Smartphones May Finally Show Up At E3

By  |  Tuesday, May 10, 2011 at 8:17 am

Contests aren’t something I’d normally report on, but T-Mobile’s “Battle for E3” contest strikes me as newsworthy.

Entrants must upload a 15-second video to T-Mobile’s Facebook page, explaining why they are ultimate gamers and should therefore be chosen as an E3 “correspondent” for the company (i.e., play lots of video games before they’re released). The top prize, aside from the trip to Los Angeles, includes LG’s G2x Android phone.

Without reading into this too much, I think it’s interesting that a wireless carrier is taking such a keen interest in E3. This, combined with other signs, make me think smartphones could finally have a strong showing at the trade show.

Consider these other factors that make smartphones more relevant for E3 2011 than any other year:

  • Sony Ericsson has launched the Xperia Play gaming phone, and Sony has grander plans to open a game store on Android phones this year.
  • Windows Phone 7 launched in October with Xbox Live integration. Microsoft has slowly started tying WinPho games back to the Xbox 360.
  • Nvidia has made a huge mobile push with its Tegra 2 processor, which appears in several Android-based smartphones and tablets. The company has a booth at the show, and I doubt graphics cards will be the only things on display.
  • Major publishers and developers have moved from cheap cash-ins to legitimately good mobile games, and they’ve done so instead of supporting ¬†the PSP or Nintendo DS. Examples include EA’s Dead Space, id’s Rage and Epic’s Infinity Blade.

There will always be pieces of the smartphone gaming biz missing from E3. Apple won’t be there, nor will countless small-time developers who provide the content. But if I don’t see dozens of iPhones, Android phones and Windows Phones lining the booths of the Los Angeles¬†Convention Center, I’ll be shocked — and a little disappointed.

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