Key Trends from Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3)
The international gaming industry came together for E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo (June 16-18) – its annual flurry of showcases in Los Angeles. Here are three key trends that emerged from the presentations:
- Games You Can Touch: While the Skylanders, Nintendo Amiibo and Lego Dimensions franchises beam physical toys into digital games, American technology corporation Microsoft will use its holographic headset Hololens to drag game environments into augmented reality. Using Hololens, Minecraft gamers will be able to display and manipulate any game map as an augmented reality diorama. Players can interact with the digital game world as it blends with the physical space around them (see gif above).
- User-Generated Content: As we've noted in our Gaming Trends report, free-form creation and game modification is coming to the fore, and cropped up in major publishers' presentations.
Japanese publisher Sony's upcoming Dreams is an ambitious Playstation sandbox game (games without linear stories or objectives) that invites players to recreate their dreams, sculpting and animating surreal worlds for others to explore and interconnect.
Japanese game developer and publisher Nintendo will release Super Mario Maker, which lets gamers build their own classic Super Mario jump-and-run game levels. The game comes with an online community, where users can follow their favourite creators and challenge each other with their builds.
Similarly, the upcoming title in US game publisher Bethesda's first-person-shooter series Doom will come with the so-called Snapmap editor – a set of pre-built level modules, props, and booby traps that users simply drag into place to create levels. This editor makes the creation of own game content more accessible to those without programming skills.
Bethesda's long-anticipated Fallout 4 takes place in a world after a nuclear apocalypse. Here, a central game mechanic will be (re)building anything from pocket tools to inhabitable structures with parts salvaged from any object strewn throughout the game environment. This means screws for a new communications device may come from a toaster in a deserted kitchen, or a toy discarded in the undergrowth.
- Push into Mobile: Finally, established gaming franchises continue moving into the mobile gaming market. Tomb Raider, Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy all have mobile versions lined up for release, while Fallout series fans get both a standalone mobile game called Fallout Shelter (currently outselling Candy Crush in the App store) and a second-screen game tie-in app for Fallout 4.