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E3 2012 Announcements & Surprises

This week, the 18th annual E3 is taking place in Los Angeles. Started in 1995 (because video game companies felt lost among the massive Consumer Electronics Show, or CES) E3 has developed into a showcase for gamers and game developers alike.


Video game journalists and fans from across the globe descend on the halls of the LA Convention Center.

This week we’re covering the announcements and surprises that come out of the show – and the games you’ll be playing in the months ahead. Let’s start our coverage with a look at what trends we’re seeing coming out of the show at the end of Day One:

Trend: The Death of the Handheld
Why You Should Care: Gaming on the go will never be the same.

This E3 could be known as the “last roundup” for handheld game devices, although Nintendo will likely remain in the arena it helped build (with its Game Boy). Still, Nintendo hasn’t been able to find much support for its Nintendo DS device, just as Sony has struggled to find an audience for its PS Vita handheld. So what’s responsible for the rapid decline of this game niche? That’s right—the massive success of smartphones and tablet devices, which are now leading mobile gaming.

Trend: Xbox Becomes More Integrated with Your TV
Why You Should Care: Microsoft is light years ahead of Apple and Sony and on a track to be a full-service media provider.

Microsoft’s Xbox 360 is dominating Day One and Microsoft wants to go a step further – and dominate your living room. To that end, Microsoft is continuing to use the Xbox as a type of “Trojan horse” to gain more access to your living room. This includes new music and video services being served up by – you guessed it – the Xbox.


“Star Wars 1313″ was one of the major titles announced at E3 2012. 

Trend: Reviving and Reconnecting “Star Wars” Fans with “Star Wars 1313”
Why You Should Care: It’s the first serious gamers “Star Wars” game in years.

While fans are still taking in the recent announcement that George Lucas is retiring from filmmaking (at least from big-budget movies), the game company he inspired is gearing up for a comeback. LucasArts hasn’t introduced a new title in almost two years, so expectations are already running high for “Star Wars 1313,” in which a bounty hunter makes his way through “a ruthless criminal underground.” (Think “Mass Effect” meets “L.A. Noire.”) The big difference around this time is the targeted audience; whereas most “Star Wars” games are marketed to younger gamers, “Star Wars 1313” will aim to strike a chord with older players; the game is already touting an “M” rating.

Trend: Blockbuster Sequels/Kinect
Why You Should Care: Motion games and sequels continue to drive the industry — and that’s not necessarily a good thing…

The Kinect system keeps charging ahead, and so do new titles that support it. Games announced at E3 that support Kinect include “Madden NFL 13” and “FIFA 13.”  “Halo,” “Gears of War” and “Forza”—each of which has been a certified Xbox smash—all have sequels announced at this E3. It means more mass-market games and less indie titles, although we must confess, we’re drooling over “Halo 4,” which is slated for a November release.

Trend: Saving Sony
Why You Should Care: Gamers are a passionate bunch who don’t easily forget.

At this year’s event, Sony will be trying to soothe the tempers of gamers still fuming over network hacks and botched system launches…cough, PS Vita. Sure there are some stellar titles on PS3, but gamers haven’t been bowled over by Sony’s corporate missteps and the company needs to work hard to mend relationships with its audience.

Stay Tuned!
As industry events go, E3 has something for everybody, from those who play games to those want to learn how to make video games. Check back in with us this week, as we present special editorial coverage of E3 2012.

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posted by Phill Powell in News Blog,Video Game Design and have No Comments

Steve Jobs Biography: Book of Revelations

Steve Jobs’ official biography has been released. Written by Walter Isaacson, a former managing editor for Time magazine, the 656-page book sells for $35. You can get Steve Jobs’ official biography from Amazon and as an ebook from Google for $16.99.


Steve Jobs was memorialized on Apple’s website for several weeks after his death.

Life and Legacy
While the initial global outpouring of grief over the death of Apple’s co-founder has begun to subside, the public’s fascination with Jobs’ life is still going strong. Part of that interest stems from Jobs’ personality – which was often described as reserved, private and even reclusive.

He rarely granted interviews and when he did, they were almost exclusively focused on whatever project he was engaged in creating and promoting at the time. In a media-driven age empowered by mighty communication tools (many Jobs himself had pioneered), there was much about his own life that the man chose not to publicly communicate.

In his final years though, Jobs did however open up for his biography. Based on more than 40 interviews Isaacson conducted with Jobs during a two-year period, and additional interviews with more than 100 family members, friends, adversaries, competitors and colleagues. And although Jobs cooperated for the book, he asked for no control over what was written, nor did he even ask for the right to read it before it was published.

For those keenly interested in Steve Jobs’ legacy, Isaacson’s biography may end up being the last, best word on the subject. Other Steve Jobs quotes have appeared in the press, but the newly released interview text is sure to shake up some readers.

Revelations and Secrets
The new book reveals some interesting, expected and not-so-expected insights. The most controversial discovery involves Jobs’ 2011 meeting with President Barack Obama, at which time Jobs reportedly said that Obama was “headed for a one-term presidency” and at one point even offered to design portions of the President’s re-election campaign.

Here are a few more excerpts that have surfaced in Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs…


Bill Gates and Steve Jobs had a love-hate relationship. Their appearance together onstage at D5 in 2007 became the origin of the Steve Jobs vs. Bill Gates meme. 

On Microsoft’s Bill Gates: “Basically unimaginative and has never invented anything…he just shamelessly ripped off other people’s ideas.”

On Google’s Android Phone: “I will go thermonuclear on this issue. I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product.” Though Jobs received criticism for his tight control over the iPhone ecosystem, which contrasts sharply with Android’s “open” approach, he told Isaacson that Apple’s approach stemmed from the company’s desire to “make great products, not crap like Android.” Isaacson writes in the book that Jobs had attempted to persuade Google not to develop a mobile operating system to rival Apple’s own by promising the company it would have access to the iPhone and prime real estate on the device.

On the Dangers of Becoming Wealthy: “I saw a lot of other people at Apple, especially after we went public, how it changed them. And a lot of people thought that they had to start being rich. I mean, a few people went out and bought Rolls Royces, and they bought homes, and their wives got plastic surgery. I saw these people who were really nice simple people turn into these bizarro people. And I made a promise to myself. I said ‘I’m not gonna let this money ruin my life.’”

On Facebook: ”You know we talk about social networks in the plural but I don’t see anybody other than Facebook out there…Facebook – they’re dominating this. I admire Mark Zuckerberg. I only know him a little bit, but I admire him for not selling out. For wanting to make a company. I admire that a lot.”

On Why He “Opened Up” for Isaacson’s Biography: “I wanted my kids to know me. I wasn’t always there for them, and I wanted them to know why and to understand what I did.”


Steve Jobs with wife Laurene Powell Jobs, just before his death. 

Notes From the Author
Isaacson’s previous books include biographies of Benjamin Franklin and Henry Kissinger, both of whom were powerful and often misunderstood men of their respective times. “(Steve) talked a lot to me about what happened when he got sick and how it focused him,” said Isaacson, in a transcript from an upcoming segment of “60 Minutes.”

Isaacson also spoke about Jobs’ state of mind during his final days. “He said he no longer wanted to go out, no longer wanted to travel the world,” said Isaacson. “He would focus on the products. He knew the couple of things he wanted to do, which was the iPhone and then the iPad. He had a few other visions. I think he would’ve loved to have conquered television.” (It’s true, Apple insiders have noted Jobs’ was always disappointed Apple TV wasn’t more widely accepted.)

Constantly out of step and sporting a rebel sensibility, Isaacson reported that Jobs often thought the usual rules didn’t apply to him, and worked counter to them. For example, he went through a period as a young man during which he didn’t bathe regularly (his managers at Atari made him work the night shift because his co-workers complained about his personal hygiene). Another quirk: driving a Mercedes with no license plate. Why? According to Isaacson, it was because he didn’t want people tracking him.

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posted by Phill Powell in Apple,News Blog and have No Comments