Monday, June 10, 2013

Updated: E3 2013: all the latest news from this year's hottest gaming show

Updated: E3 2013: all the latest news from this year's hottest gaming show

Updated: E3 2013: all the latest news from this year's hottest gaming show

Ready, set, E3!

We are here live in Los Angeles to bring you all the latest from the 2013 edition of this epic gaming show. E3 isn't even officially underway but there is plenty to see and do already as Microsoft and EA show us their goods while PlayStation is due up at 6 p.m. PT Monday.

Check back here as the week progresses for news on the Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo and much more, plus hands on reviews with the consoles and peripherals you need to know about.

We're pretty

Here's all the latest from the conference:

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PS4 price: Steep but still lower than Xbox One

The PS4 will cost $ 399 in the U.S.,(UK£349, €399) when it goes on sale later in 2013.

It's cheaper than the Xbox One, which was outed as $ 499 (UK£429, AU$ 599, €499) earlier today.

Gamers didn't seem to thrilled at the console's price point, but that price does include a Kinect along with the system and Gamepad.

Learn more about the PS4 price.

PS4 finally shows itself

Well it's about time. Sony finally drew the curtain back on the PS4 console at a press event the day before E3. And the gaming community got a good gander at the device in the flesh.

Looking very sleek, angular, and a bit like the PS2, the new PlayStation 4 will feature services like Music Unlimited on the first day of the PS4's availability, while Verizon's Redbox Instant and Flixter are heading to PlayStation Network.

Take a look at the PS4 for yourself.

EA wheels out 11 next-gen titles

Waiting anxiously for news on Star Wars: Battlefront and Mirror's Edge 2? EA heard your calls and talked up both titles, along with nine others, during its pre-E3 press conference.

All the games are destined for the PS4 and Xbox One, and while we won't see either console for awhile, EA generated some buzz by enlisting some celebs to talk up the titles. It was interesting, to say the least.

The Xbox One is $ 499, £429 and coming this November

We saw game after game at the Microsoft E3 press conference, but at the end, it made good with the numbers. It seems that the Xbox One will be arriving just in time for the holidays.

It's not surprising that Microsoft's new console should arrive in time to be tucked under Christmas. It could be quite a retail battle if the PS4 arrives in t he same month. Sony had previously announced a "holiday 2013" release date.

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A new Xbox 360 and 13 exclusives for Xbox One

Microsoft is making its E3 2013 conference all about games. Its promised 13 games just for the upcoming Xbox One.

Its also shown a brand new, redesigned Xbox 360 that looks a lot like its sibling the Xbox One. Microsoft also has rewards on the way for Xbox Live Gold subscribers: free game downloads every month. Surely that was designed to give PlayStat ion Plus a run for its money.

The wait begins

We're waiting for the doors to open for Microsoft's E3 2013 press conference, and the whole new generation of console gaming that waits for us inside. We've heard all about the powerful hardware and features of the Xbox One, but what new games are going to be revealed?

What sort of exlcusives will Microsoft reveal Will there be an official price tag for the Xbox One? How about a release date? Say with us as we report from inside the conference.

E3 2013

1. Mad Catz gets into the console biz

Yeah, baby! Get ready for gaming accessory maker to introduce its very own gaming console at this year's E3.

The Android-powered device, named "Project M.O.J.O" for now, is the core offering in its GameSmart line, the company announced June 7.

You can be sure we'll go hands on with the "micro console" if it's available to check out, so stay tuned for our thoughts on the hardware as well as when and where you can get it.

2. Xbox One takes center stage June 10

Props to Microsoft for keeping its word on an Xbox-themed event for E3 - not that we ever doubted it would happen especially now that we know the new console is called the Xbox One.

The company sent out invites to a press briefing for June 10 in Los Angeles, one day before E3 officially gets underway. This is decidedly an Xbox event, and we hope to "continue the conversation" on the company's new Xbox One following its May 21 happening.

The company revealed in late May that the focus of its E3 keynote would, unlike its announcement event, would be games.

"I can confirm that we will have TV's (or similar) on stage to show the games," tweeted Larry Hryb, director of programming for Xbox Live. "That should be the extend [sic] of TV talk in your #E3."

Microsoft has even put a movie about it together:

YouTube :

That's not all: According to GTTV host Geoff Keighley, there are plenty of surprises in store for both Microsoft and Sony at E3.

"10 days until E3," Keighley tweeted in May. "Based on what I'm hearing both the Xbox and PS4 press confs will be the strongest in years. Lots of games and surprises.

We'll be there to cover the action live, so you'll be in on all the unexpected goodness if you check back in with TechRadar.

3. No Nintendo press conference

Nintendo has made the somewhat surprising decision to forgo its usual E3 press conference in favor of hosting a smaller, closed-doors events to focus primarily on software.

"We have decided not to host a large-scale presentation targeted at everyone in the international audience where we announce new information as we did in the past," said Nintendo President Satoru Iwata.

"Instead, at the E3 show this year, we are planning to host a few smaller events that are specifically focused on our software lineup for the U.S. market."

We must say we're a bit bothered by Nintendo's decision, if only in an altruistic way because it stands to loose some serious ground to competitors Sony and Microsoft.

To be sure, Nintendo won't be a complete E3 no-show in terms of a public presence. The company will broadcast a Nintendo Direct at 7 a.m. PT/ 3 p.m. BST on Tuesday, June 11. What's more, 100 Best Buy stores in the U.S. and Canada will have in store demos of unreleased Wii U games, bringing titles straight to the public.

We'll also be in attendance at a Wii U Software Showcase starting at 10:30 a.m. PT on Tuesday too, where we're going to get a look at games plus hear from Shigeru Miyamoto, game designer at the company, and Fils-Aim himself.


"This year we're making E3 for the people," Nintendo of America President Regg ie Fils-Aime said in announcing the Best Buy partnership. "We want to make sure you get the chance to try our games as well."

Fils-Aime later followed up with a June 7 Facebook video outlining Nintendo's E3 strategy, saying that the company's approach to E3 is different this year, it's actually better.

We're not complete Nintendo naysayers, to be sure, and somewhat respect its grass-roots approach to E3. Its newest console is not next gen, but it's not bad either. We gave it a three and a half stars in our Wii U review. The GamePad is cool, and finally seeing Mario in HD is a welcome uptick.

However, most of the world is for PS4 and One, or just sticking with their Xbox, as the nearly eight-year-old Xbox 360 sold four times as many units as the Wii U did last month. In fact, even the old Wii is selling better.

We know Nintendo has some game titles on the way and we hope it can build enough excitement around these titles to carry it into its next big offering. Whenever that happens.

Xbox One

4. What awaits the Xbox 360?

Microsoft had a very big Xbox announcement on May 21, where the new Xbox was revealed as the Xbox One. The event went so far as to show us the full console (unlike the PS4 tease) including specs for the Kinect and even the new Gamepad.

While we've been told the conversation will continue at E3, there's also expectation that the older Xbox 360 is going to get some convention love in Los Angeles.

As the Xbox One moves to occupy the space of marquee console, those who still own the 8-year-old Xbox will be pleased to learn that th ere's news in store.

"We have a huge, I think it's huge, [Xbox 360] announcement for E3 that I keep wanting to talk about, but I can't," said Microsoft Game Studios Corporate Vice President Phil Spencer following the One's reveal.

"I think the [Xbox 360] is going to be very vibrant for many years," he effused.

Now that piques our interest.

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5. We'll actually see the PS4

E3 2013

Despite not actually seeing the system, we liked Sony's PlayStation 4 launch event. We'd call it a mostly positive non-surprise. The focus on games and developers was admirable, as were the social functions of the system. And while not getting a peek at an actual PS4 console was frustrating, Sony has saved some magic for next time, and we're betting that next time will be E3 2013.

Despite Sony saying the reveal might come sooner than June, the smart money is on a PS4 reveal at E3 2013. Why? Because it needs a main attraction at the show where an appearance by its chief rival, the Xbox One, is guaranteed. Plus, E3 is mere days away, and why drop your eggs before your June 10 press conference?

Sony CEO Kaz Hirai talked up the PS4's primary role as a gaming device (unlike some other major machine we know...) and it will likely use it's time at E3 to talk about just what makes that so. There's still plenty of unanswered questions, including its own used game/DRM policies, plus how it will operate as more than a gaming console (we know, a bit hypocritical, but in this day and age you've got to have some mulch-functionality in your console).

DualShock 4

We're also still waiting to hear more on pricing info, online subscription details and a hard release date, something more specific than "holiday 2 013." Sony may not be ready to to talk hard facts just yet, and simply wheeling the system out before a whooping crowd will buy it some time.

6. The fate of the Vita

Vita, vita, vita. What is Sony going to do with you? The poor PS Vita is a lovely little system. It earned four tars in our PS Vita review. But subdued marketing and a lack of must-have have made it something of a non-start.

It's not completely Sony's fault. It's hard to sell a premium mobile gaming device these days. Most consumers are happy to play cheap games on the smartphone they already own, and who can blame them?

So how can Sony move units? Well, a price break worked in Japan, but Sony seems rather dead set against dropping the price in other markets. Still, we wouldn't be at all surprised to see the asking price get lowered at E3, because it seems that Sony will treat the Vita as a PS4 accessory.

PS Vita

Using the streaming service Gaikai, the PS4 will let you stream PS4 titles to your Vita, using an airplay like feature. Now this doesn't mean you can walk down the street playing Killzone Shadow Fall. As we underst and it, it'll be more like the Wii U's second screen feature, which lets you move your game to the tablet if someone wants to use the TV for something besides watching you play Mario.

Still, Sony can't bet it all on the PS4 to save the Vita. It's asking a lot to expect consumers to pick up two pricey pieces of hardware. We're curious to see what else it may have in store to kick start its good but underloved handheld.

7. WWCBD? (What will Cliff Bleszinski do?)

If you're much of an Xbox fan, or you've played more than a few rounds of horde mode in Gears of War, you've probably heard the name Cliff Bleszinski. Or maybe you know him by an easier to spell moniker, like Cliffy B, Dude Huge, or the ex-Design Director at Epic Games.

That's right, in October of last year, Bleszinski left the pillar of the industry that is Epic Games to do...well we're not sure what yet, and that's the exciting part.

He hasn't stayed on the sidelines, however, giving a talk on VR at this year's PAX East and waxing long on the web's reaction to the online lynching of a now-ex Microsoft employee's thoughts on an always on Xbox and an always connected future as a whole.

Cliff B

Now, Bleszinski hasn't announced any plans to...announce any plans. So far he's not on the roster for any E3 presentations, and that makes him the perfect the surprise guest. Remember when Gabe Newell stepped on stage at Sony's 2010 E3 show? Well, imagine Bleszinski doing the same, acting as a consultant for Ubisoft, Volition or another developer on the cusp of breaking into the next level.

Or imagine him striking out on his own, announcing a new development house. Dude Huge Studios, Cliffy B Industries, or a some name that's far less terrible. No matter what, we're excited to see what the man does next, and E3 2013 is the perfect place to get the ball rolling.

8. The biggest titles of E3

E3 is known for surprises. Unexpected sequels and brand new IP's all step out of the shadows and into the spotlight at this celebration of the video game industry. So what will the biggest games of the show be? Surprises aside, we're prepared to make a few educated guesses as to what will have the fans clamoring come June.

First off, even though its been at E3 before, Watch Dogs is a game to watch. It blew audiences away with its detailed open world and insane techno-chaos. Sharp observers rightly guessed that it was next-gen title, and Ubisoft has confirmed that it will on both PS3 and PS4, as well the Xbox 360, and its successor, we presume.

Super Smash Bros. Wii U is highly anticipated title bound to create buzz. Nintendo has confirmed that the next installment of its character brawler franchise will have some presence at the show. Even if its just screens and a demo, fans will want to get their hand on it, and as entry in beloved Nintendo series, it's exactly the shot in the arm the Wii U needs.

As far as annual, excuse us, long- running franchises are concerned, a new Call of Duty game would shock no one. We'd say we're due for a Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 4 pretty soon. Battlefield 4 is also a given, since it was announced at GDC 2013. There's also the pirate glory of Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag looming on the horizon.

Finally, Grand Theft Auto V will be a no show, but that won't stop anyone from talking about it. Its release has been delayed to Sept. 17, so Rockstar could demo it at the show, but that wouldn't be their style. The studio notoriously skips most E3s, leaving the crowd to build buzz about what the heck its up to. Hey, it's worked for them in the p ast!

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9. Just how unreal is Unreal Engine 4?

L.A. Summertime. Thousands of game-heads. It could get a little trippy at E3, no doubt.

Unreal Engine 4, the ultra-powerful game engine we got a real-time demo of during the PS4's launch, could really rip the seams of reality if its makers unleash it on the E3 crowd.

Marketed as architecture that brings to life fully dynamic lighting features, shortened dev time and "less iteration on creative ideas," the pomp and circumstance for Unreal Engine 4 is certainly glitzy. Can it live up to its self-produced hype, though? Will it elicit authentic jaw drops and awed, "Dude, that's unreal!" exclamations?

We'll be very curious to see if the touted high-end visuals are a s captivating in person as they seem in demos like the one above, plus what devs have to say about the potential for such power to be scaled and accessed in lower-end PCs.

We're hoping for amazing, and we think Unreal Engine 4 has the chance to deliver at E3.

Gabe Newell

10. Steam Box a no-show

There's arguably no other "alternative" console gathering as much, er, steam as Valve's Steam Box. Not only does it have popular gaming personality Gabe Newell at its helm, it's just a damn cool concept.

Some consider it a "console killer" while others are wary it can really stand up to Sony and Microsoft, becoming more of a niche PC product than a true gaming champion, but honestly we simply want to get our hands on the thing and see if its muster really stacks up.

So far we've only eyeballed a pseudo-Steam Box - the Xi3 Piston - in the flesh, but Valve recently said that it's distanced itself from the firm. That leaves us to wonder not only what caused the rift, but how it will effect the product we see Valve itself bring forth.


Unfortunately, Valve has decided to sit E3 2013 out.

"Valve is not exhibiting at e3 [sic] this year," wrote Doug Lombardi, the company's vice president of marketing, in an April email.

So that makes Nintendo and V alve E3 no-shows. Huh.

Of course, as Gaming Blend pointed out, Valve could truly follow Nintendo's footsteps and host private off-site meetings to show off either its hardware or games destined for the console.

Newell said a short time ago that prototypes will be ready to ship to some Steamers in the next three to four months, a pronouncement made in early March, placing the ship date at around June or July. As E3 is in mid-June, we wouldn't be surprised if the Valve crew has something to show folks at E3, even if its not on the show floor.

11. Ouya talking to me?

OK, maybe there is another buzz-breaking system. Like Valve, Ouya has captured the imagination and burrowed into the hearts of gamers and developers, the K ickstarter darling that's launching on June 4 for $ 99.99/£99.99.

The console will be available in the U.S., U.K. and Canada then, giving many eager customers the gaming system they've been waiting for.

It seems like the mystery is all but gone from the device, but if you're thinking that, then you're (we're sorry to say) quite wrong. There are plenty of questions remaining, some we hope are addressed at E3.

For one we want to know how the company plans to address controller lag many in the press (including ourselves) experienced when testing the console. We imagine this will be fixed by release time, but Ouya should provide clear answers to a key hardware issue.


There's also been lots of talk by the company that the product will be in a state of near-constant evolution, so will there be more steps take between the June 4 release and the dates surrounding E3?

We're also curious about how many launch titles there will be, how the company plans to navigate the world of in-app purchases and what it plans to do about ESRB and PEGI ratings.

It's too early to talk about the Ouya 2, but we wouldn't be shocked if a new peripheral or two gets some press time as well.

12. 4K at E3

4K tech is still very much in its infancy. Yes, we have Samsung, ViewSonic, LG, Toshiba and Panasonic readying and releasing 4K-capable TVs and displays, but the content is lagging far behind. Games, as you can imagine, are on the peripheral of the 4K conversation looking in.

Sony confirmed 4K v ideo output for the PS4, but so far not for games. 4K games could be something it's working on right now, however, and the company may be ready to make that known at E3.

Microsoft has thus far stayed out of the 4K foray, but might E3 be where we can get them in a corner, so to speak, and pick the company's brains on the tech? Might they let slip a little 4K ambition of their own?

The issues of making 4K games extend beyond console makers and into processor and content makers as well.

AMD recently revealed its Radeon HD 7990 "Malta" GPU, capable of playing titles in eye-popping 4K. Nvidia, AMD's arch nemesis, might want to cook up an answer to the hyper-drive graphics card.

4K is a few years off from making it into mainstream gaming, but we fully expect it to be part of the conversation at this year's E3. 4K is not just a facet of gaming future but the future of all digital content, and it's a topic that continues to be fascinating for many.


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