Again we find ourselves in this quaint building as E. Phoenix presents an
overview of the first two days of keynotes at the Electronic Entertainment
Expo. Fortunately this building was quake proof in light of the
announcements made here.-ed
The first day of the E3 convention had Dr. Otto and I scurrying around the Los Angeles Convention Center trying to make it to the theater in time for the keynote speakers: president and CEO of Sega of America, Tom Kalinske and president of Sony Electronic Publishing, Olaf Olafsson.
At the first keynote of the day, Kalinske spoke to an audience that was standing room only even in the overflow room; everybody seemed to want to hear what he had to say in light of Nintendo's Ultra 64 delay and how Sega of America would handle the Saturn this side of the Pacific. Kalinske expressed that there was a place for everyone in the multi-billion dollar home video game market and that the PC gaming market is not the huge threat to console manufacturers that some see is as. Kalinske energetically spoke about Sega's plans for the Saturn, showed short blurbs of some of the more popular games such as Daytona and Panzer Dragoon, and premiered three Saturn television advertisements following them by stating that they should be on the air soon. He wrapped up the keynote by saying that Saturns had been shipped to retailers in the US and Canada the day before and were, at this moment, on store shelves. Many audience members seemed surprised, to say the least.
Olaf Olafsson followed suit by extolling the power of Sony's bid in the next generation war and showing many impressive games that were either in development or on store shelves in Japan for Sony's 32-Bit powerhouse, the PlayStation. Many were impressed at the abilities of the machine.
Olafsson then invited Steve Race, president of Sony Computer of America, on stage to tell the audience a little about the pricing and when their unit will be released. Race walked slowly onto the stage, leaned toward the mic and said, "299." The crowd exploded with excitement. Minutes later Olafsson announced the September 9th release date and the crowd fell quiet; everyone seemed to feel that this date gave Sega too much of a lead.
Many businessmen left after this announcement even though the keynote wasn't over.
Day two began the same way with Dr. Otto and I racing to catch the beginning of the Friday's keynotes. Nintendo of America chairman, Howard Lincoln and Silicon Graphics president, Tom Jermoluk would be speaking that morning.
Compared to Kalinske's and Olafsson's full house the day before, Lincoln's audience seemed sparse as the overflow room only had 5 audience members and everyone in the main auditorium appeared to have a seat. Lincoln addressed the issue of software piracy, disappointing an audience who wanted to hear about the destiny of the Ultra 64. Lincoln pointed the finger at pirating units such as the "Super Magicom" and the "Super Wild Card," which are used to copy Super Nintendo games onto 3.5 inch disks.
On the other hand, Jermoluk's speech was very impressive and entertaining. Jermoluk began his speech by stating the he wasn't actually there and that the audience was seeing his hologram. He spoke about how technology was allowing consumers to examine architecture and interior decoration in a building that hasn't been constructed yet. Jermoluk's presentation was littered with jokes poking fun at himself, his position, technology, and even a reference to Bill Gates' wealth. Some impressive specs were shown about the Ultra 64 along with some demos done on an SGI workstation rounding out a well put together presentation.
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