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E3 brings game industry news, Kinect and a close look at Activision

If you live or work in downtown L.A. and notice a surprising number of grown men with ponytails this week, there's a reason: E3 is happening at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

As 45,000 professionals from the $45-billion video game industry descend on a city where traditional non-interactive media is usually king, there's sure to be a lot of news about the future of video gaming. It's also a good opportunity to look at the state of the industry, which we'll be doing all week in The Times and right here on Company Town.

KinectHere are a few of the big stories we have already covered, as well as things to look for this week:

  • Activision Blizzard Inc., the largest video game publisher outside of Japan and one of the largest entertainment companies in Los Angeles, has come under fire for its legal battle with the creators of the hugely successful Call of Duty games. But it's not the first time Activision Chief Executive Bobby Kotick has been at odds with game creators or gamers themselves. On Sunday, The Times took a look at Activision, Kotick and what the company's past and present conflicts really mean. Read it here.
  • One of the biggest unveils at E3 is Microsoft's new gaming technology code-named Project Natal and now officially called Kinect, which tracks users' movements without a physical controller. Microsoft showed off what Kinect can do with a splashy Cirque du Soleil show Sunday night (pictured right), and The Times got an early peek. On Monday, Microsoft will hold a news conference to announce specific games for Kinect, as well as other games and entertainment services for its Xbox 360 console.
  • The other major console manufacturers, Sony and Nintendo, will hold their news conferences on Tuesday. Other news could pop up in news conferences held by publishers such as Electronic Arts and Ubisoft on Monday afternoon. We'll cover any interesting announcements from all of them on Company Town, but we helpfully put together a checklist of key trends to look for at the show, including 3-D and the return of the shooter, right here.

Look for breaking E3 news, as well as closer looks at notable games and interviews with industry players, here on Company Town all week. In addition, Times reporters Ben Fritz and Alex Pham will be tweeting from E3.

-- Ben Fritz

Photo: A Microsoft-sponsored Cirque du Soleil show for its Kinect peripheral. Credit: Elisabeth Caren / Associated Press

 
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