5 E3 2014 Gaming Highlights

Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft vied to create the most buzz

Published: June 12, 2014 03:30 PM

Photo: Nintendo

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.  

Get more news, tips, and reviews from our guide to video games, consoles, tech toys, and kid tablets.

Sony Project Morpheus
Photo: Sony

4. Project Morpheus was playable at the event

Unveiled at the Game Developers Conference back in March, Project Morpheus is Sony’s virtual-reality headset prototype. Like the Oculus Rift, it lets you experience games as if you were literally inside them, bringing first-person games to a new level. The headset changes viewpoints as you move your head around, and E3 attendees were able to interact with the virtual world thanks to the PlayStation Camera and Move controllers. Reports suggest that the experience was enjoyable, though it’s still in the prototype phase.

5. Games, games, games

Games were the biggest news at E3 this year. No matter which console you own, you’ll have plenty of great options between this year and the next. Here are a few of the big titles that were announced or showcased:

Xbox One exclusives

  • Halo: The Master Chief Collection
  • Halo 5: Guardians
  • Sunset Overdrive
  • Fable Legends
  • Crackdown

PlayStation 4 exclusives

  • Little Big Planet 3
  • Uncharted: A Thief’s End
  • Bloodborne
  • The Last of Us Remastered

Wii U exclusives

  • Hyrule Warriors
  • The Legend of Zelda
  • Mario Party 10
  • Mario Maker
  • Super Smash Bros.
  • Star Fox

Multiplatform titles

  • Assassins Creed Unity
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider
  • Rainbow Six Siege
  • Dragon Age Inquisition
  • Dead Island 2
  • Battlefield Hardline
  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

While Microsoft focused only on games at E3 2014, the company made headlines just before the conference when it announced that the Xbox One would be available without the Kinect for $400. The console is now in a better position to compete with the PlayStation 4, which has outsold the Xbox One up to now.

—Matt Ferretti

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