Virtual Reality transcends into the real world at Electronic Entertainment Expo

Virtual reality (or VR as it's now called) has now become a reality with game developers having a number of games available to play at the convention. Photograph:( Getty )

Reuters Los Angeles, United States Jun 15, 2016, 06.30 AM (IST)
The annual stampede of gaming enthusiasts yesterday marked the return of the Electronic Entertainment Expo - more commonly known as E3 - as hundreds of trade professionals raced each other to get a first glimpse at the new hardware and software available.

Held at the Los Angeles Convention Center, the event is solely for gaming industry insiders and journalists.

Matt Jeffery, who is Head of Development at Rebellion and has been visiting the annual show for over a decade explained, "E3 is important for a number of reasons. Firstly it's a good opportunity for us to show off our games in the run-up to the busiest part of the year. Christmas, January and February is when most games are sold and E3 gives us the opportunity to show games which are almost ready for release and the best chance for buyers and journalists and fans to see that content."

"It's a focal point for all of us who are developers and publishers to bring their content together and it acts as a critical mass because everyone is here. Everyone catches up on a social level but on a technical level it's a chance for us to find out what new technology is coming," he added.

There are always a number of big announcements at E3 every year. One of the most popular was the latest in the 'Call of Duty' series, which is the highest-grossing gaming franchise.

Despite its large fan base, Chad Findley, one of the project directors of 'Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare', admitted E3 had all the elements needed to launch a game. "Everyone that loves gaming has their eye on this because they're looking for what is the new thing and when is it coming out and why should I play it and why is it cool and what's new about it and what are you bringing to the table for me to care about it.
"And because everyone is actually asking those questions, we get to show to people, we get to release trailers, we get everybody watching and seeing the trailers and playing the game and getting hands-on time with it and finally getting to see the thing that we've been working on for years and finally we get to show it off," Finley said.

Although it was the core subject of last year's E3, virtual reality (or VR as it's now called) has now become a reality with game developers having a number of games available to play at the convention.

Steve Boxer, a freelance journalist from the UK, admitted this is the beginning in a whole new trend in gaming.

"Well I think we're going to find out what's good and bad about virtual reality in the months and years to come. Basically I have an idea about what's good practice and what's bad practice. Personally I don't want to have to sit there wearing a virtual reality helmet for more than 20 minutes so I think that games that take that into account and Sony has been very good. Playstation's VR games have really gone out of its way to make sure they're all bite size."

John Koller, the vice president for Sony Interactive Entertainment America, admitted they had worked hard with developers to ensure that VR gaming will be sustainable.

"We've worked really closely on making sure the experiences are done correctly for VR although I think VR is necessarily different from your normal session gaming experiences. We see a lot of games you see behind us here, people play some of these games six or seven hours at a time. VR is not going to be like that. VR is going to be shorter, very intense bursts and the way we see the development going is we see it chopped up into these experiences that are very exciting and emotionally driven and done in shorter durations so the development has to change a little bit and we have to help direct that as we go through it," Koller said.

Although Steve Boxer didn't agree with some of the announcements at E3, he had no complaints about the games he got to play.

"In general, I'd say things are very healthy this year at E3. The Xbox One and Playstation 4 have really reached maturity now and the developers are just churning out really really top quality games for them so this is a good time to be a gamer," he said.