E3 folds tent; leaves crowd wanting more

Record-breaking attendance, mouthwatering hardware announcements, and enough games to satisfy any sane gamer highlight the show.

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LOS ANGELES--The universe was in alignment this year for E3, though blowing the Xbox 360's cover the week before the event seemed to be at odds with the traditional quiet period leading into the game industry's annual extravaganza.

Regardless of what one's opinion was of that strategy (Microsoft si, or Microsoft no), there seemed to be no shortage of news at this year's annual event.

Sony geeked out the entire industry with movies that showed off what its upcoming hardware should be able to do; Microsoft gave patient show-goers a chance to get their hands on the next generation of gaming; and Nintendo proffered the first details on the Revolution, as well as launched a stiff counterattack to Sony's encroaching PSP with its sleek Game Boy Micro.

But it wasn't all about the hardware. Between The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Kingdom Hearts 2, Okami, Spore, Kingdom Under Fire: Heroes, New Super Mario Bros., Ultimate Spider-Man, Star Wars: Empire at War, Burnout Revenge, the new Metal Gear games, and dozens more, it seemed like every platform and every publisher had something hopeful in the works.

Show officials said a record 70,000 attendees walked the miles of aisles located at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The shorthand version of metrics tallied as follows: 547,000 square feet of exhibition space consumed, 400 exhibitors in place, 5,000-plus products on display (80 percent should be on store shelves by year's end), and 1,000 new product launches tucked into the many nooks and crannies of the LACC.

From ascending the stairs of the South Hall to shining a light in the corners of the expo's oft-overlooked flea market of gaming esoterica that is Kentia Hall, there was plenty to see, even if sightings of the systems that dominated conversations (the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Revolution) were few and far between. This means only one thing: We already have something to look forward to for next year's show.

Mark your calendars: E3 and GameSpot will return to the Los Angeles Convention Center May 10-12, 2006.

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