The E3 conference is currently underway in LA, showcasing the latest technologies in electronic entertainment and giving big studios the chance to share what they have planned with eager gamers worldwide.
Creative England's GamesLab team have given two South West based studios the unmissable opportunity to visit the event, attend panels and network with giants of the gaming industry. With day one done and dusted, each studio has reported back on their E3 experiences so far. Read their dev-diary entries below:
Richard Mackriell - aPriori Digital
It’s already been suggested that this year’s E3 is going to be one for the record books and today’s opening certainly backs this up.
It took most of the day to see everything but I thought it best to find out where/what was on show and who was likely to be available to talk to before diving into anything else. This also gave me an insight into what many of the larger companies are projecting as the 'future of gaming'.
The sheer quantity of Virtual Reality systems on display made it clear that this technology is being pushed in a big way and having already worked with the Oculus Rift this is something that I feel my company needs to be prepared for.
One of the largest front-runners in the VR scene is Sony, who were out in force with their first VR headset, Morpheus, having its own huge display. We are not currently licensed by Sony to develop for their Playstation platforms but this is something that we see the company moving towards in the near future and based on that, I would like to set-up a meeting with them to discuss how the approval process works.
There was also a plethora of new hardware peripherals being develop by different companies all looking for an edge over their competitors. These companies were showing off products such as light guns which plugin to your mobile and multi-directional treadmills which you stand on and can then walk/run on the spot when using a VR headset.
The types of product which I was most interested in however were more conventional things such as mice, keyboards and chairs. Thinking from an HR point of view, my company is likely to be investing in new computer rigs soon, as the ones we currently use are quickly becoming outdated and I’m looking to increase productivity and safety. For example a company called Bloody (previously a4tech) are making mechanical keyboards which use light detection to register input rather than a physical metal connection, reducing the pressure required to press a key and therefore the chance of causing RSI, as well as speeding up typing in general.
At one point during the day I had an ad-hoc interview from a blogger/journalist which was fantastic as it was the first time we have been able to access media outlets like this in the USA. Having now seen everything on offer at E3, my plan for tomorrow is to make contact with as many journalists and bloggers as possible to make connections and hopefully do some more interviews to raise awareness of the company and of our game Aperion Cyberstorm. It is really important for me to do this because the game is going to be released in the American region and this is the perfect opportunity to gain those essential interviews which will expose players to the product as well as future contacts in American media.
Finally I am going to request a meeting with Nintendo of America to talk to them in person about their values and aspirations for their “indie” partners. This contact time with them would be invaluable because although we are already working with them and in contact via email, we have not had a chance to be personable or put names to faces before. It would be nice to be able to go home with a better understanding of what support they are willing to give and in return what they would see as “worthy” product for their platforms. We would very much like to build a strong and lasting relationship with them and this understanding I believe would be of great benefit.
James Thorpe - Close Quarter Games
E3 got slammed pretty hard by the masses of eager entertainment junkies piling in when the doors opened. Naturally after being as close to the front of the queue as politely possible, I headed straight to the upcoming triple A mammoths I've been itching to get my grubby hands on. Following a show floor walkabout I dove into the IndieCade to talk to other developers that share our company's current woes.
Stories and opinions shared about the process of creating and marketing games as an indie proved to be insightful and motivating. Augmented and Virtual reality are being shown off pretty heavily this E3, with media company giants competing for public attention. I dabbled with Samsung's new mobile virtual reality headset, it has some interesting ideas but I'm not convinced just yet. Today I scratched the surface of the behemoth that is E3, and look forward to tomorrow's spoils.
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