E3 Expected to Focus on AR, VR, Online, Mobile and Wearables

The 2015 Electronic Entertainment Expo opens it doors in Los Angeles today following a series of press conferences from major players such as Bethesda, EA, Microsoft, Sony and Ubisoft. This year we expect to see a new emphasis on virtual and augmented reality, wearable devices, online gaming and mobile apps. At last year’s show, only six companies were dedicated to VR; this week, there will be 27. Also, 74 companies touting mobile and online gaming products will be in attendance. According to Gartner, worldwide mobile revenue is expected to nearly double to $22 billion this year.

Today’s press conferences begin with Nintendo and Square Enix taking to the stage. GameSpot’s E3 2015 page provides access to all the press events (you can also watch videos of the press conferences that have already concluded).

E3_2015_Logo

For the first time, thousands of social media savvy players have been invited to visit the 350,000 square feet of booths and pavilions. The Entertainment Software Association calls them “prosumers” (professional videogame consumers).

“They are essentially super fans with a large social-media presence that can influence other buyers, says Mike Gallagher, chief of the trade group, which governs E3,” reports The Wall Street Journal.

“E3 plans to open its doors to about 5,000 of them this year on an invitation-only basis. In the past, only industry insiders and press have been allowed to attend, with some exceptions for nongaming businesses that were willing to pay an entry fee of roughly $1,000.”

We’ll keep our ETCentric readers on top of the latest announcements as E3 progresses. The following clips involve some of the early highlights:

E3 Preview: Virtual Reality Breakthroughs Drawing Hollywood to Gaming Confab (The Hollywood Reporter)
The advance buzz surrounding virtual reality began intensifying last week with Oculus’ high-profile unveiling of the consumer version of its Rift VR headsets, along with Lucasfilm’s announced plans to start a VR unit to create Star Wars content… While some observers are predicting this year’s E3 will be the dress rehearsal for VR to make a major push in 2016, others argue VR is ready to make a splash now. And a November 2014 report by Sophic Capital projects that VR could become a $7 billion market by 2018. 

Minecraft HoloLens Game Demo at E3 ‘Just Stole the Show’ (Bloomberg)
The live presentation showed two players interacting in a single Minecraft world, with the HoloLens player controlling the action using voice commands. Even more interesting, the multiplayer game took place between one person wearing a HoloLens and another participant without one, using a tablet. While the tablet user moved about the world, the HoloLens wearer shifted the perspective, zooming in and out.

Xbox One to Get ‘Backward Compatibility,’ Microsoft Says at E3 (The New York Times)
Executives said that people who own the company’s latest console, the Xbox One, will be able to play games originally created for the previous console, the Xbox 360. The company promised that more than 100 of the most popular Xbox 360 games would work on the Xbox One by the holiday season, with more to come after that. The audience at the Microsoft event erupted in cheers at the news.

Related:
Virtual Reality Headsets, Gaining Scrutiny at E3 This Week, Raise Very Real Concerns, The New York Times, 6/15/15
EA E3 Round-Up 2015: Mirror’s Edge, Star Wars: Battlefront and More, Wired, 6/15/15
Microsoft E3 2015 Round-Up: Halo 5, Rise of The Tomb Raider and More, Wired, 6/15/15
Sony E3 2015 Round-Up: Uncharted, No Man’s Sky and More, Wired, 6/16/15
Sony’s VR Push Hinges on the Game We Thought We’d Never Play, Wired, 6/15/15
30 Must-See PC Games Revealed at E3 2015, PCWorld, 6/16/15