The Electronic Entertainment Expo – better known as E3 – is the single most influential, well-publicized videogame conference in the world. Traditionally dominated by console developers and manufacturers, mobile games and devices played an increased role at this year’s conference. Let’s take a look.
Before attendees could enter the Los Angeles Convention Center’s South Hall, they needed to pass around – or through – Qualcomm®’s huge, tiki-themed mobile pavilion. Dozens of mobile devices were available for demonstrations, showcasing their Snapdragon processor found in many Android phones and tablets.
Once inside the LACC, a Mobile Game Pavilion was erected just off the main concourse. Fifteen firms demonstrated mobile games, from small publishers like Natsume, to Tapjoy partner 505 Games and publishing juggernauts like Sega®, Disney®, and PlayStation®. Of note, Sega is adapting Double Fine-developed comical puzzle platformer The Cave for iPad, which felt like a natural fit.
A noticeable trend emerged this year in the main hall exhibits – a number of large publishers set up dedicated mobile areas in their booths alongside console offerings. No mobile game at E3 received a bigger push than Halo Spartan Assault, coming this summer to Windows Phone 8. Set between Halo 3 and Halo 4, Spartan Assault is a mobile twin-stick shooter take on one of Microsoft’s most important gaming franchise. Its footprint in the busy Xbox booth – a few dozen Surface tablets demoed the title – was significant.
Square Enix’s Deus Ex: The Fall also carved out a notable space on the show floor. The publisher of the Final Fantasy and Tomb Raider® franchises set up a half dozen iPads right next to its 30-foot cinema display. As far as the game itself is concerned, Deus Ex: The Fall isn’t making any compromises in its first mobile outing; all of the hacking, cybernetic augmentations, and stealth action the series is known for were present in the playable demo.
Konami® set up a whole mobile section as well, with Slot Revolution, Casino League Texas Hold ’em, MLB Live Challenge, and Domo Jump rubbing elbows with its flagship title, Metal Gear Solid V.
But no publisher showed off more mobile games at E3 than EA – no surprise, given the size of the publisher’s mobile portfolio. EA’s mobile showcase featured half a dozen titles, highlighted by the greatly-anticipated Plants vs Zombies 2, coming to iOS devices this July.
Fightback, another title at EA’s mobile showcase, is indicative of another trend: console developers making forays into the mobile space. A side-scrolling combo/rhythm beat ’em up, Fightback is being developed by Ninja Theory. This is the first mobile offering from the team best known for console titles Heavenly Sword, Enslaved, and this year’s DmC.
If that trend continues, expect even more mobile at E3 2014.