Support our mission

LOS ANGELES — Competing views of the future took center stage Tuesday at the E3 Media & Business Summit 2008 in Los Angeles.

Nintendo described a vision of highly intuitive games that engage new players. The other Japanese titan, Sony, touted the superior technical wizardry packed into its platforms as a springboard to a robust future.

While Sony talked a good game, Nintendo spoke from a position of strength in the marketplace. It could crow about the vastly superior sales in the head-to-head competition between the Wii console and PlayStation 3 and the handheld Nintendo DS and PlayStation Portable.

As Nintendo’s president, Satoru Iawata, said, "We have learned that an intuitive interface can attract those who have never played video games before."

He cited the rapid increase in use of both DS and Wii by women and the elderly.

Nintendo used its press briefing two years ago to announce the Wii and last year to unveil its pressure-sensitive balance board, used in the popular "Wii Fit." This year’s briefing didn’t pack the same "wow" power. Reggie Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo of America, offered Wii MotionPlus and WiiSpeak

Wii MotionPlus is a small box that attaches to the base of a standard Wii Remote and boosts its sensitivity. It will come packaged with "Wii Sports Resort" when it’s released in the spring. The game will feature games in which you throw discs to a dog, ride a jet ski, and fence, among other things.

WiiSpeak is a microphone that will allow Wii players to converse online.

Nintendo officials also showcased a few upcoming games, including:

■ "Shaun White Snowboarding," which uses the Wii balance board to pull off sick tricks like the Olympic gold medalist performs.

■ "Animal Crossing: City Folks," a "Sims"-like simulation game aimed at kids. The game will allow friends to visit each other’s "towns" and even let them speak to each other using the WiiSpeak, which will be sold separately.

■ "WiiMusic," a game that will allow players to simulate more than 50 instruments using the Wii remote.

■ "Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars," which will be the thug game’s first appearance on the Nintendo DS handheld system.

In addition, the Wii will get its own versions of "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" and the military shooter "Call of Duty: World at War."

While Nintendo focused on the market of new gamers, Sony was poised to score some points with hard-core players.

Sony Computer Entertainment America’s president, Jack Tretton, preached about the vast potential available in the processing power, Blu-ray technology and storage space available in the PS3.

"We’ve just begun to scratch the surface of what we intend to offer in the months and years ahead," Tretton said.

The biggest announcement concerned new partnerships with major movie companies that will allow Sony to rent and sell videos via the PlayStation Network. Pretty cool … but the move simply helps Sony’s network catch up to Microsoft’s Xbox Live, which already offers 10,000 movies and TV shows and will offer even more once its recently announced partnership with Netflix goes into effect.

But Sony also showed off some dazzling PS3-only titles guaranteed to get gamers’ fingers twitching, including:

■ "MAG" — or "Massive Action Game" — which is a combination of a military shooter and an online multiplayer game. It will feature an ongoing campaign, character growth, squad-based tactics and a merit-based chain of command. The most impressive part is that each battle will accommodate up to 256 players — hence the need for a command structure.

■ "Resistance 2," which continues the war against humanity and alien Chimera.

■ "Little Big Planet," which allows players to create creatures and levels in a whimsical world.

■ "Rachet and Clank Future: Quest for Booty," which will sell on the PlayStation Network for $14.99.

Although several of its titles leaned toward being family-friendly, Sony just didn’t offer the diversity and simplicity that’s likely to eat into Nintendo’s share of that new-gamer market.

Stripes in 7

around the web

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up