E3 Buzz

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Expo attendees check out the next generation of video games.

More than 60,000 interactive entertainment professionals from 70-plus countries honed their game plans for the future as they roamed the aisles of the 8th annual E3 Expo, held May 21 to 24 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Some 400 exhibitors showcased thousands of new computer and video games and products-including more than 1,000 never-before-seen titles-at the show, which is owned by the Interactive Digital Software Association (IDSA).

Such titles should serve to boost computer and video game software sales even higher than the $6.35 billion mark hit in 2001, an 8 percent increase from the year before, according to Washington, D.C.-based IDSA. Indeed, a recent report by investment banker Jefferies Company forecasts the video game market, including PC games, will reach $21.4 billion in North America alone by 2005.

Online gaming continues to be a topic of discussion in the video game arena. In 1999, IDSA research found that 18 percent of the most frequent game players in the home played online; this year, the number was 31 percent. However, IDSA data also show that the majority of gamers still prefer playing offline. What's holding online games back? "It's partly a dearth of content," IDSA President Douglas Lowenstein explained in his opening remarks at the show. "When those who don't play online were asked why, 30 percent said it was because they were not interested in the offerings available, three times any other explanation. Equally significant, when non-online gamers were asked if they would be willing to pay to play, only 6 percent answered yes."

Interactive companies increasingly are looking at their in-house intellectual properties, such as Sega's Shinobi and Majesco's BloodRayne, as licensing opportunities. Other game publishers-including Electronic Arts, UBI Soft, and Infogrames-are turning their attention to younger kids, hoping to grow old with them as they progress in their video game careers. IDSA's annual consumer research released at the show found that nearly six out of 10 gamers have been playing for six years or more, and the same six out of 10 said they expect to play more or the same amount 10 years from now, according to Lowenstein. "In short, they were gamers yesterday, they are gamers today, and they will be gamers tomorrow."

Title Tracks

E3 exhibitors showcased a mixture of upcoming releases, works in progress, new installments, and games for different platforms. Some highlights:

BAM! International

  • Dropship, Ecks vs. Sever, King of the Coliseum, Riding Spirits, Way of the Samurai, WipeFusion for PlayStation 2
  • Chase for Xbox
  • A Sound of Thunder, Fire Pro Wrestling 2, Samurai Jack, The Farm for Gameboy Advance
  • The Powerpuff Girls for PS2, GameCube, PC
  • Reign of Fire for PS2, Xbox, GC, GBA

Bandai

  • hack-four-part series game for PS2 this fall, fusing action/RPG game play and anime
  • G Gundum is a new property from Cartoon Network for teen girls

Capcom

  • New installments of Devil May Cry (DMC 2) and Resident Evil (Resident Evil Zero prequel)

Conspiracy Entertainment

  • Tiny Toons Adventures: Scary Dreams and Wacky Stackers for GBA
  • The Land Before Time for GBA
  • An American Tail: Fievel's Gold Rush for GBA
  • Road Trip for PS2
  • Gadget Racers for PS2, GBA
  • Stretch Panic for PS2
  • Hidden Invasion for PS2
  • The Flintstones: Big Trouble in Bedrock for GBA
  • Intellectual property: Enclave

Eidos Interactive, Inc.

  • Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness for PS2, PC
  • TimeSplitters 2 for Xbox, GC, PS2
  • Hitman 2 for Xbox and PS2
  • DX2: Invisible War for PS2, Xbox
  • Praetorians for PC
  • Republic: The Revolution and Virtual Resort Spring Break for PC
  • Golf for GC
  • Legaia 2 for PS2

Fox

  • No One Lives Forever 2 for PC
  • Die Hard Vendetta for GC
  • Dark Angel for PS2, Xbox

Electronic Arts

  • Co-publishing with Fox Interactive The Simpsons Skateboarding for PS2 this summer
  • The Sims City 4 for PC (Sims Online is nearing beta test)
  • NHL 2003 and Madden 2003 for PC will have online functionality, as will Madden 2003 for PS2
  • F1 2002 for PS2, GC, PC
  • Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 for PS2
  • NASCAR Thunder 2003 for PS2, Xbox
  • Freekstyle for PS2, GC
  • SSX Tricky for GBA
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone for PS2, Xbox, GC
  • Lord of the Rings for PS2, GBA
  • James Bond 007: Phoenix Rising for PS2, PC
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer for Xbox
  • Battlefield 1942, Medal of Honor Frontline, Aliens: Colonial Marines, and The New World 1503 for PC

Infogrames

  • Unreal Tournament 2003
  • Superman: Shadow of Apokolips
  • Heading to multiple platforms: Terminator: Dawn of Fate for Xbox, PS2; Mission Impossible: Operation Surma (Xbox, PS2, GC, GBA); Men In Black II: Alien Escape for PS2; Deadly Dozen: Pacific Theatre for PC
  • Driver 2 (working title) for GBA
  • Battle Engine Aquila for Xbox, PS2
  • Dungeons and Dragons Heroes for all next-gen consoles
  • Zapper (working title) for all platforms
  • Taz: Wanted for next-gen consoles and PC
  • LOONS: The Fight for Fame for Xbox
  • Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee for GC
  • Nickelodeon Party Blast for all platforms
  • PC's Backyard Football for GC and GBA; Backyard Hockey for PC
  • TransWorld Snowboarding for Xbox
  • Deer Hunter 2003 for PC
  • Splashdown for Xbox
  • NASCAR Heat 2 (working title) for PS2, GC
  • V-Rally 3 for PS2
  • Big Air Freestyle for GC
  • Dirt Track Racing 2 for PC
  • Monopoly Party, Risk, Wheel of Fortune for next-gen gaming
  • Master of Orion III for Macintosh

Majesco Interactive

  • Partnered with UK developer Rage Software to publish 10 of its top games in the U.S. for 2002; agreement now possibly includes additional titles for release in 2003
  • Intellectual property: BloodRayne for Xbox, PS2, GC, PC
  • Black & Bruised for GC, PS2
  • Bomberman and Generations for GC
  • Earthworm Jim 2, BattleBots, Turbo Turtle, Hyperspace Delivery Boy
  • Officially licensed racer Lamborghini for Xbox, PS2
  • Rolling for Xbox, GC, PS2, GBA
  • Three licensed titles from Cartoon Network for GBA in 2003

NewKidCo

  • Tom and Jerry War of the Whiskers and E.T. Return to the Green Planet for PS2
  • Little League Baseball 2002 for GBA, GC (targets children ages 5 and up)
  • The Super Stoo-Pendous World of Dr. Seuss and Dora's Pirate Treasure Hunt for GBA
  • E.T. Cosmic Garden (working title) for GC

Sega

  • Looking to release sports titles for NHL and NFL at the beginning of the sports seasons; New sports titles coming this fall for NFL, NBA, NHL, NCAA, baseball, soccer, and tennis
  • Super Monkey Ball: looking to get into movie or animation; Sprint has non-exclusive with cell phone for SuperMonkey Ball
  • Intellectual property: Shinobi to be released fourth quarter on PS2; looking for animation, feature film, action figures
  • Third exclusive title for Panzer Dragoon ORTA
  • Classic franchises such as Virtua Cop and ToeJam & Earl are being updated with new titles
  • Sequels: CRAZY TAXI 3, House of the Dead 3, Sega GT 2002 for Xbox; Super Monkey Ball 2 for GC; Bass Fishing 2 for PS2
  • New launches: Beach Spikers for GC; F355 Challenge for PS2; Phantasy Star Online for GC

TDK Mediactive

  • Shrek Extra Large (working title) for GC; and Shrek Party (working title) for Xbox
  • Additional Shrek titles published on multiple platforms; in development with Japan's Tose, an action/adventure game is scheduled to release in September
  • Aquaman for GBA in October
  • He-Man Masters of the Universe for September/October
  • Robotech for October for Xbox, PS2, GC
  • Robotech: The Macross Saga for fall release
  • Intellectual properties: Pryzm Chapter One: The Dark Unicorn for PS2 debuted last E3 and was released this E3; Max (Kangaroo); Lady Sia
  • Secured Chevrolet license for interactive video games, specifically dedicated to the Corvette 50th anniversary (titles scheduled for next-generation consoles in 2003)

UBI Soft

  • New licensing agreement with Eidos for Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Prophecy for GBA
  • New licensing agreement with MGA Entertainment for Bratz video games for PC and all next-generation consoles
  • Far Cry is targeted for PC release during the first half of 2003, with PS2 and Xbox versions later that year
  • Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Raven Shield for PC and Xbox
  • The Sum of All Fears for PC
  • Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon and Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell for Xbox
  • Intellectual property: Rayman 3 Hoodlum Havoc for all next-gen consoles and PC
  • XIII; Shadowbane; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Wizards of the Coast, Inc.

  • Magic: The Gathering Online (an electronic trading card game that lets players

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