E3, while crazy, was mostly uneventful. There weren't really any surprises and we knew basically everything that would be shown there. The biggest event for E3 would have to be Nintendo announcing and allowing hands-on tests with their new WiiU console. Sony and Microsoft were still pushing the same stuff, so it was pretty quiet from them.
There were a few smaller games being developed that I got a chance to look at and comment on. These pre-alpha games didn't have the fit and finish of a studio game, but were good nonetheless. Most of the game studios were allowing hands-on demonstrations of their new games, although most weren't allowing any pictures or videos.
On the hardware front, there were a few smaller companies showing new products off, but there were no major releases from the major companies. Razer released the Taipan mouse, Raptorfire.com was showing off a new USB module which would allow Xbox controllers on PS3 and PS3 controller on Xbox, along with game mods.
On the gaming front, Borderlands 2 was shown off along with Crysis 3, The Sims, and pretty much every other major game that will be coming out anytime soon. I played Crysis 3 and Defiance and was extremely pleased with both. Defiance is a TV show turned game. Err, I mean game turned TV show. Err, I mean both.
Kingston was at ShowStoppers, an event that runs at the same time as E3, demoing their RAM and the fact that 64GB is needed and, in some instances, not enough. They were running an Adobe program on a 2011 Intel platform with all 8 slots loaded with 8GB sticks of HyperX RAM. CPU usage was around 12%, while RAM usage was at 94% when I grabbed a picture.
The real news from Kingston, however, was the launching of their new RAM to compliment the Ivy Bridge platform. Kingston is now shipping dual-channel RAM kits specifically designed for the third-generation Core line of products. Kingston HyperX memory is available in 16GB and 8GB kits of two at 1600MHz, 2133MHz, 2400MHz and soon to be speedy 2666MHz frequencies.
"The new 22nm architecture of this processor allows significant performance gains for benchmarkers, enthusiasts and overclockers," said Mark Tekunoff, senior technology manager, Kingston. "Enthusiasts who want to push the performance boundaries of the new processors will want to pair it with Kingston HyperX memory. Our 2666MHz kit combined with the top CPU in the Ivy Bridge family will allow unparalleled performance."
An exciting new technology to expand network connectivity in older homes was shown at E3. Entropic demoed a technology that is similar in function to Ethernet-over-power, but higher performance and more reliable. The technology involves using the existing Coaxial cable (common TV, cable wire) that is in almost every house.
Most people don't have the luxury of having Cat5e wired throughout their house, so this allows them to obtain higher, more reliable speeds than wireless without having to run new wire. "MoCA is the universal standard for home entertainment networking and can support multiple streams of HD video content while delivering up to 175 Mbps net throughput at less than 4.5ms of average network latency. MoCA has more than 100 certified products, which can give gamers:"
- Low latency, lag-free, Internet gaming across any platform
- HD-quality entertainment for over-the-top video streaming services
- Maximized high-speed broadband access from the cloud
The technology is already in use in cable modems and other adapters on the market, so it isn't exactly new technology. At the same time, however, it isn't exactly well known. I can see the promise in this technology and wouldn't hesitate to use it in my own home if the need arose.
NVIDIA was showing off their upcoming GRID technology which streams games to your television. GRID eliminates the need for high performance PCs or even consoles. Samsung is NVIDIA's launch partner and the technology requires the users have a Samsung SMART TV, but more companies could be added in the future.
I got a chance to mess around with the technology at E3 and have to say I am impressed. The games were streaming from a data center about 5 miles away and I didn't feel like I was lagging. That's my biggest worry with the technology: how will they guarantee no lag? Furthermore, the technology requires a pretty big internet pipe, something that not all of us have the luxury of having.
The minimum spec for the internet is 5Mbps, something unavailable where I live. This means that it would be impossible for me to use NVIDIA GRID technology. Additionally, they haven't decided if it is going to be a subscription based model or something else, so pricing and information like that is still up in the air.
But, the main point to take away from this is that it works, seemingly without lag, and looks great while doing it. The graphics shown were better than any console that I have played on and they were coming from a data center 5 miles away. This truly seems to be "a game changer."
The first night, I attended WeMade's press conference at ICON Ultra Lounge. The press conference was good, but I wasn't so impressed by the games shown. Not to say they were bad games, they just weren't something I would play. However, this is probably due to me not exactly being a mobile gamer.
The lineup included Chaos and Defense, Viking Island, Pet Island, Goblin Mobile, Friend Fighter, Rhythm Scandal, and Hero Square. Since the first night, I have been waiting patiently for screenshots and information about the games so I could tell you, the reader. Finally, the information has arrived.
Computex 2012 - We are done for yet another year of Computex and as usual we end with our booth babes video.
Around 10 minutes or 19,860 frames of Taiwanese beauty, enjoy!
Hit the play button above!
More shots of ASUS' gear, MATRIX 7970, multi-monitor gear and more stuff you'll want to throw money at
Computex 2012 - We covered the ASUS event previously, but the ASUS booth is filled with some amazing stuff. There's not much to say because the pictures will do the stall justice, with the start of this gallery a shot of 4-way GEFORCE GTX 680s, just, so, beautiful.
ASUS MARS III card powering 3 large screens in portait (a personal favorite!). Looks epic at such a large size.
A bit of both, MARS III to the left on 3 big screens, MATRIX 7970 to the right on 6 smaller screens. Just as epic.
A panoramic shot for scale, it turned out pretty good - what do you think?
Computex 2012 - Just like NVIDIA, we visited the Thermaltake grounds today as yesterday was floor to ceiling packed. Thermaltake really take care of you when you're there, and were some of the best guys and girls of the event so far. Ramsom is one of the best guys I've met since being in Taipei and we got to talking about various cases, peripherals, and more.
What impressed me the most were the Level 10, and Level 10 GT cases... I know my good friend Lee will be reading this right now and nodding his head in agreement. Next move he'll go to
Facebook and say "I told you so!", and so he should - these things kick arse. There are so many different variants of colors and themes of them at the booth, we're going to just show them off and stop talking about them, have a look.
Computex 2012 - I'm sure you're aware of our relationship with NVIDIA, and yesterday we walked through their stand in Nangang at Computex. I noticed that my badge was getting looked at by virtually everyone, so I don't know if the staff were told to look out for certain media, but it felt like it. I thought I'd ask for a t-shirt, lanyard, etc - as I'm still a fan of the company, but all I got was a lanyard. We decided to visit again today, and got the same looks, but had more time there as it wasn't so wall-to-wall crazy busy. First up we have the GEFORCE GTX 680 and some awards it won.
Next up we hit the ASUS ROG PCs, where there was a StarCraft II session happening with some pro-gamers, check out the shots below.
A nice panoramic so you can get a feel of the scale of the event itself.
Computex 2012 - Antec had a very, very sweet setup here in the halls of Nangang, where they had their new white-colored P280 case, with a high-specced rig inside. 4-way NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 680 cards, Intel's Core i7-3930K, but the surprising bit was it was powered by two power supplies. Antec's High Current Pro Platinum HCP-1300 and HCP-1000. Crazy, right? Check out the pics.
A nice shot of Antec's HCP-1000 Platinum with a side-window, unfortunately this won't be how it is in the box.
The range of colors for the Antec P280
Computex 2012 - Walking through these halls in Nangang is crazy, there is almost too much to see, which is sometimes overwhelming. Then you meet some great guys over at the GeIL booth and they walk you through some of their gear. GEiL are just one division of a three-part company. GEiL covers the memory/storage side of things, Epic Gear covers peripherals such as keyboards, mice and mouse mats, then finally we have power supplies covered by Thortech.
First up we have shots of the Meduza mouse from Epic Gear, which felt great in my hand. The mouse mat under it has 8 layers and can flex back on itself and is an absolute joy to use. I noticed it felt smoother than most other mice I've used at Computex and asked the guy if the monitor was a 120Hz screen, which it was. Nice to see GEiL using a super-smooth 120Hz screen to their advantage with a smooth mouse and mouse mat combo.
The Meduza sports dual-sensors, one optical, one lazer for precision. This is great for those who switch between first-person shooters and MMOs, there is a toggle for 'optical', 'host', and 'laser'. Another surprise was their Compoxite mouse mat which is completely water-proof. This is great for those gamer rage sessions where you might accidentally spill a drink across your mouse mat.
While I was standing in line for a Nyko product hands-on, the booth next to me was advertising this new game called "NBA Baller Beats." They had big name basketball stars there to promote it, along with younger athletes. However, I am deeming this game idea among on of the worst I have ever seen.
It's another Guitar Hero/Rockband rip off, but with a twist. Instead of strumming when a symbol reaches a point on the screen, you have to dribble a real basketball. The company is billing this game as the first to track a real ball using Kinect. Let's take a moment to point out the stupidity in this.
First, numerous people have carpet where they have their consoles. Second, most parents have a rule about playing with balls inside. Third, if I'm going to dribble and play with a basketball, why wouldn't I just go outside and do it? So, while it is cool that it can track the basketball, it really is a terrible game idea.
What are your thoughts? Is this a game you would be interested in purchasing and playing?
Computex 2012 - We've just walked through AverMedia's booth here in the halls of Nangang at Computex, and their Game Capture HD device is definitely looking great. If you haven't seen AverMedia's Game Capture HD, it's a small device that can connect up to your gaming console and record footage with no delay or lag.
Of course, taking pictures is just as easy and you can also use those taken pictures and use them as your background on your PC or PlayStation 3. This means if you beat your friend or break a record, you could rub it in their face whenever they see you by using it as your background. Something else that caught our eye was AverMedia's Live Gamer HD.
Live Gamer HD is a PCI-Express based card that has a H.264 hardware encoder built in, meaning you can record gameplay without much strain on your CPU and other bits. Live Gamer HD sports both input and output, HDMI and DVI ports and a dedicated 'record' button for instant response. It captures video right up to 1080p@60 which is not too bad at all.
Razer is promoting their new Taipan gaming mouse this year at E3. This new mouse is an ambidextrous mouse which means that it is designed to be comfortable for both left-handed and right-handed users. They had roughly 10 stations set up using this mouse along with their Razer Blade gaming laptop.
I got a chance to mess around with it and it's both comfortable and good. The technical aspects explain why it is so good, but the comfort of it is not always guaranteed. The mouse operates at 8200dpi and features laser and optical sensors, along with Z-axis tracking and cutoff. The specs of the product are:
- Ambidextrous form factor
- 8200 dpi 4G Dual Sensor System
- Razer Synapse 2.0 enabled
- Nine (9) programmable Hyperesponse buttons
- 1000 Hz Ultrapolling/1 ms response time
- Up to 200 in. per sec./50 g acceleration
- 2.1 m/7 ft. braided fiber cable
- Approximate Size : 124 mm/4.88 in. (length) x 63 mm/2.48 in. (width) x 36 mm/1.42 in. (height)
- Approximate Weight: 95 g/0.21 lb.
It's time for another round of awards, this time based on my experiences from day 2. Once again, these are based solely on my opinion and are for fun only. But, they are also meant to allow you to gain a better insight into the trade show happenings. Without further ado, let's begin.
The biggest fail award goes to WeMade Entertainment. I got quite the chuckle out of this marketing mess-up, almost as much as Intel's "Actual Size" 2-foot Atom processor mess-up. This time, WeMade was showing off the "World's largest iPhone." What it should have said was "World's largest iPad." Take a look for yourself:
Nintendo wins a couple of awards. First, I'm giving them the award for most booth babes. I swear there was one at every single demo station, of which there were quite a few. More importantly, I am awarding Nintendo with the honor of having the best way to get people to go through their booth. In this case, they gave you a pin for the different attractions you went to in Nintendoland.
Qualcomm Atheros, who I got a chance to speak with at Alienware's booth, wins best gaming networking device. There will be a post dedicated to this technology, but it is enough to say that this is an online gaming game changer. Basically, it allows for packet prioritization and yields lower latency for game packets.
Tomorrow is the last day of E3, so I will close it out with a best-of-show post. Until then, look for more detailed posts about the products and games shown.
I got a chance to check out some new technology by ViviTouch. This new vibrator technology has no moving parts yet provides firm and varying vibration. As opposed to traditional vibrators, the technology demonstrated by ViviTouch allows for directional vibrations which improves the feel of the game's vibrations.
ViviTouch installed the technology into an Xbox 360 controller and I got a chance to play with it for a little while. Let's put it this way: I tried to steal it. Not literally, of course, but I did ask them where I could buy one almost immediately after picking it up. Currently, there is no solution on the market.
In addition to the Xbox controller, they had installed the technology into a pair of headphones. The technology, which was turned off by pressing a button on the side, seemed to increase the quality of the sound. Human hearing is done by vibrations, so having the headphones vibrate puts those vibrations directly into the bones of the ear.
ViviTouch is hoping to get Microsoft and others to implement the technology in their products, so hopefully we will see it on the market soon. Until then, we will have to rely on the old, traditional vibration technology. Shame.
Nintendo is really pushing the whole WiiU thing at this E3. Their massive booth is almost entirely dedicated to the WiiU with many different demo stations demoing many different games. They had an interesting way of getting people to try out all 5 different "attractions" in Nintendoland: They gave a pin after you played the attraction hands-on.
I've spent a good hour with the WiiU now and can give you some idea of how it is. The tablet controller works much better than I previously thought it would. Players really only need to watch the tablet controller's screen in most instances. The TV provides a different view for those watching the game.
Since the tablet can display a completely different screen than the TV, it allows some forms of competitive play that would not be possible without it. For instance, in Luigi's Ghost Mansion, the player with the tablet plays as the ghost, and the rest of the players use a regular Wii controller to walk around hunting the ghost. You can see the obvious issues if everyone were watching the same screen.
I asked one of the demo people to hold up the tablet for a picture and they asked that the actual console be present in the picture of the tablet controller, but they didn't specify that it had to take up a large portion of the picture.
Some Australians have developed a gun controller that is compatible with the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC and doesn't rely on a sensor bar. The device keeps all of the buttons present on the Xbox/PS3 controller, just in a somewhat different layout. The right half of the controller moves to the back as the gun grip, and the left half moves to the front as a foregrip.
The only button, or rather stick, missing is the one typical for looking. Instead, that motion is done by physically moving the gun around. It comes with a bit of a learning curve (trust me, I tried!), but I believe it could make shooters easier in the long run. It definitely makes them more fun to watch.
A few of the buttons' placements seems a bit odd, but I'm sure with a little getting used to, that feeling would go away. Pricing in the US is said to $149 when it launches.
A new game from Boldai aims to make game programming accessible to everyone by allowing users to design and program games without any sort of technical knowledge. Blocksworld allows players to drag and drop blocks and then program them to do things through a drag-and-drop interface. The graphics are simple and so is what you can do, but I imagine the game could be fun.
There are currently 938 open free beta slots, so if you would like to check it out, sign up on Blockworld's website. The game features 4 main parts: build, play, share, and remix. First, players build an object, or anything really, by dragging different LEGO-like blocks into place. Once the blocks are in place, colors, textures, and custom behaviors can be added.
Once a player is content with the design, they then press play and watch the object or simulation come alive. The creations are basically endless in variety. Once happy with a design, the user can share it on Blocksworld.com, Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks so that everyone can marvel at your creativity.
Finally, the game features something called Remix. This feature allows users to download other people's creations and "trash it, tweak it, improve it and share your remix." The cool part is that the system keeps track of the remix history. I haven't gotten a chance to play with it aside from a 5 minute demo at E3, but I will be signing up for the beta. Check out the trailer below.
Sitting in the media lounge on an unreliable internet connection, I managed to catch bits and pieces of Nintendo's press conference. What I gathered is that Nintendo is really relying on the new WiiU to make a resurgence into the market. But, from what I saw, the WiiU isn't shaping up to be a system for hardcore gamers.
I know that Nintendo has never targeted the hardcore gamer market and I think that is why they are faltering. True, the new tablet controller offers interesting uses that will be able to find a niche market like the original Wii did, but I'm not quite sure how easy it will be to manipulate the controller and pay attention to two screens will be.
Additionally, the press conference seemed staged. I realize that almost all conferences are planned in advance, but that doesn't mean they have to seem like it. I was disappointed with the portions I managed to catch. Furthermore, there were no really interesting pieces of news, other than the WiiU. I will be going hands on the WiiU tomorrow once the show floor opens again.
I'm going to hand out some awards that are based solely on my opinion from what I have seen over the show. Some of them will be serious, some not so much, so without further ado, I shall begin.
I have to give Ubisoft the award for best press kit. No, it wasn't some amazing game or flash drive. Instead, it was a just a plain old business card with information on where to download it from. Well, why does it win? Because it is hilarious. Take a look for yourself:
Crysis 3 undoubtedly wins best game of E3 Day 1. Even in pre-alpha stage, the game has a polished look that we have come to love from Crytek. I was not allowed any pictures or videos of the game, but did post my hands-on thoughts already. I may be partial to the Crysis series, but if you had played the demo, I'm sure you would agree with me.
Activision has won the my award for most annoying booth. Don't get me wrong, the booth was awesome, but they had the music up just a wee bit too much out front. The Activision booth had a massive display across its entirety which had to be worth a few million. Underneath, they had alcoves in which visitors could walk into to view and demo games.
These are just a few awards for day one and a way for you to gain some insight into the trade show world. I'll be back tomorrow with another awards post that