The yearly trade fair known as E3—during which a slew of video game companies proudly display products readying for release in the coming months— saw its 2012 installment earlier this week. Aside from the usual roundup of new titles being announced and details of previously revealed games divulged, this year’s expo brought details on new hardware and gadgets from industry heavy-hitters, Nintendo and Sony.
While Nintendo has set one sales record after another with its motion-control based home console, the Wii, the long-standing industry leader’s current flagship lags behind its competitors’ hardware in terms of both Internet connectivity and graphical and processing power. Not to be outdone any longer, Nintendo used E3 to highlight its new and improved Wii U, which promises to be at least as powerful as Sony’s PlayStation 3 and Microsoft’s Xbox 360. Prettier graphics are not the only change the new console aims to bring to the table, though; an unconventional touch-screen based controller will add new depths to the world of gaming.
Over the past few years, touch screens have become increasing prevalent in our day to day lives. Smartphones from Apple and Android dominate the modern cell phone market, and larger tablets have caught on like wild fire. Nintendo itself was an early pioneer of this new medium, releasing its touch screen portable system, the DS, nearly eight years ago. In building a 6.2” tablet into a more traditional controller, the Wii U will allow gamers to play together in the same room while giving individualized perspectives of the game at hand, providing the possibility for each player to have his own goals or tasks to accomplish. The controller will also be able to display the same images as are normally shown on your TV screen, so if someone in the house wants to watch TV while you’re in the middle of a game you can simply play everything from the controller while your television is used for regular broadcasts. In fact, the new controller can be used as a remote to change the channel or adjust volume, even when the Wii U console is shut off.
Always the innovator, Sony also used E3 to introduce a new peripheral for its PlayStation 3. The Wonderbook brings new meaning to the words “pop-up book;” this new piece of tech creates an augmented reality in which the reader holds a physical story book, but images and video appear on screen as he turns the page. Partnering with famed Harry Potter author, JK Rowling, the peripheral’s first interactive story combines with Sony’s motion controller, the PlayStation move, to immerse the reader in the wizardly world of Hogwarts. Book of Spells features new, often humorous writing from Rowling detailing the history of many spells seen throughout the Harry Potter series, but to progress from one story to the next the reader will have to master each spell. The Move controller becomes a magic wand which, when moved in particular fashions, will cast spells that can be seen on the TV.
Alongside the Wonderbook, Sony will also be venturing further into smartphone and tablet territory. PlayStation Suite, a service initially used to play PlayStation Network content on Sony Android tablets, has been rebranded and renovated as PlayStation Mobile. With this new program, certified devices from other Android hardware manufacturers will enjoy the same access to PSN as Sony products.
Are you a gamer? Tell us what you think of the new tech on the Long Island Lounge.