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Brief Published: 13 Jun 2013

E3 Expo: Gaming Trends


The annual Los Angeles-based E3 trade show brings together the latest trends and releases in computer and video gaming. This year’s E3 expo (June 11-13) has generated ample buzz thanks to the release of next-generation gaming consoles from Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft, as well as some big-budget games.

Japanese conglomerate Sony’s PlayStation 4 console was well-received – as was the news that there are more than 140 games in development for it. More importantly, the issue of trading and sharing games in the future was addressed by Sony Computer Entertainment head Jack Tretton, who explained that Sony won’t impose any restrictions on trading or selling previously owned games – a policy which Microsoft’s Xbox is particularly strict on.

Unfortunately for American software company Microsoft, the expo’s pickier, expert audience was not enthusiastic about its Xbox One console (which is aimed at families). Add the fact that Sony’s is a whopping $100 cheaper, and it’s no surprise that jokey gifs such as this one are highlighting the cold response to Microsoft’s offering.

In terms of games, French video-game developer Ubisoft’s Assasin’s Creed series continues to excite, with its fourth edition Black Flag taking its hooded hero into a pirate-themed world. Similarly, US video game publisher Activision’s Call of Duty returns with its latest version, Ghosts, starring new recruits in an operations unit attempting to save America from a mysterious enemy. American developer EA’s Battlefield 4 joins it in the army-style stakes.

This year, Japanese consumer electronics company Nintendo focused heavily on its Mario series, with releases such as Mario Kart, Mario Golf, and The New Super Mario pushing the little Italian plumber to his licencing limits. But another surprise hit was its latest Smash Bros. game, which was a talking point thanks to The Villager – a creepy new character from the sweet children’s game Animal Crossing who has been given an evil edge (seen above).

Elsewhere, uproar was caused when Twitter user Anita Sarkeesian criticised Microsoft for the lack of female protagonist characters in its Xbox One slate of games this year. An abusive backlash from male gamers on the social media site raised an interesting discussion about the presence of women in gaming and traditional stereotypes of their roles.

The new Lara Croft character, designed and scripted by game designer Rhianna Pratchett (daughter of British fantasy writer Terry Pratchett) for the latest Tomb Raider game has moved on from the busty bombshell of previous years and now touts a much stronger, more realistic body image. Small steps such as these form part of the rise of female voices both online and in traditional media. See our Feminism.com report for more on this topic. 

Take a look at our latest gaming report Innovations in Gaming for more on the latest trends in game development.