Page last updated at 05:01 GMT, Friday, 5 June 2009 06:01 UK

E3 gaming expo draws to a close

By Daniel Emery
BBC technology reporter, Los Angeles

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A computer generated animal and a skateboard game among the big hits at the E3 gaming show in LA

The E3 expo in Los Angeles has closed its doors for the last time in 2009.

More than 30,000 people attended the three-day event, where more than 100 companies showcased the latest in entertainment hardware and software.

The three big console manufacturers - Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo - launched their latest controllers at the event.

The show saw a return to form, after it was scaled back in 2007, with celebrity appearances from Steven Spielberg, Pele, James Cameron and Mickey Rourke.

'Controller wars'

"There was a lot of energy and publisher optimism at this year's show," Piers Harding-Rolls, senior analyst with Screen Digest, told the BBC.

We saw a lot of good tech demos, which is a shot in the arm for the games industry and gets both publishers and developers excited about the future
Piers Harding-Rolls
Screen Digest analyst

"We saw a solid collection of content on offer, from a wide range of publishers.

"There are a lot of good games going to hit the shops over the next 12 months," he added.

One of the main topics of conversation in corridors, meeting rooms and bars across the convention centre was about the advent of new motion controllers.

Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo all came out with new hardware and kicked off what has been called the "controller wars", although Nintendo's kit was first announced at E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) in 2008.

Microsoft launched a hands-free controller - Project Natal - that used motion sensors to detect user movement, facial expression, and voice.

Sony came out with a motion controller for the PS3. It uses two controllers that work in conjunction with the Sony PlayStation Eye. Sony said the gadget was due to go on sale in Spring 2010.

And Nintendo offered users a modified Wii controller, called the Wii Motion Plus, which was announced last year, and a pulse measuring device called the Wii Vitality Sensor.

By contrast, Microsoft has not announced when the Project Natal hardware will be available.

"We saw a lot of good tech demos, which is a shot in the arm for the games industry and gets both publishers and developers excited about the future," said Mr Harding-Rolls.

A number of game sequels were also announced at the show, including Super Mario Galaxy 2, Mass Effect 2, Bioshock 2 and Just Cause 2.

E3 also gave people the first look at Avatar - the next project of director James Cameron in which film and game have been developed side-by-side.

Due out at the end of 2009, the Avatar game puts players on the alien world of Pandora where they are thrown into the middle of a planet-wide conflict.



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