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Mon, 30 May 2005

E3 the press way

Before E3 even started the new Xbox 360 was spinning its wheels and leaving a haze of smoke that was quickly blown away by Sony's announcement of the technical details of the new PlayStation 3 which had most people muttering "wow".

Then the new Nintendo model -- sleek and small and finally able to be at least a bit player in the convergence game. The end game, of course, brings in the games developers and publishers and it will be interesting to see how it all pans out.

E3 is not just about three companies of course. There is a huge number of other people concerned and they churn out press releases during these few days like there's no tomorrow and like there's people actually reading them, which there are because you never know what little gems might be there amidst the hysterical hyperbole.

Here are some, including those of the show itself ...

E3 the word’s premiere interactive trade event and the most important dates in the industry's year More than 1,000 computer and video games and related products will make their debut at the 11th annual Electronic Entertainment Expo 2005 (E3) May 18-20, according to exhibitor survey data released today by the show's owner, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). The show, which is completely sold out, will host more than 400 of the world's leading interactive entertainment companies in more than 540,000 net square feet of exhibit space at the Los Angeles Convention Center (LACC). The trade-only show is the premiere product launching pad for the global interactive entertainment industry. The E3 exhibitor survey results also show that consumers will not have to wait long to buy the products previewed at the event, as more than 4,000 (81 percent) of all products shown will be available on store shelves this holiday season. While consumers cannot attend E3 2005, they can visit the show virtually through E3 Insider www.e3insider.com

Overall, more than 5,000 products will be shown at E3 2005. The nearly 300 exhibitors who participated in the survey were asked to provide details of what they consider to be their top-tern products at the event. According to survey respondents, top-ten titles at E3 2005 will fall into the following categories:Action/Adventure games (19 percent); Role Playing games (13 percent); Sports/Driving/Racing games (11 percent); Child/Family games (6 percent); Strategy games (5 percent); Simulation games (4 percent); Educational/Edutainment games (3 percent); Arcade games (3 percent); Other games (4 percent).

This is the start of the HD Era, according to J Allard and Bill Gates. Although the phenomenon has yet to reach Europe to any significant degree, high definition televisions are - it's claimed - becoming a de facto part of living room audio-visual systems across North America and the Far East. Xbox - and even PlayStation 2 - already support HDTV to a limited degree, but for Xbox 360, Microsoft has committed to supporting even the top-end HD resolutions in all software. This is unlikely to be a unique feature for Xbox 360 - expect both the next-generation PlayStation and Nintendo's Revolution to supply an equal level of support for HDTV - but according to Microsoft, it's a very significant step for home entertainment, and one which will not only bump up the resolution, but will change the way that consumers perceive games. Every game will now support custom soundtracks, according to Allard. Many will support the ability to grab new content off the revamped Xbox Live service, be that new character models and levels, new weapons, new parts to modify your car in a racing game, or any one of a host of other micro-components that allow the player to shape their game experience to their own tastes.

Gameloft, a leading developer and publisher of games for mobile phones exhibits an eclectic mix of genres that range from sports to action/adventure to casual games. "This year's line-up really demonstrates the depth and diversity of our talent," said Michel Guillemot, President, Gameloft. "This will be an opportunity for us to showcase the best in mobile games and provide consumers a glimpse in what's to come for 2005." NCsoft Europe (NC-E) is headquartered in Brighton, England and is part of Korea-based NCsoft Corporation, the world's leading developer and publisher of online games. NCsoft's games represent the company's varied offering of massively multiplayer online (MMO) game titles. NCsoft CEO Tack Jin Kim said, "NCsoft will showcase a very diverse lineup of blockbuster online entertainment products at E3 this year, which solidifies our commitment to leadership in the global MMO industry."

Online computer game publisher is showing blockbuster product line, featuring Auto Assault, City of Villains, Guild Wars and Tabula Rasa. THQ will showcase titles aimed at core gamers for Microsoft's next-generation Xbox(R) video game system on the show floor and will be demonstrating several Windows PC exclusive titles including Company of Heroes and Titan Quest. In addition to these never-before-seen core gaming titles, THQ will be featuring three other highly acclaimed original properties, including Juiced, Destroy All Humans and the sequel to its critically acclaimed franchise Full Spectrum Warrior. THQ will also present its current generation system product portfolio geared at the mass market, one of the most expansive in the industry, including Disney Presents a Pixar film The Incredibles: Rise of the Underminer, Tak(TM): The Great Juju Challenge, SpongeBob SquarePants(TM): Lights, Camera, PANTS!, Scooby-Doo!(TM) Unmasked and Bratz(TM): Rock Angelz.

www.gogamer.com the premiere online gaming retailer specializing in PC games and the original creator of the 48 Hour Madness(TM) specials will be showcasing the high-end VirtualGT Pro-PC Race Car Simulator, the precision head-tracking game controller TrackIR(TM), and PC game controllers from Razor, Saitek, Flexiglow(TM) and MonsterGecko. GoGamer.com, owned by CompuExpert/Game-Xpert, Inc., is the fastest-growing online gaming retailer and price-cut leader of software, hardware and gaming accessories for the PC, Mac, and popular video game systems: Microsoft Xbox, Sony PlayStation, and Nintendo's GameCube and GameBoy. "PC and video gaming is more sophisticated than ever and gamers are wanting a more immersive and realistic gaming experience, which is why we have expanded our product offerings to meet this demand," says Ammar Adra, president of GoGamer.com. "At this year's E3, we are showcasing a couple of virtual gaming products that provide gamers with the most realistic experience possible. At our booth, attendees can test drive the VirtualGT, an adrenaline boosting racing simulator that's as close as you can get to the real thing, and the innovative TrackIR 3 Pro(TM) with Vector Expansion(TM), which automatically tracks a gamer's natural head movement and translates it to the virtual game environment on screen. These virtual products are sure to impress."

Electronic Arts (Nasdaq:ERTS) announced its robust line-up of videogame titles EA's 2005/2006 roster of EA SPORTS(TM) and EA(TM) branded games for the Xbox(R) video game system from Microsoft, the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system, PSP(TM) handheld entertainment system, Nintendo GameCube(TM), Nintendo DS(TM), PC and mobile phones. EA brings to the show its broadest array of titles in the company's 23-year history. The preeminent EA SPORTS line-up is complimented by a stunning array of new games from highly-acclaimed EA franchises including: Need For Speed(TM), The Sims(TM), Battlefield and Burnout(TM). Will Wright's highly-anticipated next project, SPORE(TM), also will be at the show by appointment only. The Godfather(TM), James Bond 007(TM): From Russia With Love(TM), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire(TM), Batman Begins(TM) and Marvel Nemesis(TM): Rise of the Imperfects(TM) round out EA's line-up of action/adventure titles, making it the strongest line-up of world-famous licensed entertainment properties. "What EA is bringing to E3 this year is a culmination of years of innovation, creativity and dedication to making games that consumers want to play," said Don Mattrick, EA's President of worldwide studios. "The games we have in development across platforms are unprecedented, especially when complimented by our next generation offering -- EA's line-up truly is a gamer's dream come true."

About E3 E3 is the world's premiere trade show for computer and video games and related products. The show, now in its eleventh year, is owned by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the U.S. association dedicated to serving the business and public affairs needs of the companies publishing interactive games for video game consoles, handheld devices, personal computers, and the Internet. For more information, please visit www.e3expo.com or www.theesa.com "The more than one thousand products debuting at E3 2005 are examples of the innovation and creativity that will drive industry growth in the coming year," said Douglas Lowenstein, president of the ESA, the trade association that represents U.S. computer and video game publishers and owns E3.

WD Unveils Simple-to-Use Network Hard Drive at E3 Expo WD's NetCenter(TM) Network Drive Lets Users Easily Centralize and Share Data and Print From Any PC and Macintosh(R) Computer on the Network

LOS ANGELES, May 18 /-- Western Digital Corp. introduced its NetCenter(TM) network hard drives for small office and home users. NetCenter network drives are the newest addition to the WD Essential(TM) external hard drive product family. WD's NetCenter network drives will be available next month (June 2005) in capacities ranging from 160 to 320 GB and are perfect for small office and home users who want to centralize and share their digital files and/or connect and share up to two printers on a computer network. With WD's NetCenter network drives, users can also create private, password-protected folders; back up files from any computer on the network; access files anytime from any computer on the network, even when all other computers are powered off; and connect additional external hard drives to increase storage capacity for multiple computers on the network. WD's NetCenter network drives also allow for real-time duplication of data.

NetCenter network drives feature: -- WD Caviar(R) SE 7,200 RPM hard drive inside for fast, quiet and cool operation without a fan -- 10/100Base-T Ethernet connection -- Common Internet File System (CIFS) for platform-independent file sharing -- Two hot-swappable USB host ports -- WD EasyLink utility to set up NetCenter as a local drive on any computer on the network -- NetCenter Manager software to easily view system status, share folders and printers, set up mirroring for real-time duplication of disk data, create and resize volumes -- Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) client for automatic assignment of TCP/IP addresses -- Automatic power management when the NetCenter hard drive is idle -- Kensington(R) security slot

Suggested retail pricing is $399 USD for WD's NetCenter network drive with 320 GB capacity (model WDXE3200JBN). To mark the introduction of WD's NetCenter network drives, customers who pre-order a NetCenter network drive 320 GB capacity from WD's online store (www.westerndigital.com/e3) by May 31, 2005, will receive $30 off and free standard shipping.

A demonstration may be viewed on the company's Web site at www.westerndigital.com/e3

. Brut Racing Funny Car Driver Ron Capps Helps Promote NHRA Championship Drag Racing at E3 Expo LOS ANGELES, May 17 -- ValuSoft, a division of THQ Inc. announces that Ron Capps and his Brut Dodge Stratus Funny Car from Don Schumacher Racing will blast into the Los Angeles Convention Center May 18 during the 2005 E3 Expo to help introduce ValuSoft's NHRA Championship Drag Racing. The game, which is rated "E" for Everyone, is being developed for the PlayStation(R) 2 computer entertainment system. Vivendi Universal Games and 50 Cent Pull Back the Kevlar to Reveal 50 Cent: Bulletproof at E3 Expo 2005 Eminem and Dr. Dre Join the Cast as the Characters 'McVicar' and 'Grizz' in 50 Cent's Upcoming Video Game

LOS ANGELES, May 18 Vivendi Universal Games ("VU Games") and 50 Cent today debuted 50 Cent(R): Bulletproof(TM) at the Electronic Entertainment Expo ("E3"), the game industry's largest global event, May 18-20, 2005. In his videogame debut, 50 Cent, the multi-platinum global hip-hop sensation, is the star of 50 Cent: Bulletproof, an explosive new game coming this fall to PlayStation(R) 2 computer entertainment system, Xbox(R) video game system from Microsoft, and PSP(TM) (PlayStation(R) Portable) entertainment system in 2006. 50 Cent: Bulletproof will feature an unprecedented lineup of the hottest recording artists in the music industry today, including 50 Cent and G Unit's Tony Yayo, Lloyd Banks and Young Buck, as well as Eminem and Dr. Dre, who will be making their interactive debuts as the characters "McVicar" and "Grizz." 50 Cent: Bulletproof will feature new songs from 50 Cent recorded exclusively for the game, music from Get Rich or Die Tryin', The Massacre and 50 Cent and G Unit music videos. In addition, the game will offer a sound studio mode in which gamers can mix and match new original freestyles by 50 Cent with new beats straight from the G Unit camp. Now with the release of The Massacre, easily the most anticipated album of 2005, 50 Cent will continue his dominance of the hip-hop world and beyond.

Qntum3D Demonstrates America's Army on Expedition at E3 Show Attendees Can Don Quantum3D Immersive Man-Wearable Embedded Training Platform To Experience Expedition First Hand LOS ANGELES, May 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Quantum3D(R), Inc., a leading provider of COTS, open-architecture, realtime visual computing solutions for the Visual and Sensor Simulation Training (VSST) and Embedded Visual Computing (EVC) markets is demonstrating the America's Army(TM) video game at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) on Expedition(TM), the Quantum3D wireless, immersive, self-contained, man-wearable, open-architecture COTS platform that provides deployed troops with embedded training, simulation, and mission rehearsal capabilities. Expedition units are on demonstration in the US Army booth South Hall # 1608 and at the South Hall entrance. Announced in February of this year, Expedition is based on technology developed by Quantum3D subsidiary CG2 and Quantum3D for the U.S. Army Research Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM) for the RDECOM Distributed Advanced Graphics Generator and Embedded Rehearsal System (DAGGERS) Program. Expedition integrates the latest in binocular OLED helmet mounted display (HMD) technology with a correlated three degree-of-freedom head/body/weapon motion tracker system, a M4A1 training weapon with Quantum3D patent-pending wireless weapon input controller, Quantum3D THERMITE(TM) Tactical Visual Computer and load-bearing vest with accessories to provide a compact, man-worn embedded training system complete with surround sound and voice command, weapon-mounted synthetic environment scene and motion control, and IEEE 802.11 wireless LAN for coordinated squad-level interaction. Expedition is compatible with Windows(R) XP, IEEE 802.11, Open GL(R) 1.3, DirectX(R) and most game- based applications as well as other training and simulation industry standards. Web site: www.quantum3d.com/

GameFREQ Comic Book Creator Launched by Planetwide Games at E3 Self-publishing software allows players to create customized comic books of actual "RYL: Path of the Emperor" gameplay.

LOS ANGELES, May 18 Planetwide Games www.ryl.net/ announced today that it has launched GameFREQ Comic Book Creator, a patent pending self-publishing software product that allows video game players to create customized Comic Books of their actual Gameplay, according to Planetwide Games President, Kevin Donovan. GameFREQ Comic Book Creator will be made available to the video games industry for other video game titles. "RYL: Path of the Emperor" is the first MMORPG to offer a $1,000,000 Grand Prize to the winner of a Player vs. Player Skill-Based Tournament. The "RYL" qualifying tournament will start July 1, 2005 and will end April 30, 2006, culminating in a "RYL: Path of the Emperor" Final Tournament event to be broadcast live and to take place in conjunction with the E3 Video Game Expo in May 2006. Interested players can view more details about the tournament rules and regulations at www.ryl.net/" "RYL: Path of the Emperor" is a persistent universe or role-playing game (RPG). "RYL" players start off at Level 1, with minimal skills and abilities, but over time they gain experience points, through achievement, which allows them to advance to Level 2, and beyond. As "RYL" players advance to each level they discover new and stronger skills, which assist them in their ability to try and survive during all encompassing battles against powerful monsters. In the game, players can choose from 20 character classes and assume the role of a Warrior, Cleric, Mage, and Assassin and then explore the many exotic locations within boundless miles of terrain and virtual real estate. In "RYL: Path of the Emperor," players meet other players in a diverse real time environment where thousands of players simultaneously compete and take part in specific quests and missions, fight monsters and other players, battle in Guild vs. Guild duels, buy, sell and trade virtual merchandise, build fortresses and even raise their own virtual Dragon. Lastly, "RYL" players have the chance to receive the ultimate gaming reward; to become the actual Emperor of "RYL," Rule over the Land and win $1,000,000. Some of the many innovative features of "RYL: Path of the Emperor" include:

  -- True Player vs. Player (PVP) Action
  -- Guild vs. Guild Battles
  -- Customized Character Creation
  -- Hundreds of Quests
  -- Compelling and Intuitive Combat System
  -- Innovative, Customizable "Skill System"
  -- Upgradeable and Limitless Armor and Weapons System
  -- Build Fortresses
  -- Raise a Virtual Dragon for Battle
  -- Create Flying Siege Gliders
  -- Commandeer Battering Rams
  -- Persistent Universe
  -- Thousands of Miles of Treacherous and Exotic Terrain
  -- Virtual Real Estate Ownership
  -- Become the Emperor and Rule the Land
  

All that dragon stuff makes you thristy. Until next time ...

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