Virtual reality takes to pixilated tracks mid May, as the game companies race for the next killer app and dominant mobile entertainment at the 10th-annual Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). Every spring, the Los Angeles Convention Center (known to car enthusiasts as home to the LA Auto Show) transforms into an exclusive arcade, with every hall and meeting room jammed with monitors, game systems, audio gear, and Red Bull-fueled thumbstick jockeys.
Over 400 exhibiting companies contribute to the sensory overload that reveals the bleeding-edge entertainment technology and the software the will bring the machines to life. As the industry has grown in size to rake in more cash than Hollywood, the stakes have risen and the products continue to push to new levels. More than 1300 never-before-seen products will be revealed to tens of thousand of industry insiders this week. Since credentials to enter are very difficult to acquire, weill sneak the readers inside with our exclusive coverage of the latest, must-see automotive games.
The week of activities that overtakes downtown Los Angeles is underway, kicking off on Monday with the Xbox press conference. Full of bravado, the Xbox team came across like maturing gamers who honed the fine art of talking smack, demonstrated as they introduced numerous exciting games to a theater full of captivated attendees. The highlight was a long, comedic mockumentary showing Xbox and (faux) Sony PlayStation reps competing to create the ultimate game system, with Donald Trump serving as the judge.
A more serious, business-focused Sony retaliated the next day at its conference by simply detailing its real market dominance, having sold 170 million PSOne and PS2 systems. The real highlight was the introduction of the handheld PSP, capable of playing games, music, and movies from a new CD-like disc called UMD. Though few titles were announced, press materials do show Gran Turismo 4. A true flagship Sony product, GT4 is expected to be a key title for the system when it launches.
Nintendo also grabbed pre-show attention with its own distinct handheld, currently known as Dual Screen. A significant step beyond the popular Game Boy Advance, the DS promises to keep Nintendo products in the backpacks of the worldis youth. No key driving games are known to be launching with the system, but we will monitor it.
We've had a chance to test drive some of the hot new titles rolling out, including Gran Turismo 4, RalliSport Challenge 2, Auto Assault, and Crash and Burn. We've also had a chance to get behind the wheel of every noteworthy title possible to report here on which ones belong in your collection.
With a long list of targeted titles, we have many virtual miles to log, but hope to report back soon on the following remaining games:
Destruction Derby Arenas, Driven to Destruction, Flatout, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, OutRun2, Smashing Drive, Test Drive: Eve of Destruction, and WRC 4.
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