Video gaming conference debuts motion control

June 16, 2010 7:16:16 PM PDT
For video game enthusiasts, the place to be this week is Los Angeles. That's where the largest gaming convention of its kind is underway. Some of this latest technology is what your children could be asking for this holiday season.

Video games aren't just for couch potatoes anymore. To keep up with the new generation of video games, you've got to be able to keep up.

"Everybody has always wanted to be a musician. Well now you can feel like you're a dancer," says Sarah Smith from San Mateo.

This is the big game of the gaming industry -- the Annual Electronic Entertainment Expo. Known simply as E3, 40,000 gaming industry experts can be found dancing, jumping, and bowling to the latest technology at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

The stars of the show are 3D videos and new motion-control games like Microsoft's Kinect. There are no hand-held controls required; small cameras bring your movements into the game.

Want a pet tiger without the troubles of a live one? A digital one understands verbal commands, recognizes the person's face and even comes without the fierce attitude.

Video games lost more than $1 billion in sales last year. Now companies hope these new games -- some where gamers can see themselves on the TV screen and play with cute little characters -- become the big ticket items come Christmas.

"I think the game industry is roaring back in 2010. They really want to bounce back from the recession and they're not really deterred by some of their losses. It's a $10 billion industry that took like a 10-percent hit last year, but it's not really slowing them down," said Bay Area technology reporter David Downs.

Bay Area companies like Namco Bandai Games America Inc. keep up with industry dominators like Nintendo and Sony by constantly changing. For example, Pac-Man which was created in Santa Clara 30 years ago, has gotten a facelift.

"That's what keeps the industry exciting. That's what keeps the energy and the momentum is all the new developments," says Namco spokesman Todd Thorson.

If it requires energy to develop these games, it requires even more to play them.


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