E3 2004 – Day 2

May 14, 2004

With E3 fully underway, we head into day 2 to see what else this massive Expo has in store for us.

The first thing I want to address is something that affects the PC gaming and PC hardware markets instead of the console gaming world. Alienware announced a new line of computers called ALX or Alienware Luxury Experience. This new line of computers will sport the new Video Array technology with a custom Alienware X2 motherboard built by Iwill. The premise behind the Video Array technology is that you have 2 video cards and each card is responsible for a half of the screen. In the instance where one half is more graphically intense than the other, special load balancing software kicks in and divides the work up evenly. I have been wondering how long it would be before we saw dual GPU machines and it appears that time is upon us. The X2 will feature dual PCI Express slots and the only way you will be able to get your hands on this puppy is by throwing down the cash for an Alienware ALX system.

The first ALX systems won’t come equipped with an X2 motherboard. Those systems are estimated to be out in Q3/Q4 of this year and will sport full water cooling and an 800W power supply. You can bet the price tag will be close to that of a small car.

At the Vivendi Universal booth, Gabe Newell was showing off some content based on the Half Life 2 engine. The content that Newell was showing off was the new CS based on the HL2 source. The game demoed the classic Aztec map and added more visual affects than gameplay modifications. Newell promised that we would see reworked versions of all HL content to run under the new HL2 source when Half Life 2 shipped this summer, including Team Fortress. No word yet on if this content would be delivered via retail channels or over Valve’s Steam system.

Another engine on hand at E3 this year is the Unreal 3.0 engine. Epic Games was showing off the next version of the engine that powers games such as Splinter Cell, Rainbow 6, and the upcoming Star Wars: Republic Commando. The engine is important because it will no doubt be used for many games in the next generation consoles since only DX9 equipped PCs are able to utilize the technology today. You can find out all the technical details on the new engine here

When I mentioned the Nintendo Press Conference the other day where they debuted the DS, I failed to mention a price tag for the new portable unit. The reason behind that is that Nintendo has yet to announce the pricing for it. That hasn’t stopped EB Games and Gamestop who are offering the unit for preorder at a $199 price tag. They also list a November 29th ship date. EB’s website mentions that the ship date and retail price are subject to change. They also mention that if the unit comes out at $149 consumers will receive the lower price instead of the current $199.

To compete with the list of games and developers for the PSP that Sony released, Nintendo has come back with a list of 100 developers and over 40 games currently in the works. Some of the titles include:

  • Animal Crossing DS (Trailer)
  • Mario Kart DS (Trailer)
  • Metroid Prime: Hunters (Trailer)
  • Super Mario 64×4 (Trailer)
  • Super Mario Bros. DS (Trailer)
  • Viewtiful Joe
  • Dynasty Warriors
  • Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles
  • Unnamed Namco RPG
  • Unnamed Team Ninja game (Tecmo)

I have a feeling that the new war will be for the handheld market with Nintendo having a massive headstart.

Stay tuned as we wrap up E3 2004 and give you a complete run down of anything we haven’t covered yet.

P.S. Pickle, these booth babes are for you: HomeLanFed, The Tech Zone – Day 1, The Tech Zone – Day 2.