E3 2017: Gamers head to LA to play

Gamers from around the globe are heading to Los Angeles for the E3 video games showcase, which lays out what players can expect in the year ahead.

E3 is traditionally an industry-only event, but in recent years some studios have held their own showcases and broadcast them to fans online.

This year, for the first time in its 24-year history, 15,000 video game fans will be allowed to attend too.

One analyst said it was a sign of E3 adapting for modern times.

“E3 originally was a retail conference, about connecting buyers with the publishers,” said Piers Harding-Rolls of the consultancy IHS Markit.

“The industry has changed significantly since then, so E3 has to move with the times.

“It’s a process to make it much more publicly available, and it’s a good move – it keeps it relevant.”

E3 begins on Tuesday 13 July – but many games studios including Microsoft and Sony hold their own events a little earlier.

Last year, Microsoft announced it was working on “the most powerful console ever”, code-named Project Scorpio.

The company has already described the computing power of the device, which it says will be capable of playing ultra-high definition 4K games – but this could be the first time we see the device and hear what it will be called.

“This will re-establish their credentials with the gamers who want the highest graphical capability,” said Mr Harding-Rolls.

“I’m expecting it to be more expensive than the PS4 Pro, so it’s probably not going to sell as strongly – but will give Microsoft a boost towards the end of the year.”

Nintendo says its new Switch console is off to a promising start, with about three million sold, making it the company’s fastest-selling device.

The launch was buoyed by the highly-anticipated Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild, which Nintendo dedicated its entire E3 exhibition to in 2016.

To keep momentum, the Japanese games-maker will be showing off multiplayer games such as Splatoon 2, Arms and Pokken Tournament DX.

However, many players are still hopeful that Nintendo will announce some surprises – such as the first full Pokemon game for the Switch.

Sony says sales of its virtual reality kit for the PlayStation 4 have exceeded expectations, with more than a million people picking up a PS VR headset.

But the challenge for all headset developers is to show off compelling games that will encourage more people to invest in the costly kit.

“It’s a key focus for Sony, because it’s different from what Microsoft is offering with Xbox,” Mr Harding-Rolls told the BBC.

“There have been some good launch titles, such as the VR mode on Resident Evil which was very well received.

“Is spread by word of mouth because it was so impressive and frankly scary – we need more of that, big brands and big titles.”

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