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The History of E3 (1995 – 2011)


At AVADirect we are proud to have our first presence at the Electronic Entertainment Expo. To celebrate we here is a brief history of major announcements at E3 from 1995 to 2011.


  • Sony enters the video game with the announcement of its PlayStation.
  • Sega talks about the Saturn in an attempt to steal the spotlight from Nintendo’s Ultra 64 (later changed to Nintendo 64).
  • Nintendo revealed the Virtual Boy system, which didn’t pan out too well.
  • Battle Arena Toshinden, Ridge Racer, Panzer Dragoon, Virtua Fighter and D were all demoed games that earned strong attention in 1995.

1996 (Los Angeles, California)

  • Nintendo unveiled the Nintendo 64 and Super Mario 64.
  • Capcom demoed Resident Evil, their first game of the survival horror franchise, and Star Gladiator, their first 3D fighting game for PlayStation.
  • Naughty Dog demoed its first PlayStation game: Crash Bandicoot.
  • Sego previewed Nights into Dreams… for the Saturn.
  • Tomb Raider is announced by Eido Interactive.
  • Unreal Engine makes its debut into the spotlight, but no real gameplay was shown yet.
  • StarCraft is premiered in the very early stages of build.

1997 (Atlanta, Georgia)

  • Half-Life was unveiled.
  • Unreal was unveiled.
  • Superman for Nintendo 64 was first shown and later released in 1999. It has been highly considered “one of the worst video games of all time”.
  • Metal Gear Solid was unveiled for PlayStation.

1998 (Atlanta, Georgia)

  • Half-Life was shown in its final developmental stage.
  • Duke Nukem Forever made its world premiere.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was presented.

1999 (Los Angeles, California)

  • The Dreamcast was showcased.
  • Nintendo announced the “Dolphin”. The “Dolphin” turned out to be a codename for the Nintendo Gamecube.


  • The PlayStation 2 is unveiled.
  • A very early developed Xbox was featured.
  • Halo: Combat Evolved (still only a 3rd person shooter PC game) was premiered.
  • Rumors of the Game Boy Advance had gained traction for Nintendo, while they were still backing the N64.
  • Dreamcast began showcasing second gen games (Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes).
  • Unreal Engine 2 was showcased for the first time.


  • Both the Xbox and the Nintendo GameCube were featured and then released later in 2001.
  • Notable Featured Xbox games included: Oddworld: Munch’s Oddysee, Enclave, Jet Set Radio Future, Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding, Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, and Halo: Combat Evolved.
  • Notable Featured GameCube games included: Luigi’s Mansion, Super Smash Bros. Melee, and Super Mario Sunshine.
  • Dreamcast made its appearance at E3.


  • Xbox Live was unveiled.
  • Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell was featured for the Xbox.
  • Notable GameCube games showcased included: Super Mario Sunshine, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Star Fox Adventures, and Resident Evil Zero.
  • Nintendo also revealed the first major wireless controller, The Wavebird.
  • Nintendo Game Boy Advance games showcased included: The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Doom II, and Super Monkey Ball Jr.
  • Doom 3 was revealed for the first time, as PC game makers start to make appearances at E3.


  • Half-Life 2 was unveiled.
  • A demo of Halo 2 was shown.
  • PlayStation Portable was introduced.
  • There was an extreme spotlight on the MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) genre.
  • The Sims 2 was revealed.
  • Activision debuted Call of Duty by having employees dress as Nazi soldiers and harass the audience.


  • PlayStation Portable and Nintendo DS were featured.
  • A The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess trailer was shown.
  • Sony announced the PlayStation 3 would make an appearance at the next E3


  • The first E3 to be aired on television (all future conventions were aired on the G4 network until 2012).
  • PlayStation 3 was debuted.
  • Nintendo unveiled the next project titled “Revolution”, codename for the Wii, and the Game Boy Micro. Nintendo, however, did not release the motion controllers until later that year at the Tokyo Game Show.
  • Microsoft revealed the Xbox 360.


  • Microsoft announced further plans for Xbox 360 and Xbox Live.
  • Windows Vista was the current Microsoft OS.
  • Upcoming games were announced for the Xbox 360, including: Halo 3, Grand Left Auto IV, and Gears of War.
  • Nintendo discussed further plans for the Wii and the first game was Wii Sports.
  • Upcoming games announced for the Wii included: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and Super Mario Galaxy.
  • Sony announced two versions of PlayStation 3, 20GB and 60GB.
  • Sony also revealed a motion sensing controller.
  • Upcoming games announced for the PlayStation 3 included: Grand Theft Auto IV, Final Fantasy XIII, and MotorStorm.
  • Upcoming games announced for the PSP included: Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, Crisis Core: Final Fantasy Vii, and Ridge Racer.

2007 (Santa Monica, California)

  • Microsoft announced Disney movies would be coming to the Xbox 360 Live Marketplace.
  • Halo 3 and Halo Wars trailers were shown.
  • A Halo-themed Xbox 360 was announced.
  • BioShock, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warefare, and Assassin’s Creed were all demoed for Xbox 360.
  • Crysis for demoed for the PC.
  • Wii Balance Baord, Wii Zapper and Wii Wheel were all demoed.
  • Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Super Mario Galaxy launch dates were set.
  • Sony announced a smaller version of the PlayStation Portable.
  • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots was demoed.


  • Fallout 3, Gears of War 2, Fable II, Resident Evil 5, and Saints Row 2 were demoed.
  • Xbox 360 dashboard update and avatar system were announced.
  • Wii MotionPlus was announced.
  • Wii Music was unveiled and demoed.
  • PlayStation Network updates were revealed, including Life With PlayStation and a new video download service.


  • New motion sensing devices revealed for PlayStation 3 (PlayStation Move) and for Xbox 360 (Kinect).
  • PSP Go was announced.


  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword was revealed for Wii MotionPlus and Nintendo 3DS.
  • Xbox 360 S model was announced.
  • Sony displayed its upcoming motion-sensing game controller called the PlayStation Move.


  • Nintendo announced the Will U.
  • Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7 were announced for the Nintendo 3DS.
  • Nintendo celebrated the 25th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda.
  • Microsoft announced Halo 4 and Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Edition.
  • PlayStation Vita was set to come out the following year.
  • BioShock Infinite, Mass Effect 3, and Far Cry 3 were all shown.

Nikita Fedorov

I'm a marketing professional who loves to get down to the geeky details. When I'm not studying the latest components or industry news, I can be found biking, hiking or gaming.

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