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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 May, 2004, 12:02 GMT 13:02 UK
Games giants do battle in Los Angeles
Microsoft presentation at E3 (Photo Jon Jordan)
Microsoft has a single message - software
The three video game giants, Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony, have all detailed their vision for the industry in the coming 12 months at press conferences in Los Angeles. BBC News Online's Darren Waters looks at their different messages.

Three companies with three very different presentations.

On Monday, Microsoft invited trade and journalists to the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles to hear its plans for the coming year.

The venue was appropriate, for Microsoft brought a religious zeal to proceedings, giving a slick 21 Century sermon on the mount.

Xbox guru Jay Allard was the modern day preacher, dressed all in black, delivering his message to the faithful who, for the most part, sat in dignified silence.

Sunday School

Audience at Microsoft presentation (Photo Jon Jordan)
Has Microsoft won over its audience?
He took a leaf out of British prime minister Tony Blair's presentational style, hammering out a single message until the congregation is bludgeoned into submission.

For 'education, education, education' read 'software, software, software'.

There was no escaping the fact Microsoft had no hardware announcement to make this year.

But there was humour too, an introductory video featuring Donald Trump spoofed US TV hit The Apprentice, casting three real-life Microsoft executives against three Sony executives, played by actors.

It was at best funny, at worst insulting, as Microsoft tried to position Sony's online strategy as incompetent.

The following day and the gaming faithful gathered at the Los Angeles Center Studios for Sony's presentation.

The crowd had assembled to be wowed by Sony's new hand-held device, the PSP, but instead had to endure a long lecture on statistics, sales figures and projections.

Graph after graph after graph was shown all saying exactly the same thing: Sony is the market leader in the games console market.

It was like Sunday School, with biblical stories trotted out to children who wished they were elsewhere.

Corporate speak

Nintendo presentation at E3 (Photo Jon Jordan)
Nintendo presentation had audience excited
When the PSP was finally unveiled it came as an anti-climax. A selection of games on the machine looked visually impressive but many attendants were still reeling from the statistical presentation.

What followed was a surreal presentation by Masa Chatani, Sony Computer Entertainment chief technology officer.

It was supposed to be a foretaste of the power of PlayStation 3, but instead was a ramble on the synergies of the new Cell Processor Workstation.

Apparently it will bring the world of movies and games closer together creating a new cyber world.

Most people however were more concerned with leaving the press conference to attend Nintendo's imminent presentation.

Where Microsoft had given us a sermon and Sony delivered the contents of an annual report, Nintendo brought the hysteria of a faith healing.

Amid the splendour of the Hollywood Renaissance hotel's ballroom, Nintendo's Reggie Fils-Aime whipped up the crowd into a near frenzy.

Church of Nintendo

It helped that the audience seemed composed of a large number of Nintendo fans, who cheered, applauded, whistled and yelled at almost every announcement.

Whipping out the Nintendo DS had a restorative effect on the audience and a cry of 'hallelujah' would not have been out of place.

At the climax of the presentation, surprise footage of a new Zelda game brought the crowds to near rapture and the game's designer Shigeru Miyamoto rounded off proceedings taking to the stage armed with sword and shield.

They clapped and roared.

In the church of video games, Sony may have the most worshippers, but it was clear who the fervent believers were.

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