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Microsoft XBox + Sony PlayStation Yesterdays Gaming Technology At E3 Game Show

Microsoft XBox + Sony PlayStation Yesterdays Gaming Technology At E3 Game Show

Advances in virtual-reality technology and a growing appetite for smartphone apps are shaking up the $100 billion videogame industry with both Sony and Microsoft struggling to hold onto console market share as PC gaming makes a comeback due to faster processors, new graphics boards and even water cooled systems. 

The annual Electronic Entertainment Expo-better known as E3 is dominated by Microsoft with their Xbox and Sony with their PlayStation. But shifting tastes are creating more space dedicated to virtual and augmented reality, online gaming and mobile apps.

“The videogame business isn’t just about console games anymore,” says Sean McGowan, an analyst at the investment firm Oppenheimer & Co told the Wall Street Journal at the weekend.

 Wearable devices like the Apple Watch and other new platforms can’t be ignored. “Consumers are experiencing digital entertainment in more ways than just sitting in front of a box in the living room,” he said.

What’s more, thousands of social media savvy players are invited to the Los Angeles conference halls for the first time, giving game makers one more audience to woo. 

A year ago, six companies at E3 were dedicated to virtual reality. This year, there will be 27. 

The big star is set to be the Oculus VR which last week was the star of a press conference when a new consumer version was introduced. 

Now that virtual-reality hardware is close to reaching consumers, it is crucial that software makers make experiences good enough to convince people to buy pricey new hardware. The market for virtual reality could be valued at more than $5 billion by 2018, according to KZero Worldwide, a U.K. consulting firm.

The more immersive experience “could dramatically change the way people play games,” says Mike Olson, an analyst at Piper Jaffray.

E3 first carved out space for mobile and online games in 2010 with just a handful of exhibitors. This year, 74 companies including heavy hitters like Zynga Inc. and China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd. will be there.

With no major consoles from Sony, Microsoft or Nintendo Co. being shown this year, the emphasis will be on big games like “Star Wars: Battlefront” from Electronic Arts Inc. that can move the needle for companies. A new instalment of Activision Blizzard Inc.’s “Skylanders” and a “Star Wars” edition of Walt Disney Co.’s “Infinity”-two games in a growing genre called toys to life-will likely draw interest. Hard-core Nintendo fans will hope to see new games for classic franchises like “Star Fox.”