June 5 - The annual Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) is the setting for a high stakes battle for video game console makers as the industry tries to find a game plan to fend off attacks from tablets and smartphones. Bobbi Rebell reports.
The $78 billion gaming industry is under attack. The battlefield: E3 or the Electronic Entertainment Expo. The mission: prove the relevance of pricey consoles and expensive software - in a world of smartphones and tablets- and their army of free and inexpensive downloadable gaming apps. Strategy one: If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, by getting cheaper. CNET's Dan Ackerman: SOUNDBITE: DAN ACKERMAN, SENIOR EDITOR, CNET.COM (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Think about creating sort of more bite size games, more small transactions content sort of like you do on your iPad or your iPhone, but translate that to the bigger world of games, so you are not asking everyone to go out and spend $60 a pop on a new game. " Strategy two: get some new recruits on your team. Case in point- Microsoft forming new partnerships with content providers like Nickelodeon and Paramount Pictures for its Xbox 360. That gives non-gamers reasons to use the box, and can create new revenue streams. And three: make the most of what you've got. Microsoft's Xbox now connects to tablets and smartphones- even Android and Apple devices- using its "SmartGlass" app. And Nintendo finally unveiled the launch version of its Wii-U, which supports 2 "Gamepad" controllers that look and function like tablets. But here's a reality check- according to Ackerman, there's still nothing to get excited about at E3. SOUNDBITE: DAN ACKERMAN, SENIOR EDITOR, CNET.COM (ENGLISH) SAYING: "You may almost sense a little desperation because you see part 4 of this game, part 7 of this game, part 3 of this game. It's just sequel, sequel, sequel, and nobody is even hinting at kind of new big picture projects new hardware like an Xbox 3 or a PlayStation 4. Nintendo has their new Wii U but we did see that last year. " Bottom lines are already bleeding as sales slow down. Nintendo recently reported its first annual operating loss. And Sony, which makes the PlayStation 3 recently posted a record loss and its fourth straight annual deficit. Bobbi Rebell, Reuters.