The new consoles from Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony
An audience member photographs the stage at the unveiling of Microsoft Corp.'s next-generation Xbox One entertainment and gaming console system, Tuesday, May 21, 2013, in Redmond, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
NEW YORK (AP) — Microsoft and Sony offered new details this week on the game consoles they will start selling before the holiday shopping season. The Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 will join Nintendo's Wii U, which came out last year, in vying for shoppers' attention and dollars at a time many people are turning to phones and tablets for gaming.
Each machine has a set of features designed to draw gamers away from rival consoles. There's one thing all three have in common, though: They are about more than gaming and include entertainment services such as television, movies and music.
With the E3 video game conference in Los Angeles wrapping up, here's a closer look at the three systems, including details on pricing and specific games.
— Wii U (Nintendo)
In November, the Japanese gaming company launched the Wii U, the follow-up to its popular Wii. That made Wii U the only new console out for last year's holiday season. The console features a tablet-like controller with a touch screen, called the GamePad, which can be used to control games on the TV set or to play games separately, as you would on a regular tablet computer. It also allows someone with a GamePad to have a different experience with a game than someone playing it at the same time with a regular Wii controller.
The GamePad also serves as a fancy remote controller to navigate a TV-watching feature called TVii. The service groups your favorite shows and sports teams together, whether it's on live TV or an Internet video service such as Hulu Plus. And it offers water-cooler moments you can chat about on social media.
Marc Whitten, Microsoft Corp.'s chief production officer of interactive entertainment, talks about the features of the next-generation Xbox One entertainment and gaming console system, Tuesday, May 21, 2013, at an event in Redmond, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Unlike the Wii, the Wii U features high-definition graphics. In doing so, Nintendo's system catches up to the years-old Xbox 360 from Microsoft and the PlayStation 3 from Sony.
Sales of the Wii U have been disappointing, with 3.5 million sold as of March 31, the end of Nintendo's fiscal year. Nintendo Co. had originally expected to sell 5.5 million units and later lowered the forecast to 4 million, but it still fell short.
Because the Wii U is already available, Nintendo focused on games at E3 this week. It showed off new titles in its popular franchises, including the racing game "Mario Kart 8," along with "Donkey Kong Country Returns: Tropical Freeze" and a rendition of "The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker."