Explaining Southern California's economy

E3 in LA: In the game industry's California backyard, the big star is French

E3 Expo

Roberto (Bear) Guerra/KPCC

Gamers take in the sights at the E3 Expo. At this big event for Los Angeles and Southern California, the big star is Ubisoft, a French company.

E3 Expo

Roberto (Bear) Guerra/KPCC

Michael Chan, of Hong Kong, plays new Sony PlayStation game at the 2012 E3 Expo.

E3 Expo

Roberto (Bear) Guerra/KPCC

The Annual Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, started in 1995 in Los Angeles. The popular conference saw almost 47,000 attendees in 2011.

E3 Expo

Roberto (Bear) Guerra/KPCC

E3 Expo attendees take a picture in front of an advertisement for the popular video game, Halo.


All the biggest names in gaming have pulled into Los Angeles this week for E3. Disney Interactive, Electronic Arts, and Activision are just a few of the companies that call Southern California home. All these companies have had hits and made millions. Some have created veritable pop-culture phenomena with games like "Medal of Honor" and "Call of Duty."

But at E3, the company that getting all the buzz is...French!

(OK, Activision is owned in part by Vivendi, a French company, but it's still based in L.A.)

It's Ubisoft, and its new game, "Watch Dogs," is the talk of E3. The actual game itself is cryptic ‚ but that's the point. It's based on concepts such as surveillance, hacking, and security. You can check out a sample here.

It rather notably isn't a sequel to a previous game. The business model of the gaming business has become highly reliant of offering new iterations of essentially the same thing. Ubisoft is somewhat guilty of this itself, with its "Assassin's Creed" series. 

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