Virtual reality, 4K gaming, esports, and entertainment-based commerce are among the new developments expected to be highlighted this week during the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles.
Kicking off tomorrow and running through Thursday at the Los Angeles Convention Center, the gaming-focused E3 Expo, now in its 23rd year, is open to the general public for the first time. The Entertainment Software Association (ESA), which organizes the event, made 15,000 tickets available for purchase in February.
Another first for this year's expo, the E3 Coliseum, will feature two days of panel discussions and presentations designed to "connect video game fans with the biggest names in entertainment." The E3 Coliseum, being staged by The Game Awards show producer Geoff Keighley, will be streamed live on Twitch, with a number of presentations also being made available to participants via Facebook.
Microsoft Reveals 'Project Scorpio'
Many companies have already started previewing new products and services to be officially unveiled over the next few days. Microsoft, for instance, announced yesterday that it would be releasing a new Xbox device for 4K gaming, the Xbox One X, in November.
Developed under the code name "Project Scorpio," the Xbox One X is designed to provide "immersive true 4K gaming when paired with a 4K display," Microsoft said in a statement. The company also took the wraps off 42 new or redesigned games created with the Xbox One X in mind, including a role-playing game called Ashen, a post-apocalyptic multi-person game called The Darwin Project, and a new version of Minecraft that will be playable not only only gaming devices but on mobile devices, VR devices, and Windows 10 PCs as well.
Priced starting at $499, the Xbox One X is set to hit the market on Nov. 7. Games and accessories for the Xbox One will be compatible with the new console, but will play better, with "better textures, smoother framerates and faster load times, even on a 1080p TV," Microsoft said.
VR, AR, Esports, and More
The E3 Coliseum, which will run at the expo tomorrow and Wednesday, is scheduled to feature presentations on a variety of topics by well-known figures from both the gaming and non-gaming worlds. For example, a "World Builders" session set for tomorrow, will include Nerdist Industries CEO Chris Hardwick, astrophysicist and "Cosmos" host Neil deGrasse Tyson, and "Guardians of the Galaxy" director James Gunn.
Other presentations to be held during the E3 Coliseum include an inside look at the video game producer Bungie, a discussion about which games are likely to create the next online gaming superstars, a conversation between gaming industry veteran Tim Schafer and actor/comedian Jack Black, and an exploration of new developments in virtual reality, augmented reality, and gaming.
Among the exhibitors appearing at this year's E3 are Packagd, a platform that recently came out of stealth mode to unveil a new app called Unboxed. Funded by $7.5 million in venture capital investments, Packagd aims to create new ways to monetize the unboxing concept in gaming.
"Our vision for Packagd has evolved over the last 10 years, inspired by how 'commerce as entertainment' helped traditional players like HSN and QVC build multi-billion dollar empires during the TV era," Packagd CEO Eric Feng said last week in a statement. "Using video to drive commerce is not a new concept, but Packagd has the opportunity to bring this user experience to a new generation of mobile consumers."
This year's E3 will also feature a new E3 Sports Zone, offered through a partnership between the Entertainment Software Association and esports company ESL. The area will highlight "the exploding growth and interest in esports," the ESA said.