A comprehensive guide to all the latest gadgets, websites, games and computer industry news. With reports from LA on the world's biggest video games expo - E3.
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a rowboat on a fun run on London Marathon. Now on BBC News, it's time
to click. This week: The E3
videogames extravaganza! We are headbanging, foot
tapping, lion taming, This is E3, the biggest video game
show on Earth. Every June, the Convention Centre
in downtown Los Angeles fills This is where the next year's big
releases are announced, with high energy, much fanfare,
and gimmicks galore. You can race a car, visit a haunted
house, you can come and You can pick yourself
up a swag bag... For as long as I can remember,
all of the big games companies have scrabbled for our attention
at this But times are a changing,
and not every company is happy shouting over all this noise
when they could have their own event a bit later and control
the message better. Now, there are a number of big names
which are usually at E3 but aren't here this year,
Electronic Arts, Activision, They don't have booths
on the show floor. Turnout's still pretty decent,
though. There are still plenty
of big hitters here. So joining me on the floor
are two awesome end bosses. Colossal Kate Russell,
and monstrous Marc Cieslak. And I wanted to start with something
I think is really innovative. Not VR in itself, but the fact that
someone's finally giving you at home the opportunity to experience
what I'm experience You can now see the world
as I'm seeing it! Come
Well, that's all very well for you at home
but what we are experiencing is Spen prancing around in a green cupboard.
But what this does help to demonstrate is one of the big themes
That is that there is are tonnes and tonnes and tonnes of virtual
Now that gamers can finally get their hands on virtual reality
headsets, the games industry has revealed what you'll actually be
This includes old school classics like Battle Zone,
As well as recruiting Star Trek cast members,
past and present, to show off Ubisoft's Star
Here, four players adopt the role of different Bridge officers,
Most of the gameplay mostly consists of operating controls.
Perhaps not as thrilling as a real away mission.
As soon as you can get us out of here I will be most grateful.
Boldly going where few games designers have gone before means
new ways of thinking about games and how we play them
are crucial for these virtual experiences to work.
Sony is going all in with virtual reality.
It is a whole bunch of different experiences across different genres
which are meant to show off what VR is capable of.
They are the kind of games which can only be played wearing a headset
Most of the games in here have been teased over the last couple
of years, but there are two experiences
This is Scavenger's Odyssey, a shooter.
Looks like some kind of mechanised suit.
The targeting is done by simply looking at where I wanna shoot.
But this is where you start to get a sense that this
is a game designed to work in 360 degrees.
When I look around there isn't really any "up" there
It is a bit how I imagine a fly must see the world,
being able to jump onto any surface at any angle, which at times can be
This game is Danger Ball, a futuristic sport.
Now, I don't need a controller for this at all.
And this allows me to move this bat around.
There's more to it than that, though.
You can add spin by flicking the ball when it gets close to me.
You very quickly get used to using your head to hit the ball
It's sort of like tennis if you had to head-butt the ball
Futuristic games with balls, I'm all over it.
Now it's my turn to do VR once again.
Four headsets hanging from these spindles, and the idea is several
people can take part in the same experience at once.
And, although it can be a game, what they are actually aiming
for is an interactive theatre experience, where we all take part
and solve different puzzles and share an experience.
For example, over here, I can pick up this ball.
So I can throw this to yellow.
So, obviously, it is a work in progress.
But the idea is that in the future you can have actors also taking part
in the experience, taking you through different rooms
and helping you to solve different puzzles, for example.
At the moment, I have to say it is both weird and interesting.
The first big announcement came as no real surprise.
With news of the slimmer, more design-centric Xbox OneS having
Serving up 4K HDR gaming, and a customisable controller that
can suit even the wildest of tastes, at $299, this midcycle release may
leave a sour taste in the mouths of families who bought
into the chunkier machine just a few years ago.
The game footage started rolling with some big titles on the slate,
all hoping to win Xbox back some of its edge.
Pushing the cross-platform agenda is at the heart of Microsoft's drive
to bring Xbox and Windows 10 players together in a slieu
Forza Horizon 3 got pulses racing with a demo of its four-player
campaign mode on Xbox and PC, scheduled for September release.
The new IP kid on the block, we got the first proper look at Sea
of Thieves's gameplay, a swashbuckling, shared-world
adventure that looks like it's going to be ridiculous amounts
But there was sadly no release date floated.
Help me out, so more people can do the anchor thing.
A run of big budget sequels, Gears of War IV...
..Whipped the crowd up into a frenzy, almost as predictable
as these rinse-and-repeat triple A's.
They're looking pretty slick, but nothing
Although, Halo fans did get this playable beta demo that
went live for a week, right after the briefing ended.
There's been a lot of speculation about whether there would be any
significant hardware upgrades announced here today.
And with leaked information about the Xbox OneS coming out
in the last 24 hours or so, slimmer sleeker, more design-led,
you would be forgiven for thinking that was going to be it.
But then, right at the end of the conference, Phil Spencer
Project Scorpio will be the next edition to the Xbox family,
and it is ultimately the next step in delivering our vision
of the future of gaming beyond generations.
Being released next autumn, this beast of a box will support
high-definition 4K gaming and is VR ready, packing the most
powerful graphics card ever put inside a consol.
Microsoft is keeping its options open when it comes to VR headsets.
Our consoles also run on Windows 10, so all of that innovation
and creativity that is happening, we wanted to capture it
We needed the computing capabilities of the six
terraflops of Project Scorpio to make that possible.
So, for us, our strategy is to continue to embrace
the incredible community of VR development on Windows
Microsoft calls it "choice," but are console owners really ready
to upgrade their machines every year in the same way PC owners do?
Fans of the platform can at least take some solace hearing that games
will be playable across all three consoles and Windows 10 PCs, too,
They are just going to look a lot sweeter on the new box next year.
You are trying to fabricate magnetic nanowires,
but you accidentally create sponge-like carbon-rich nanorods.
Yes, researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
in the US accidentally discovered these novel structures when one
of their experiments didn't go to plan.
The new nanorods are unique as they are capable of absorbing
water at low humidities and are capable of expelling it
Most materials just keep on absorbing water.
And tech titan, Microsoft, has stumped up $26 billion
for professional networking website, LinkedIn.
The move, which sparked some surprise from commentators,
effectively values each of LinkedIn's 106 million users
Microsoft boss, Sachin Nadella, said that the purchase was all part
of his plan to better integrate Microsoft services in the Cloud.
And commercial space company, SpaceX, broke
While their latest launch succesfully got a payload
into orbit, the company failed to stick the landing
of its Falcon9 Rocketon rocket on its return trip.
It suffered from what the SpaceX CEO called a rapid,
unscheduled disassembly, or rapid explosion, to you and me.
That follows three succesful landings in the past few months.
And, finally, that wasn't the only machine not behaving itself.
A robot in a Russian city of Perm caused moderate confusion
and a minor traffic jam after escaping from its testing
grounds when a researcher left the gate open.
Not everyone is convinced the caper was an accident, with some
suggesting it might have been a publicity stunt,
rather than a desperate robotic cry for help.
Traditionally, the gaming industry hasn't exactly been known
for its unbiased approach to the female of the species.
With diversity a hot topic across the tech sector,
gaming conventions like this have done a lot to clean up their act,
binning the booth babes and generally creating a better
Having said that, too many games on display here still have a long
way to go when it comes to treating female characters with respect.
Impossible anatomies, ridiculously oversexualised
clothing, and not enough strong female protagonists are still things
we still see far too much in the big budget titles.
But as gaming evolves into ever more immersive experiences,
scientists at Stanford University's Human Virtual Reality Lab
are looking at how virtual reality could be used to make people
Since 2003, we have been running psychology experiments to see
if a virtual reality can change how you think of yourself and others.
By running through a body transfer sequence which connects the mind
with the self image in the virtual mirror, subjects can walk in someone
else's skin, becoming older, or a different race or gender,
and even experiencing abusive and threatening behaviour.
This is the type of body that is basically default
Women are forced to play what is called hyper
They are of a shape that is rare to find in nature and they tend
What we have done in this lab is run a series of experiments that studies
what happens to women's view of gender when they are in this
hypersexualised body that affects how they see themselves later on.
One of the goals of the team is to persuade big publishers
to include empathy and diversity training experiences
What if, every 30 minutes of playing, you had to do
a 30-minute public service announcement where you have
to experience sexual harassment as a woman,
or you become a minority and experience the violence
In other words, let's let the games be the games,
but the game makers have such power because this medium is so pervasive.
It is one of the most pervasive media on our youth.
Can we also put in some pro-social messages,
as we are spending all this time playing the game?
Even though current demos are somewhat crude, having been
coded by students on micro-fractions of the budget spent
With more money, and the weight of large publishers behind it,
VR experiences like this could start to change the way gamers think
Chipping away at the ingrained biases and toxic attitudes that have
driven so many people away from gaming communities in the past.
It turns out we have been doing this games controller thing all wrong.
We have been using our hands to control the mouse, keyboard,
the joystick, or whatever, But all this time we should have
It is slightly curved underneath, which means it can rock
The idea is you put your feet on it, and that is how
Now, that seems a bit silly because you still
But in some environments you cannot see your hands, for example in VR.
Here I am in some kind of art gallery, and I can fly around just
by scooting forwards, scooting right, and scooting left,
And by doing a weird combination of one heel and one toe,
I can actually go up as well, and then right toe and left heel
I have to be honest, this is making me feel
quite queasy, and I think that is because of the
Can you see I am gripping quite hard on the chair, too?
I will swivel around and say hello to this whale, which
bizarrely seems to have something inside.
I am going to hand over to Marc Cieslak, who has been
LA's historic Shrine Auditorium played host to the PlayStation
event, which bombastically kicked off with an orchestra
playing the theme to the new Norse-inspired
The event then continued with a brief look at
Quantic Dream's latest, Detroit: Become Human.
Please, you've got to save my little girl.
Sony beefed up its VR credentials by announcing the launch date
I am happy to announce that, on 13 October, PlayStation
VR will make its debut in the United States.
As well as announcing 50 games to come out with the thing,
including Resident Evil 7, and VR experiences for
Call of Duty Infinite, and Final Fantasy 15 VR experience.
The biggest applause of the show was reserved for games design
Kojima showed off a cryptic trailer for a game featuring the walking
dead, and lots of dead crabs and fish.
What does it all mean, Kojima-san?
And the hits kept on coming, from crowdpleasing fan favourites,
to lots of new and original games, which the audience at
the Shrine Auditorium absolutely lapped up.
In contrast to the Xbox show this morning, where Microsoft
teased new technology, Sony has chosen to show new games.
However, there is a new, upgraded PS4 in the works.
You just cannot see it at this year's E3.
You have an upgraded PS4 in the works.
Why are we not seeing that at E3 this year?
Just as was the case with PlayStation VR,
we feel that it is important to show people the new hardware,
the new platform, when we have the full range of experiences that
But the high end PS4, code-named Neo, that we are working on,
is an addition to the existing lineup, not a replacement.
And we also were looking at the way in which,
perhaps, the technology and innovation cadence has
And perhaps we have an opportunity to move slightly away
from just a static console, that remains absolutely
the same for, you know, a period of six, seven,
eight years, and perhaps offer, in addition to the current
Every single device will play the same content, is that the idea?
Every single device will play a standard version of
And then we will have the opportunity to have what we hope
will be a large set of games which will also have
So, as far as PlayStation and Xbox are concerned,
there will be more new machines on the horizon than console
So we have also heard from Microsoft.
The other big hardware manufacturer, Nintendo, doesn't make much
They have jiggling fruit on their stand,
They also have this big, new, secret console in the works,
which is still secret, so they will not show it to us.
They have, however, announced a new game,
The hero, Link, awakens after 100 years of hibernation
to a vast landscape, all of which seems to be explorable.
He can now jump, climb and steal weapons.
The game will drop next year, and it will run on the Wii U,
The standout is all these new consoles we are going to have.
A new Xbox, another new Xbox, and a new PlayStation as well.
We usually get one console from a manufacturer
It is an upgraded Xbox, a slimmer model, and a different
It is confusing for consumers, because over the course
of a console's life, the hardware is locked.
It is most sensible for developers and for consumers.
This space where we have several different machines,
some of them with higher specifications than others,
creates a little bit of confusion in the space.
And for me, I don't quite understand what the strategy is moving forward.
Surely it has got to be VR, hasn't it?
Surely we need a box that can cope with VR and 4K.
That is the promise, that VR is going to be coming.
One thing I found interesting about the announcement at the press
conferences on Monday is that Microsoft has chosen,
pretty much a couple of hours beforehand, to make and a now
I wonder if the folks at Xbox are a bit miffed about that,
or maybe it was strategic, to make sure that Sony would not get
Pure speculation, that is totally allowed at the BBC.
I am looking forward to the shared-world gaming content
It is bringing us back to an era of gaming
But unlike open world, shared world means that
you don't have to play with the great unwashed masses.
You can choose your gaming friends to play with,
which can make it a bit more of a customised experience,
And next year we now have these new consoles to play
with, and we have a lot of VR content as well.
Next year we should genuinely see some new machines.
We haven't been able to get our hands on them or play
Next year there is a new machine from Nintendo, there is Scorpio,
we should be seeing next year, and of course the upgraded PS4
But that will have an effect, I think, on the games
Absolutely, new machines to this extent, with VR, means actually
None of this sort of rinse-and-repeat triple-A sequels,
It is not so easy port these new titles to the VR experience,
so we will see, I hope, a whole new genre of games
from the ground up, specifically for VR,
How do you fancy going back to China next
Most of the stuff in there is made in China.
Next year we will show you how and where.
Now, if you will excuse us, let's go and play.
After the intense thunderstorms and heavy showers of recent days, the
weekend is looking comparatively