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E3 2008...Yawn!: The electronic expo announces some cool titles, but the event's new format isn't 

Resistance 2: One of the few highly anticipated titles in '09. Each year, the major video game and computer software companies gather to showcase what

click to enlarge Resistance 2: One of the few highly anticipated titles in '09.
  • Resistance 2: One of the few highly anticipated titles in '09.
Resistance 2: One of the few highly anticipated titles in '09. Each year, the major video game and computer software companies gather to showcase what they have in store for the coming year at E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo). The show began in 1995 and has been mostly held in Los Angeles with a few different locations tossed in over the years. The show itself was once a huge production with tons of booths for companies and the general public to mingle and try all the new games and consoles, but now it's a different story. Having restructured in 2007, the show is much smaller with the trade show being replaced with smaller events and a name changed to E3 Media and Business Summit. The 2008 show, held at the Los Angeles Convention Center from July 14-17 was hardly the colorful gaming event it once was.

Here is a wrap up from the big three players at the convention: Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo.

Sony started its E3 show with a demo of Resistance 2, which was impressive considering that the first Resistance was one of the better launch titles for the PlayStation 3. Also a smart thing for Sony was to re-introduce the "Greatest Hits" titles for the PlayStation 3 which will include: Fight Night 3, Resistance:Fall of Man, Assassin's Creed and more titles for under $30. Responding to Microsoft's partnership with Netflix, Sony has started its own video download service with movie studios like Warner Bros., Sony Pictures, and Lionsgate. There was also a preview of the new updated PlayStation Network and a sneak peak at Sony's new title, Home. The approach with Home is to interact with other players and do things in a virtual world like Second Life. On the PlayStation Portable (PSP) front there will be a new bundle for retail in the fall including the PSP system, UMD movie of National Treasure 2 and Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters. Topping it all off was news that Sony will phase out the 40gb version of the PlayStation 3 for a 80gb system at the same price point as the 40gb system ($399.99).
Nintendo kicked things off with a new attachment for the Wii remote called the Wii Motion Plus. The attachment aims to boost the precision of the remote and render every movement in the wrist and arm for a real-time gaming response. Another surprise from Nintendo was the unveiling of a Grand Theft Auto:China Town Wars, for the DS as well as another Guitar Hero installment. On the Wii front is a sequel to Wii Sports called Wii Sports Resort that will include the aforementioned Wii Motion Plus. Nintendo has been able to keep the Wii systems flying off the shelves, and the company seems to be ready to keep fans pleased with a stream of great games.

Microsoft's line-up for the next year is also sequel driven and includes titles like Fallout 3, Fable II, Gears of War 2 and Resident Evil 5. The Xbox online service will also get a face-lift of sorts with a new interface and avatar system, similar to that of the Nintendo Wii. More downloadable content from movies and TV shows will also be available on Xbox Live and Microsoft is also teaming up with Netflix movie downloads. To the dismay of Sony, Final Fantasy XII is also on the way in the fall for the Xbox 360. Finally, there is a price drop on the Pro bundle with the 20gb hard drive to $299.99. Once they are sold out, they'll be replaced with a 60gb system for $349.99.

To sum up this year's E3 show - it was rather unimpressive. There are some really cool games coming, but nothing like the past two years. It seems that the big three consoles are trying to be more like each other in their new system features rather than striving toward something unique and different. Oh, how I miss the good old days when game companies would really stretch and take chances. With the downsizing of the E3 event it was just like any other trade show and that's a shame.

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