Gamescom: Let The 3D Gaming Commence

Fri, Aug 20, 2010, 01:00

EUROPES LARGEST games fair kicked off this week, with motion-sensitive controllers and 3D gaming once again dominating discussions.

Held in Cologne, Germany, Gamescom gives the industry a preview of what to expect, with games developers and hardware showcasing upcoming releases

This year’s exhibition, which closes on August 22nd, provided insight into the changing strategies of games firms, with both Microsoft and Sony indicating their consoles will have longer lifespans.

Microsoft vice-president for interactive entertainment business in Europe Chris Lewis said the firm expects to offer the Xbox 360 for the next five years, expanding the lifespan of the console to 10 years. Sony’s executive vice-president Kazuo Hirai outlined a similar goal for the PlayStation 3, with both consoles relying on new services and features such as motion-sensitive controllers to lengthen their appeal. Sony this week introduced two PS3 models with larger hard drives.

“Kinect really gives us, I think, a very genuine additional five years,” Mr Lewis said. “What Kinect does is broaden us out to users that we weren’t addressing in the past.”

Both firms are playing catch-up with Nintendo, whose motion-activated Wii controller helped give it the market lead. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has said the release of his company’s next-generation console will hinge on 3D features. However, the company may wait until more than 30 per cent of televisions in homes have 3D capability.

Microsoft’s Lewis also said it’s too early for 3-D gaming to take off. “We are two to three years away from that, till the price point comes down, till the experience is sufficiently social, that you don’t sit there with big glasses on and don’t talk to your family,” he said. “That will happen, there’s no doubt.”

– (Additional reporting, Bloomberg)