The annual Electronic Entertainment Expo (or E3 for short) is the biggest, baddest, most bodacious gaming industry event to hit the world each year. And gamers everywhere either make a pilgrimage to Los Angeles personally or stick by their computers during the three-day event (June 13th through today this year) to find out about all the freshest games that’ll soon be available. And yes, some big, fresh titles were announced this year.
A new Assassin’s Creed game (of course) called Assassin’s Creed Origins grabbed a lot of attention, along with Star Wars Battlefront 2, Madden 18 and a new Fallout game presented in a virtual reality format. A PlayStation 4 exclusive called Marvel’s Spider-Man surprised many at the show. It garnered a lot of oohs and ahhs with its Batman: Arkham-style gameplay mixed with tons of skyscraper-running and snatch-a-helicopter-out-of-the-sky web-slinging.
I, however, am not here so much to tell you about new games as much as deliver a smidgen of tech news. I mean, sure, mom may want to know what the young gamer in the family will soon be begging for, but it’s the upgraded tech stuff that’ll really dent the family budget.
The really big news was the unveiling of the new Xbox One X console. (Which was previously codenamed the Xbox Scorpio.) With this $500 (OK, $499) super console you get an upgraded 4K resolution on everything old and new, driven by a highly touted 6-teraflop Graphic Processing Unit. Now if you’re wondering what the dickens that flop stuff means, well, it’s a way of measuring how a processor does its job every second. And a “tera” is a trillion. So this new unit has 6 trillion of those little badboy whatever-they-ares grunting away every second.
Makes you wish you had six trillion flops doing your work, doesn’t it? Well, too bad, you’ll have to wait until this backward-compatible wunderkind (and its 44 new games at release) comes out in November. Oh, and though the new Xbox comes with a 1TB hard drive (that’s terabyte this time, another big unit of measure), a company called Seagate paraded its fancy new Game Drive Hub that packs 8TB of storage—or enough storage space to let you stash and tote around every Xbox game you’ve ever owned.
While we’re talking about computer innards, I also ought to mention that computer software firm Intel made a few flex-those-tech-muscles reveals, too. First of all, they talked about how eSports and virtual reality are on the grow.
For those of you who don’t know, eSports is not a soft drink or a new TV channel for fans of books about sports. ESports is a “cultural phenomenon” where video game enthusiasts get together in teams and compete to out-game each other. It’s an industry that’s expected to grow to about 500 million fans by about 2020. (That’s no teraflop, but it ain’t bad.)
Anyway, in light of that, Intel is pumping millions of dollars into big-prize payouts. And they announced a partnership with Facebook and the creation of the VR Challenger League—a worldwide competition that will showcase virtual reality game slug-fests featuring Facebook-owned Oculus equipment.
Of course, to drive all those megatasking computer demands, Intel also let hopeful gamers know about their top-of-the-line Intel Core i9-7980X Extreme Edition processor. It’s the first desktop PC processor with 18 cores. (Yeah, that a pretty big shot of get-up-and-go, too, considering that your average $2,500 computer processor has, like, 4.)
OK, I can see a number of sets of eyes glazing over, so let me end with this tidbit. Everyone knows about the Minecraft game, right? Well, they’re making a new 4K version of the game for that hyper-powered Xbox One X. It’s the exact same game, but those blocky blocks of wood and stone will now look like real blocks of wood and stone. I mean, really real.
Whoo, that’s fresh.