Last Updated Jun 9, 2010 3:22 PM EDT
- Apple. Apple (APPL) is pulling in serious bank on the video game side, which is taking away from other companies' profits -- something even previously bulletproof Nintendo admitted. However, the real influence is Apple's smart integration of platforms. Microsoft (MSFT) showed off the XBox 360/XBox mobile XBox Live online environment as early as E3 2006, but it then got pushed to the backburner -- until Apple showed a similar iPod/iPhone/iPad gaming environment in January 2010. Suddenly Windows Mobile 7 has slick XBox Live integration, a move Microsoft said it could do literally years ago. Coincidence? No. Apple is preventing the big three -- Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony (SNE) -- from getting too comfortable.
- Actual innovation. Since the Nintendo Wii in 2006, the only tech innovations coming to the consumer has been a gratuitous number of guitars, drums, turntables, skateboards and other oversized joysticks. High-margin music and gadget-based games have jumped the shark and now there are real new products hitting the market, specifically the Wii-inspired Sony Move and the controller-free Microsoft Project Natal, both playable at next week's show -- and available to the consumers by year's end.
- Location, location, location. E3's problem of late has actually been the opposite of the maligned Consumer Electronics Show -- it actually got too small. Having 60,000-plus Los Angeles Conference Center attendees in 2006, the Electronic Software Association tried to "class it up" by turning it into an invite-only expo for only about 3,000 attendees set in a strip of Santa Monica hotels. This didn't work. The organizers quickly realized it was a bad call, shifting it back to the LACC and slowly building attendance back up. Video games are fun and farce, and, like Comic-Con, the biggest video game conference in America should reflect the decadent industry it represents.
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