Staff Reporter Troy Wolverton is in Los Angeles to attend the Electronic Entertainment Exposition -- better known as E3 -- which is the video-game industry's giant annual gathering. He's filing
Behind closed doors on the E3 floor, EA showed off some of the games it has in development for the Xbox 360, including new versions of Tiger Woods golf, Madden NFL football and FIFA soccer. The company plans to have six titles available at the launch of the Xbox 360 and has another 19 titles in development. Most of the games EA demonstrated were still works in progress, running on what booth workers called "alpha" versions of the Xbox 360 hardware. The emphasis in many of the demos was on the visual detail the Xbox 360 will allow for. In both FIFA and Tiger Woods, for instance, users could zoom in on individual blades of grass, the stitching on players' clothes, and wrinkles on their faces. EA is also working on providing new viewing angles and adding wrinkles to the game play. The way players control Tiger's club, for instance, has become more precise, allowing players to control how much they slice or lift the ball.
While the console makers have been emphasizing the need to broaden their audience, the theme from the software makers seems to be the idea that they'll continue to support the old consoles while developing games for the new ones. That was a theme struck by Activision ( ATVI) CEO Bobby Kotick in my meeting with him on Monday and one echoed in meetings with EA senior vice president John Schappert and Midway Games ( MWY) CEO David Zucker. But the publishers have different plans for pursuing this strategy. Midway, which has struggled in recent years with mounting losses, expects to have titles available for the PlayStation 3 when it debuts but will have no titles available for the Xbox 360 at launch, according to Zucker. In explaining that decision, Zucker pointed to the base of installed users for the Xbox, which is a fraction of that for the PlayStation and PlayStation 2.