E3 2012: A short round-up of what you need to know
June 18, 2012 Leave a comment
E3 was held a few weeks back and showcases the most innovative technology in gaming and is often thought as the most important event in the games industry calendar. So here’s a round-up of all you need to know and how it could affect the serious games industry.
More player control
A common theme in many of the games show cased at E3 this year is the ability to choose your own path. Many games from Dishonoured, Watch Dogs, and The Last of Us showed this mechanic within their game play giving the player a choice to assassinate an enemy in a stealthy way or maybe not kill them at all. This gives the games more replay ability and gives players a chance to choose the path they want to. This shows how consumers want to be able to work through a game how they want to seeming to make their own decisions. This is something that serious games have already emulated; many strive to show the impact of the player’s decisions in simulations, showing the effects of their choices. This just shows how games are pushing forward to give a more individual experience.
(If you watch any of these videos try them in HD quality, you get the full impact.)
Cloud gaming means players can stream games in order to play them. This means that in the future players may not need consoles to play and would be able to access their games on other peoples Tv’s e.t.c. Although cloud gaming does seem to be becoming a bite more popular is does seem that it isn’t quite there yet. One industry watcher at E3 said cloud gaming had huge potential, but might disappoint serious gamers in its present state. Senior editor Giancarlo Varanini, at the news site Gamespot said “broadband penetration isn’t where it needs to be and the service isn’t up to snuff for games which require a huge amount of precision. Gamers need quick reflex responses to compete with other players especially in multiplayer environments.” (BBC,2012) This is something that would be useful in the future and could make game’s more social able which would integrate nicely into the serious games market. But it’s also something that in the very early stages. There could also be problems with using an LMS, as they are tightly controlled and usually behind a fire wall. With cloud based games being on-line it could cause problems with LMS settings as well as keeping all versions consistent and looking the same. This could mean a move for LMS to cloud which leads onto a whole different topic of conversation. As it’s a huge issue.
Next gen consoles
Many of the games at E3 have been rumoured to have been developed on next-gen consoles. These include: Beyond: Two souls, The Last of Us, Watch Dogs and all seem to show the graphical capabilities of the next-gem consoles.According to many people within the gaming industry we could either see Sony or Microsoft (or both) release their next-gen consoles next year. One of the main games that got the media going was Beyond: Two souls. This is from the director and writer of Heavy Rain and pushes story telling within games to its limits. With motion capture being used more often in games to help support the narrative, it means that these next gen consoles can handle what’s needed to create high end graphics and motion capture animation. This is massively important within Serious Games as narrative is a crucial part of the game. If next gen consoles help to drive narrative then this could be a good way to take serious games. Serious games can then have more interactive storytelling and more realistic simulations.
Check it out: Square Enix tech demo for next-gen consoles called Agnis Philosophy, which is a real-time animation. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nv4Boq4HLKU)
Although Heavy Rain wasn’t known for its commercial success the idea of an interactive story is still being pushed by its writer and director David Cage, with voice acting and motional capture from Ellen Page. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFxAJ3eaaC8)
SmartGlass is Microsoft’s new service that allows Smartphone’s and tablets to interact with Microsoft’s console. The SmartGlass is meant to enhance the players experience for both gaming and television. Microsoft showcased how a tablet would work whilst watching game of thrones. The user could be watching Game of Thrones on their XBOX 360, whilst their tablet would show them a map of the game of thrones world where the character is located. This is a similar take on the Wii U and could be a major competitor for Nintendo. This means that developers can branch out and provide players with a much more immersive experience. This could help support simulations of job roles and means players can juggle the different screens and reference information to help improve serious games.
Check it out: If you are still unsure about what smart glass is and would like to know Microsoft’s other announcements then take a quick look here.
It’s also worth taking a quick look at the Nintendo Wii U and how they have used their tablet to develop game mechanics. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKXB9dhmkyw)
(E3 round-up) E3 2012: all the latest news, 04/06/2012
(Cloud gaming ) E3: Samsung signs Smart TV cloud gaming deal with Gaikai, 06/06/2012. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-18336427)
(SmartGlass) E3: Xbox SmartGlass links Microsoft’s console to tablets, 04/06/2012. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-18325815)