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At the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, it has become clear that Nintendo’s upcoming Wii console is grabbing the attention of show attendees at a much faster pace that the Playstation 3 or Xbox 360.

At the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, it has become clear that Nintendo’s upcoming Wii console is grabbing the attention of show attendees at a much faster pace that the Playstation 3 or Xbox 360.

While Nintendo has created an impressive booth with 27 games running on even more stations, it is nearly impossible for most attendees to get a glimpse at the titles. A few minutes after the show opened, Nintendo estimated the wait to reach a game station at about four hours. By 10 am, the wait had increased to six hours. By our estimates, there were at least 1000 people in line waiting, especially for a first look at Ubisoft’s Red Steel first person shooter.

Nintendo informed us that the playing time for each attendee is limited to five to 15 minutes, depending on the title. The last person standing in line mentioned that he feels that the Wii console “is the biggest thing at the show,” but he still did not intend to spend most of the time of his “first E3” waiting in line. 30 minutes later, when still had not made even an inch forward, he decided to leave.

Interestingly, there is hardly any wait at the Sony and Microsoft booth. People can test drive Xbox 360 and PS3 titles within five minutes of wait or less.

“The Wii’s graphics are certainly improved over the Game Cube,” said Jon Erensen, an analyst at Gartner, “but they’re talking more about how games ‘feel.'” With emphasis on its innovative new controller, he said, Nintendo is looking to open up the gaming world to people who have never played video games before.

Like an expert marksman in some high-end video game, Nintendo fired its best shots at E3  trying to pick off Sony’s official unveiling of PlayStation 3 and Microsoft’s announcement of Live Anywhere, a cross-platform gaming network. Downplaying graphics that set your hair on fire in favor of gameplay that puts a smile on your face, Nintendo is trumpeting the dynamic interaction that the motion-sensing controller of its new Wii game console offers.

With the controller, gamers will be able to conduct a symphony orchestra, swing a golf club, or initiate a sword attack — all by waving one hand.

New Gamers

Rather than go head-to-head with Microsoft and Sony on high-end graphics, high-definition video, and networking capabilities, Nintendo is taking a different approach, attempting to target a different audience.

“The Wii’s graphics are certainly improved over the Game Cube,” said Jon Erensen, an analyst at Gartner, “but they’re talking more about how games ‘feel.'” With emphasis on its innovative new controller, he said, Nintendo is looking to open up the gaming world to people who have never played video games before.

Until this week, Nintendo’s controller was considered by gaming experts to be both revolutionary and unique. However, what came as a surprise to everybody this week is that Sony’s PlayStation 3 will come with a motion-sensing controller too.

“The Sony controller allows you to tilt and rotate in certain ways, but it’s still like a game controller,” said Erensen. “But the Nintendo controller is more life-like. It’s shaped more like a stick, and it’s more responsive, more natural.”

‘More Fun for Less’

Erensen also pointed out that Nintendo’s controller, unlike Sony’s, has a built-in microphone and speaker. “Nintendo says that, for instance, when you pull a bow and arrow using the controller, you can hear the bow pull on the controller and then hear the arrow hit its target — or not — on the screen.”

Nintendo announced that there will be 27 games when Wii (pronounced “we”) launches later this year. The lineup will include the highly anticipated “Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess,” the forthcoming installment in one of the most popular game series of all time.

Nintendo is expected to offer the Wii for about $250 — with a marketing pitch of “more fun for less money” — but no firm pricing has been set.

The new Sony PlayStation 3, in contrast, will sell in November for $499 for the entry-level model. The higher-end Xbox 360, the only one with an internal hard drive, goes for about $400.

 


 

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