters in Redmond, released a series of game trailers that showcased Nintendo’s characteristically bright, lighthearted style and the company’s classic characters. Starfox, Mario, Yoshi, and Zelda were all present, as Nintendo previewed their new games: Starfox Zero, Mario Tennis, Yoshi’s Wooly World, and The Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes for 3DS.
Nintendo’s presentation was cute and creative, at one point featuring puppet versions of top executives. There weren’t any console development announcements, exciting updates, or big teasers to match the wow factor of some other Tuesday presenters.