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16 juin 2010 3 16 /06 /juin /2010 09:58

LOS ANGELES — If Nintendo and Sony have anything to say about it, 3-D is going to be the next big thing in gaming    (Sony Vaio VGN-FZ battery)     .

At the Electronic Entertainment Exposition, better known as E3, the two giant Japanese game makers on Tuesday touted their own visions of the 3-D future. The longtime rivals agreed that 3-D is about to go mainstream, with numerous 3-D games from top developers in the works, but each had its own vision for the technology    (Sony Vaio VGN-FZ battery)     .

Sony is focusing on the big-screen televisions in consumers' living rooms. Its PlayStation 3 console is capable of playing 3-D games on those TVs, thanks to a software upgrade the company made available in April    (Sony VGP-BPS8 battery)   .

"This is a whole other dimension for the PlayStation 3 and the industry," said Kaz Hirai, president and group CEO for Sony Computer Entertainment    (SONY VGP-BPS8 battery)    .

Nintendo is concentrating on a much smaller screen. The company plans to release a new version of its DS handheld dubbed the 3DS that will play 3-D games     (Sony VGP-BPL9 battery)    .

"We think there's a better way, where you can take 3-D with you wherever you go," said Reggie Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo of America    (Sony VGP-BPL11 battery)      .

Each company's version of 3-D has its own quirks. Sony's doesn't require consumers to buy a new game machine, but they will have to own (or buy) one of the new 3-D-capable televisions and the 3-D glasses that help produce the stereoscopic images. That kind of investment could easily run to more than $2,500    (Sony VGP-BPL15 battery)     .

Sony promises a lineup of some

Advertisement 20 3-D games by March, including titles sure to please core gamers, such as "Killzone 3," "Gran Turismo 5" and "Crysis 2."  (SONY VAIO VGN-FZ4000 Battery)   

While Nintendo's version of 3-D will require consumers to buy a new game machine, it will most likely be much more economical than Sony's. Nintendo hasn't announced a price yet for the 3DS, which will come out sometime before April. But consumers will be able to play 3-D games on the device itself, rather than needing to buy a new TV, and they won't need to wear special glasses to see the 3-D effect    (ASUS Eee PC 1000HE Battery)    .

"Man, those glasses, that sort of fashion-forward statement doesn't come cheap," Fils-Aime noted in a dig at living room 3-D technologies.

Among the 3-D titles in the works for the 3DS are "Madden NFL" from Electronic Arts, "Saints Row" from THQ and "Resident Evil" from Capcom    (Dell Inspiron 6400 battery)   .

E3 finds both of the Japanese console makers — and the industry as a whole — at something of a crossroads.

Nintendo has had unrivaled success in recent years with its Wii and DS devices. But the company's sales last year plunged 22 percent as sales of the Wii cooled off and Nintendo cut prices    (Toshiba PA3399U-2BAS Battery)    .

And the company faces increasing competition. Sales of Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation 3 have been picking up, and both companies are working on new motion-sensing accessories that will potentially rival the Wii's controllers. On the handheld side, Apple's iPhone and iPod touch devices have become popular game machines    (IBM ThinkPad T40 Battery)   .

Sony, meanwhile, still finds itself mired in third place behind Nintendo and Microsoft. And while sales are ramping up, they still are anemic compared with what the company was able to achieve with its PlayStation 2    (Sony VGN-FZ460E battery)     .

Boosting sales of the PlayStation 3 is going to be crucial for the company because sales of its predecessor are finally starting to tail off, and sales of its PlayStation Portable handheld system have fallen off a cliff    (Dell Inspiron 6000 battery).

Given that, the two companies' events Tuesday were as notable for what the companies didn't discuss as for what they did.

Nintendo, for instance, spent little time talking about the Wii beyond highlighting some of the new games for the platform. It may have been a bit much to expect the company to introduce a high-definition version of the game console — as some analysts have been calling for — but it didn't even discuss its so-called Vitality Sensor, which it unveiled at E3 last year   (Dell Inspiron E1505 Battery)    .

The company last year touted the accessory, which is a glorified pulse meter, as a gadget that will enable whole new styles of games, much as the Wii Balance Board has. But none of those were on display Tuesday    (Fujitsu Lifebook S6120 battery)    .

As for Sony, some analysts had predicted that the company would unveil a successor to the PSP. Instead, all Sony announced was a new selection of games for the PSP and a new marketing campaign to try to reinvigorate sales of the handheld    (Apple M9848LL/A battery)    .

Sony did talk about its new Move motion controller. The controller is set to hit store shelves in the U.S. on Sept. 19, but the price of the entire system needed is likely to disappoint consumers and analysts    (Apple A1281 battery)     .

For the system to work, consumers will have to have not only a Move controller, at a cost of $50, but also an Eye Web cam, which costs about $40. And they'll probably want the navigation controller, which attaches to the Move controller and costs an additional $30    (ASUS A3000 Battery)    .

Sony plans to offer a new PlayStation 3 bundle that includes a Move controller, a console, the Eye camera and "Sports Champions," a Move-compatible game, for $400. That's double the price Nintendo charges for the Wii       (Dell INSPIRON 1525Battery)     .

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