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E3: The good stuff

Bill Gates' crew

Nintendo's dominance of the handheld market faced a new challenge as Nokia announced launch details of its heftily priced ($299) mobile phone 'game deck', N-Gage. Oh, and Sony also revealed the existence of PlayStation Portable (PSP). It didn't show the handheld itself but did excite everybody by promising what it would be capable of. PlayStation big brain Ken Kutaragi hailed PSP as "the Walkman of the 21st Century".
The PSP news dominated the show and even overshadowed the first public appearance of Gran Turismo 4. Still keen to big up its online strategy, Sony used GT4 to show off its Network Adaptor, but the whole process still seemed confusing compared to the up-and-running Xbox Live. By the time GT4 was released in 2005, the online mode has been removed.

As if PSP and GT4 weren't enough, Sony also confirmed that Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (which show-goers saw for the first time as a 12 minute movie) and the next GTA would be PS2 exclusive. A big EyeToy presence also ensured that the Sony stand was constantly buzzing.

Microsoft also had an impressive E3: Halo 2's screening sanctum required a dedicated two hour wait to gain access, it was revealed that PC shooter Doom 3 (which looked stunning at the previous E3) would also arrive on Xbox and Rare's Conker: Live and Reloaded joined a wave of new games destined for Microsoft's machine. Even Snoop Dogg turned up to give 'props' to the Bill Gates crew.



Above: Xbox pusher, J Allard, had every reason to smile as Microsoft's machine continued to gather momentum

The only Xbox disappointment was the missing in action status of Perfect Dark Zero. A Rare rep assured enquiring types that they "might see it here next year".

PC games were particularly exciting, with Half-Life 2 standing out as game of the show and stunners such as Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic, STALKER Oblivion Lost and Doom 3 (despite only being shown as a trailer again) ensuring that personal computing created a great deal of positive hubbub.

Too much focus on GameCube/GBA link-up, which was showed off with Zelda: Four Swords, and no blockbuster games to get the masses worked up meant that Nintendo had a pretty woeful show that was only saved from being dreadful thanks to playable Mario Kart Double Dash and movies of Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes and Resident Evil 4.

Nintendo's big boss, Satoru Iwata, also casually revealed that GameCube's successor was already in development and would be out before any next-gen machine from either Sony or Microsoft.

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