The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2001 is the North American game industry's single most important event, a time when game publishers lay out their wares in readiness for the Fall and Christmas buying season. Walking around the show floor, you could be mistaken for thinking, "Economic downturn? What economic downturn?"
On game publisher Activision's booth, there was a fully rigged skateboard pipe. Nintendo, and Sony didn't have booths, more like office complexes. There was a giant Monster Truck parked outside the entrance to the LA Convetion Center. No expense was spared.
Then there's the proverbial booth bunny syndrome: somewhere else you could have your picture taken with a scantily clad young lady dressed as a stripper-moonlighting-as-a-cop standing in front of a police car. In fact, you can pretty much categorize women working at E3 into two groups: booth bunnies, and everyone else with a clipboard, or folder (either working in marketing, or PR for a game company). It's testosterone heaven, and if the assumption is that electronic entertainmnet is mainstream then, the mainstream needs some serious therapy.
Yup, E3 is a guy's thing. So, sex, violence, and chest thumping marketing hype rules. This year was special in that regard, too. This was the year that Microsoft would be bring its unique brand of extreme chest thumping to the game industry - the Xbox. But, there was more to E3 then just Xbox.
E3 Announcements and Launches
Here is a list, filtered of course, of the announcements that rocked the gaming world at E3. Well, maybe rocked the gaming world is too strong, but someone at each of these companies spent a lot of money to get the word out, that's for sure.
- Microsoft announced that Xbox would launcy on November 8, 2001 and retail for $299.99. Microsoft stated that it would ship 600-800,000 units at launch and plans on selling between 1.2 and 1.5 million units by year end. At launch, the company should have anywhere between 8 and 12 titles available. The heavy hitters for Microsoft are Halo, Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee, Project Gotham, NFL Fever 2002, and Amped. Three days before E3, Microsoft had scored a coup by announcing that EA was going to have 10 titles available for the Xbox, mostly from its EA Sports line-up, as well as The Simpsons: Road Rage, Medal of Honor, and Cel Damage.
- Nintendo retaliates by announcing that its GameCube will launch on November 5, 2001. It's not until after E3 is over and done that Nintendo confirms that the GameCube will be priced at $199.95, and that launch titles will include Luigi's Mansion, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Star Wars Rogue Leader: Rogue Squadron II, and the ever so cute, Pikmin.
- Activision has the extreme and action sports franchises sewn up, and celebrates at E3 by having Tony Hawks, the real flesh version, demonstrating his moves on the booth. This is the best on-booth show put on by a non-woman. Activision also has Return to Castle Wolfenstein, which is either a sacrilegious sequel or a highly anticipated update, depending on your point of view.
- Capcom shows off its Resident Evil Code Veronica X, as well as Devil May Care, for the PS2. The titles are stunning to look at.
- Ubi Soft spans the spectrum of genres with Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon, Disney's Tarzan, and a Batman title for the PS2 based on Warner Bros. animated cartoon series.