E3 News: Sony, Nintendo Move on Gear, Game Titles

Videogame giants Sony and Nintendo kicked off the first day of E3 by announcing a slew of new titles and more than a few twists on the hardware as they looked to gain favor with the gaming industry.

Nintendo held its press conference early, announcing sequels and updates to popular favorites. Among them, a new version of Wii Fit and two new entries in the ongoing Mario saga, Super Mario Bros. Wii and Super Mario Galaxy 2.

Super Mario Bros. Wii

The Nintendo Wii console has become an industry leader by focusing on casual games and a broader audience’a goal aided by its motion-sensor controller. The Japanese game maker took that idea to the next level with an add-on device that takes players’ pulse and incorporates it into the game play.

Following shortly after Nintendo’s conference was Sony, which announced a new version of its handheld device called PSP Go. The new device downloads games as well as video and audio content, eliminating the need for discs and posing a potential challenge to Apple’s iPod Touch and iPhone. The PSP Go is set to debut in October for the price of $249.

Also on the hardware side, Sony demonstrated a new wand-like motion controller that will be used with the PlayStation Eye add-on. It will allow players to interact with onscreen objects by moving.

Sony also dipped into the sequel pool by announcing new versions of several franchise games for the PlayStation 3. Among them: Gran Turismo 5, Uncharted 2, and the long-awaited Final Fantasy XIV, which will be a massive multiplayer online game.

Gran Turismo 5

Moves also were taken to increase the content Sony offers through its PlayStation Network, adding 16 new premiere partners offering content from Hollywood, anime and sports programming. Among the new additions are Starz, Showtime, Toei Animation, Summit Entertainment and Anime Network.

Final Fantasy XIV

These partnerships are intended to make PlayStation Network more competitive with the rival Xbox Live service. Microsoft announced at its press conference Monday that it would fully integrate a number of Internet services, such as Facebook and Twitter, into the service.