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E3 2015: Oculus Rift, 'Star Wars: Battlefront' and life at E3 in 30 pounds of armor




Stormtroopers take pictures with E3 to promote
Stormtroopers take pictures with E3 to promote "Star Wars: Battlefront" on Tuesday, June 16, 2015.
Natalie Given/KPCC
Stormtroopers take pictures with E3 to promote
A cow promoting the latest iteration of "Farming Simulator" at E3 on Tuesday, June 16, 2015.
Natalie Given/KPCC
Stormtroopers take pictures with E3 to promote
A player uses Sony's virtual reality headset, Project Morpheus, along with Playstation Move controllers at E3 on Tuesday, June 16, 2015.
Natalie Given/KPCC
Stormtroopers take pictures with E3 to promote
Someone demonstrating a device that lets you walk and run, wearing special shoes, in order to control your character, at E3 on Tuesday, June 16, 2015.
Natalie Given/KPCC
Stormtroopers take pictures with E3 to promote
A statue promoting the video game "XCOM 2" at E3 on Tuesday, June 16, 2015.
Natalie Given/KPCC
Stormtroopers take pictures with E3 to promote
An E3 attendee gets a photo of his head getting cut off with a couple booth workers promoting the game "Life Is Feudal" — wearing full body armor — on Tuesday, June 16, 2015.
Natalie Given/KPCC
Stormtroopers take pictures with E3 to promote
A zombie promoting the latest "Walking Dead" video game tries to startle a con-goer at E3 on Tuesday, June 16, 2015.
Natalie Given/KPCC
Stormtroopers take pictures with E3 to promote
Fans play the latest "Rock Star" game, complete with cheering (hired) fans, at E3 on Tuesday, June 16, 2015.
Natalie Given/KPCC
Stormtroopers take pictures with E3 to promote
E3 attendees wait in line to get into a cave promoting the new "Tomb Raider" game on Tuesday, June 16, 2015.
Natalie Given/KPCC
Stormtroopers take pictures with E3 to promote
A display promoting "Dark Souls III" — which also spurt blood high into the air — at E3 on Tuesday, June 16, 2015.
Natalie Given/KPCC
Stormtroopers take pictures with E3 to promote
A robot from the game"Fallout 4" at E3 on Tuesday, June 16, 2015.
Natalie Given/KPCC
Stormtroopers take pictures with E3 to promote
E3 attendees play classic video game Donkey Kong in an area promoting the new Adam Sandler movie "Pixels" on Tuesday, June 16, 2015.
Natalie Given/KPCC
Stormtroopers take pictures with E3 to promote
A Lego Hulk statue promoting the next Lego Marvel game at E3 on Tuesday, June 16, 2015.
Natalie Given/KPCC
Stormtroopers take pictures with E3 to promote
A display promoting gamer headphones at E3 on Tuesday, June 16, 2015.
Natalie Given/KPCC
Stormtroopers take pictures with E3 to promote
A Mad Max car promoting the film's video game tie-in, at E3 on Tuesday, June 16, 2015.
Natalie Given/KPCC


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We went to E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, on the event's opening day to see what's coming up in the video game world and how the industry is responding to it. Unlike a convention like San Diego Comic-Con, E3 is a trade convention targeted at insiders — but those insiders still love video games as much as anyone. The production values look even higher and more polished than that of Comic-Con, and with good reason — it's a significantly larger industry than film when it comes to how much money gaming generates.

There was a smattering of cosplay at E3, but far fewer people among the 50,000 attendees dressed up in costume than you'd see at the average non-industry fan convention. Still, we talked to a few of them, from one cosplaying civilian to Rex Howell, who was dressed up in 30 pounds of armor working at the booth for the game "Life Is Feudal" — and slowly sweating to death.

The attendance is also reflective of the male-heavy video game industry. While there are plenty of female gamers, particularly in the mobile-casual game market, those working in the industry are still predominantly male. That's reflected at the industry-exclusive convention, with women on the floor being few and far between. Many of the women who were in attendance were actually working at the booths rather than being there as attendees.

Star Wars: Battlefront

One of the biggest games was "Star Wars: Battlefront," with a huge line of people waiting to get in for their chance to play it. It's coming out ahead of the new film, "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," so that it can cash in on the Christmas video game sales surge. It lets fans enter into the classic "Star Wars" films in a first-person-shooter game.

"My expectations were low, based on other 'Star Wars' games in the past, but that one was pretty cool," one fan said.

It's an example of how video games are just as susceptible to sequels as the film industry — if not more so.

Virtual reality gaming, from Oculus to Morpheus

The biggest story of E3 2015 was the proliferation of virtual reality gaming, with numerous companies taking a swipe at a more immersive experience. It came from both the hardware side, with companies like Sony showing off their Project Morpheus hardware and the headline-grabbing Oculus Rift available for fans to try out, as well as the software side, with developers using devices like the Oculus at their own booths for fans to experience their games.

We also tried out the Oculus ourselves. It's maybe not as immersive as you would like — our intern Natalie Given explained her experience.

"I would call it more of a broken reality," Given said. She found it disorienting to be able to control your viewpoint by moving around your head, while still using a traditional video game controller for much of what your character does in the game we tested it with, "Adrift."

We also saw other variations. Project Morpheus, for example, combines with Sony's Move controllers to let you control your game without a traditional controller. We even saw one booth with a demo showing how you could run in real life to control your character in the game, using special shoes and a special surface. Virtual reality might not be here yet — but it's getting closer.

E3 runs through Thursday in downtown Los Angeles.



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