Bare Knuckles | Eagerly awaiting the E3

Web sites give Expo updates as Sony and others reveal plans.

Posted: July 06, 2007

We recently discussed next week's Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). Basically, it's gone from a circus of battling stage shows to a smaller format, less of a marketing-driven atmosphere.

That won't stop the latest information from almost instantly pouring onto Internet gaming sites.

The biggest sites, such as IGN.com and Gamespot.com, already have E3 sections posted to anticipate info on such highly prized titles as Killzone 2 for the PlayStation 3, Halo 3 for the Xbox 360, Crysis for the PC crowd, and Metroid 3 for the Wii, although the latest from Nintendo is that the completely new Samus shooter won't be out till late August.

Microsoft already has announced that it will offer "E3: Bringing It Home" for Xbox Live members, with new E3 demos and trailers hitting next Tuesday.

No word at this writing on whether Sony or Nintendo will use their online networks for similar promotions.

In one of my super rare comments aimed specifically at parents, I have two things. First, this is a good time to check out the rest of this year's offerings. Second, sometime next week, you might sit down with your kid(s) and surf the Web, looking at the new hot stuff. Not only is it fun - heck, you might find a game you want - but it is an easy way for young gamers to play the knowledgeable ones for once. Most of the time, it is the other way around.

Manhunt 2 ... Part 2

Although the British Board of Film Classification has effectively banned Rockstar's Manhunt 2 from the U.K., 1,045 signatures in opposition are attached to an online petition posted on the official No. 10 Downing Street Web site, the nation's government online portal.

"The BBFC have recently refused to rate the video game Manhunt 2. As such, adults in this country will never be allowed to play this game. Adults should be allowed to make their own decisions with regard to what video games they want to play," it reads in part.

Now that isn't a lot of signatures, and it is mostly academic because Take Two, Rockstar's publishers, has delayed plans to release the game ... anywhere.

A conundrum

Backed up by video rental chain Blockbuster's decision to favor Blu-ray movies over HD-DVD, some movie studios are trying to drive up Blu-ray player sales by offering five free movies when you purchase one.

But buyers have a list of only 21 movies available in this format. Some are worth it (Blazing Saddles, Kiss of the Dragon), some are garbage (Omen '06, Stealth), and some are just plain odd (The Devil's Rejects in HD is just wrong).

The good news is that the purchase of a Sony PS3 can earn gamers the five free movies, as well. So, will this help the sagging sales of the PS3?

Not really, according to a recent study by the Diffusion Group, a Dallas-based market-study organization. The report found that 80 percent of consoles in homes have the ability to play DVDs and/or download and watch films from the Web.

Yet just 14 percent are used for movies. " ... Very few of these devices are connected to the Internet, and even though these same platforms may feature a high-definition DVD playback system, very few consumers are using them for nongaming media applications," said the report's author, Dale Gilliam III.

I am not sure this study is accurate, as I don't know any PS3 owners who don't have at least one Blu-ray movie. If this study is accurate, the PS3 could be in more trouble, as the Blu-ray aspect of the console is half of the reason to get one. If no one is using it for movies, then the $600 price tag is a huge barrier to mass success. As for Microsoft's Xbox 360, I think it is fair to say that the HD-DVD add-on was an experiment (which has pretty much failed) to gauge interest in the format, and little more. Besides, they are putting their money in content downloads (analysts expect the Xbox Live Marketplace to earn about $100 million this year).

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