E3, the World's Fair of video games, brings industry players (pun intended) together to showcase their latest and coming wares. Because Microsoft and Sony unveiled their next-generation consoles—the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, respectively—at last year's show, this year’s focus shifted to games and services. The hype was a little quieter, but there were some exciting announcements.
1. PlayStation TV is coming to the U.S. this fall
Originally called PlayStation Vita TV when it launched in Japan back in November, PlayStation TV is a hybrid between a Roku and a gaming console. The set-top box supports most PS Vita games and allows gamers to download titles from the PlayStation store. Through its remote play feature, PlayStation TV also lets users stream games from a PlayStation 4 console over Wi-Fi and will be compatible with the PlayStation Now service later this year.
The PlayStation TV can stream video from popular services such as Netflix and Amazon Instant Video while also providing access to Sony Unlimited Music service, and you can rent and purchase movies via the PlayStation Store. The PlayStation TV will be available in the fall for $99 or in a bundle with a DualShock 3 controller, 8GB memory card, and The Lego Movie Videogame for $139.
2. PlayStation Now enters open beta
PlayStation Now, Sony’s game-streaming service, will let PS4 owners stream PlayStation 3 games over an internet connection, starting July 31. Essentially the Netflix for video games, PlayStation Now now gives on-demand access to more than 100 titles at launch (no pricing yet). The service could be an answer to complaints that the PS4 is not backward-compatible with PS3 titles. PlayStation Now will be available on PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, PlayStation TV, and select Sony Bravia TVs later this year.
3. Nintendo announces Amiibo
Nintendo’s answer to Skylanders and Disney Infinity, Amiibo is a line of action figures based on Nintendo’s most popular characters, including Mario, Link, and Pikachu. These physical figures are brought to life in the digital realm by touching them against the Wii U GamePad when played with a compatible game. What sets these figures apart from their competitors is that each will work with multiple games, not just one title, and their exclusivity with Nintendo games.
Super Smash Bros. will be the first Amiibo compatible game and Nintendo plans to integrate the figures into games such as MarioKart 8 and Mario Party 10. Available this holiday season for the Wii U, the figures will also be compatible with 3DS handhelds via an add-on device sometime in 2015.