E3: The Gadget Wars

E3 has finally opened its showroom floor doors and although the show is all about games, as well it should be, some hardware details have been revealed which make the next-generation struggle even more interesting.

Microsoft has revealed the add-on HD-DVD unit which is expected to retail for less than stand alone players (some claim for as little as USD 100) and will be available to X360 owners in November 2006. The release of this drive, coupled with an expected price cut of around USD 80 on the console itself is expected to make the combination an enticing alternative to Sony's USD 499, limited functionality, PS3 with its Blu-Ray drive.

As we have mentioned in the past, the real war this time around has to be that of the next-generation DVD format and it seems that round 1 may have been won by Microsoft. Sony fans suggest that the price, surprisingly revealed at the pre-E3 event instead of August as is usually the case, may be a Sony trick and a lower price may be revealed later on. Those with inside knowledge of the cost of making the Cell chip and a PS3 console however, say that it is unlikely that the price will be lowered before spring 2007.

Microsoft also announced that the eye-toy like attachment for X360, first shown at E3 2005, will be called Vision and will surface in November 2006 allowing players on XBox Live to see each other's expressions during gameplay.

Nintendo, titleholder of the exciting gadget trophy for 2006, is using its booth to showcase games but also a smart addition to its controller add-ons. The light-gun shell for the Wiimote will plug in at the base of the controller and will offer a trigger that will simulate the B button, found in the rear of the controller, and an analog stick at the top of the handle.

All these additional hardware extras may not improve a terrible game but they definitely seem like they will be great fun to use during gaming.

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