What's New in Gaming: A Recap from E3

By Lars Feely

E3 is the largest video game trade show in the United States. Industry professionals from around the world gather at the expo to experience the future of interactive entertainment across computers, video game consoles, handheld systems, mobile and the internet.

Lars Feely, Group Planning Director at Neo@Ogilvy, shares his experience at E3 below.

As a video gaming aficionado, E3 was three days of pure heaven as I got a glimpse into the future of my gaming experiences.

I was thrilled to see the console games that will take up most of my time in the coming months when I need to escape the cold winter weather. As soon as the first frost hits, Activision holds my attention with their “Call Of Duty” Franchise. The next iteration will be released in early November in the form of “Black Ops 2″ from their TreyArch Studio. I can’t wait.

While first person shooters are my passion, it was impossible to walk by Ubisoft’s huge booth without stopping to stare at their numerous screens all showing off their upcoming titles. Assassins Creed 3 and Just Dance 4 stood out to me in particular. A group of dancers on stage showed off their amazing moves and how Just Dance 4 can capture the movements of four individuals simultaneously and rate their ability to stay in sync with their onscreen avatars movements. I just know my younger cousins are going to beat me at that game. I can already hear their taunting laughs this coming Thanksgiving.

Watch the Just Dance 4 Demo from E3

We’re moving into an era of gaming when the inputs for the experience are rapidly expanding. Nintendo’s new system, Wii U, is amazing. The controller itself is an extra screen. This feature allows for a number of vastly engaging player experiences.

Playing Zombie U on the new Wii U is a breakthrough experience both for Ubisoft as a developer and for Nintendo as the console owner. While playing the game, I could use the controller to kill the zombies in one room and then use the screen on the controller with its built in gyroscope to scan the virtual environment of the game and interact with it — a highly immersive experience.

No one is pushing the envelope as far as Microsoft’s Xbox team. In my opinion, they will change the way we interact with media in general. The Xbox team has launched SmartGlass, which will be available before the end of the year across all major devices and operating systems.

With SmartGlass, you will now have multiple input devices for your gaming and media consumption experience on the Xbox platform. The core idea is that we have started to use our external devices — laptops, tablets and phones — almost ubiquitously. I’m certainly guilty of using my phone while I watch a TV show.

I experienced a few demos of the SmartGlass capabilities, including a unique gaming experience when I controlled a knight through a vast dungeon and an iPad hooked up to the Xbox displayed a map that updated in real time showing my characters location in the game. At the same time, my phone was showing me my health, vital statistics and changed to show the statistics of one of my more powerful opponents as soon as that foe entered my screen. The gaming experience created is addicting to say the least, but there’s more to this app, quite a bit more.

Next, the team showed a movie on the Xbox. The iPad instantly became a source of incredible information pulled in from various sources around the internet. Here at Neo@Ogilvy, we would call that sourcing ‘of the moment’ data — data that’s important to tell the story of an experience or drive an insight for a customer. In this case, the iPad was telling me in real time which actors were on the screen, updating as quickly as the movie played out in front of me. It was capable of pulling in IMDB information about the actors, their history, personal life and what other films I may have seen them in. I was even able to hit pause as I read up on my favorite quotes from one of the actors, giving me control of the information I consumed. I was engrossed in the most interactive movie watching experience of my life.

And there’s still more… I met with a member of the Xbox team who took me through advertising opportunities associated with this new way of experiencing entertainment. I was shown a video of two children watching a show about giraffes in the wild. While watching the show, the children were prompted to answer quiz questions by touching their smart phone, laptop or tablet. At the end of the show, Xbox’s Kinect technology, which captures the motion in the room, became part of the experience when the children were prompted to follow along with the ‘Giraffe Dance’ and mimic what they saw on the TV.

My contact at Xbox challenged me to take what I learned about this technology and how they have created a multiple input entertainment system and think about how Neo could apply it to the successful campaigns of our clients. I’ve been speechless since watching how seamlessly the technology works. I believe that Xbox has the ability to redefine how the entertainment industry will work in the years to come.

That wraps up my E3 2012 highlights. I’m looking forward to seeing the gaming industry continue to evolve as these new games and new technologies hit the consumer market.

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