TMO at E3 - Reporter's Journal Day Three: Future Shock
by , 11:45 AM EDT, May 20th, 2005
LOS ANGELES -- There are times out at the 2005 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) -- and perhaps it's the sun beating down on my New-England-raised brain -- that I'm convinced that I've been transported into a low-to-mid-budget science-fiction movie. The Running Man wasn't a literary masterpiece when Steven King wrote it under the Bachman pen name and the Schwarzenegger movie of it never qualified as a cinematic opus by any stretch of the imagination. Still, one impression of it remained with me: that of the lead actress and a friend hurriedly depositing a small fortune in change into a hallway vending machine in order to obtain a quick soda. Iíve been running from meeting to meeting with the idea of breakfast becoming only a vague concept and decided to do the vending machine route yesterday.
Iíve made better decisions in my life.
US$2.50 in change for a bottle of water and $3.25 for a ham and cheese sandwich from a 70s holdover vending machine that had survived ages later. The future was present in a form that didnít really care about my budget and knew the price point for a service in a high demand location.
Still, I tell myself this canít be the dark, distorted future that Hollywood has long since burned into my psyche. There just arenít enough shoes and boots using massive amounts of Velcro to back it up.
Xbox 360 Intersects with Apple Technology
Microsoft confirmed yesterday that the Xbox 360 will work with the iPod as well as home networks, but confirmation of Mac support remained vague. The device is becoming a media center on several levels and the iPodís presence, as well as that of other USB and Bluetooth devices, canít be denied and will probably be pretty easy to work and synch with. Even without official support from the company, thereís always a homebrew community that will help get this off the ground. Theyíve done it with the PlayStation Portable, theyíve developed tunneling clients to pull the Mac into Xbox Live gaming and they can make it can happen with this new console.
Regarding the Power Mac G5 units powering the Xbox 360 game demos, this really amounts to a cool find for the Mac community, but also Microsoft using whatís practical and what works at the moment. The distribution of Macs and PCs in the cabinets powering the displays was about even and the end result was the same: blown-away gamers testing the consoles, asking questions of the reps on hand and people waiting in line for their turn. We Mac users get our cool find, Microsoft gets something that works and pushes a new product, and a geeky chunk of my brain craves to see the capabilities of the dual core architecture.
In The Other Corner: PlayStation 3
The line for the Sony PlayStation 3 demo wrapped around 75% of its massive booth on the floor and took 50 minutes to wait through, but it actually turned out to be worthwhile in the long run. They allowed 80 people at a time to watch an eight-minute movie and then led them out to look over the prototype units under a glass display, which kept the line moving briskly. The end result of the new technology: almost unimaginable numbers of units being carefully controlled and dynamically shifted on screen, the colors brighter, richer and working with a higher concentration of pixels than has been seen to date.
Theyíve done well for themselves, albeit with a console that is about a year away from release while the Xbox 360 plunges headlong toward a holiday release. Unbelievable stuff without a doubt and if someone can tie this into the Mac (as is entirely possible via its ample port connections), Iíd love to see what can happen.
Godawful Marketing at its Finest
Thereís no quota of Ignatius Reilly-esque kvetching to fill, but this really stood out as something special. No matter whatís floating through your brain at any given moment as you try to push your tech store web site, you donít decide to hold random demonstrations and contests -- with no less than five booth girls for attendees to ogle and have pictures taken with -- in the middle of the concourse hallway between the two ends of the Los Angeles Convention Center.
Yes, the site may actually have something Iím looking for somewhere down the line at low, low prices, and the prom queen of your high school days may look like a morbidly obese walrus in comparison to these ladies, but you donít constrain a thin access point that thousands of people are using so you can scream into a mic, throw t-shirts at people and generally prove the theory that the louder you market, the more attention you get.
And the cart containing hundreds of pounds of television equipment being pushed by a European broadcast crew that ran over my left foot in the process has nothing to do with this.
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