The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) is home to the year's biggest gaming announcements, from new consoles to the latest games from your favorite publishers and developers. This past Monday, Microsoft, Sony, EA, and Ubisoft held major news conferences to showcase all the goodies that will make our wallets hurt this fall and beyond.
With each conference packing at least an hour full of hardware and game announcements, that's a lot of information and bright, shiny pixels to take in. Don't be overwhelmed, fellow gamer -- we've broken it down for you after the jump.
5. The Xbox One
As we learned in last month's Xbox One reveal, the console is showing some significant upgrades from the 360, including a more responsive Kinect and refined controller. One announcement that generated cheers was the abolition of Microsoft Points, the Xbox's proprietary and often-annoying form of currency. Instead, you purchase games and other items on Xbox Live with your actual local currency. Hooray!
Not ready to take the plunge? The Xbox 360 got a redesign, and the new version is available right now. There is also plenty of 360 content coming out between now and when the One arrives, so there's no need to give it up just yet.
4. PlayStation 4
Many people are arguing -- pretty convincingly -- that the Sony news conference won the day. Directly referencing unpopular Microsoft policies, Sony announced that the PS4 does not have DRM, does not impose online checks (which the Xbox One requires), and does not have restrictions on disc-based games (unlike Xbox One, which would make you jump through some hoops to lend your game disc to a buddy like the good ol' days).
Check out this video:
They might as well have dropped the mike and not shown any games. After the glaze of tonight's laser light show, and as more details are revealed, we have a feeling there might be some fine print about these popular policies that puts an asterisk next to Sony's "Best Presser" award.
3. So, what happened to Nintendo?
Nintendo opted for a separate online Nintendo Direct stream this morning rather than an official major news conference. After the dubious start to the Wii U, opting out of a major E3 presser seems like a bad sign, but stay tuned -- the announcements today might just calm fans who seem to think Nintendo's sky is falling.
2. The GAMES. Good God, the GAMES.
We were bombarded with enough games to make our head spin. On the nostalgia front, Mirror's Edge 2 and the Xbox One adaptation of Killer Instinct drew some solid applause. Other famed franchises with new installments include Halo, Killzone, Battlefield, Assassin's Creed, Final Fantasy, and Kingdom Hearts. New IP shone today -- be on the lookout for more details on the following promising titles: Watch_Dogs, the Division, Destiny, Titanfall, and Sunset Overdrive.
It's gonna be a generation full of sweet new stuff, so:
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1. Save your pennies, kids.
The biggest question going into the latest battle in the console wars: "So, how much is this all gonna cost?" The Xbox One will cost $499 at launch and includes the improved Kinect camera. The PS4 announced its $399 price point later in the afternoon to thunderous applause. However, there's no word yet if the $399 includes the camera. Whichever console you choose, it's still a pretty penny to drop during the holiday season -- and that's without games.
That's only scratching the surface of today's announcements, and there's still more E3 news to come this week. Visit the E3 website to keep up with all the latest news and to catch up on yesterday's conferences.