Last week, the video-game industry converged on the L.A. Convention Center for its annual dog-and-pony show - the Electronics Entertainment Expo, aka E3. Here's a look at what has people talking.

Last week, the video-game industry converged on the L.A. Convention Center for its annual dog-and-pony show - the Electronics Entertainment Expo, aka E3. Here's a look at what has people talking.

The hardware

The biggest news from the big three - Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft - centered around removing the controller from the gaming experience and making systems interface with players more directly.

Motion control is nothing new - Nintendo's Wii gained popularity with its Wii Remote interface. But, as announced at last year's E3, the next step is to make the Wii more accurate at interpreting a player's motions.

The Wii MotionPlus, a small snap-on device due out in the next few weeks, is Nintendo's $20 upgrade to make this happen.

Not to be outdone, Sony and Microsoft unveiled motion-based control systems of their own.

Microsoft's Project Natal takes motion-sensing a step further, adding voice recognition and motion tracking. It'll effectively allow the gaming system to watch the player and interpret their actions, in place of traditional button presses. Natal also offers facial recognition, so it can spot registered players and respond appropriately.

Sony's offering builds off the PlayStation Eye peripheral and adds a wand-like device that allows objects in virtual space to be manipulated by players in the real world.

Unlike the MotionPlus, the Sony and Microsoft projects are at least a year from market. But it was interesting to see that someday gaming may be all about flapping your wings and running in place rather than sitting on a couch pushing buttons.

Sony's long-rumored redesign of the PlayStation Portable was confirmed with PSP Go (it will not replace the traditional PSP). The new handheld lacks the UMD disk drive of its predecessor, instead favoring 16 GBs of built-in flash memory for game and media storage.

Social networking was a buzzword, as Nintendo and Microsoft both announced integrations with popular services like Facebook and Twitter on their game systems. Sony unveiled more media partners for its video services, including Showtime, Starz Media and Comcast's G4.

The games

Gamers are always eager to get a glimpse of titles they can look forward to around the holidays, but the E3 mantra seemed to be "early 2010."

This year and next look to be rich in return titles. Hype was highest for a Call of Duty Modern Warfare title, three new Metal Gear Solid titles (for the 360, PSP and arcades) and two Halo titles - Halo: ODST this year and Halo: Reach for the next holiday season.

The long-missing Splinter Cell: Conviction returned in a big way, while Ubisoft revealed its revamped sci-fi/historical stealth game Assassin's Creed 2 will take an Italian Renaissance setting this time out.

Role-playing fans got some good news - Final Fantasy XIII gets a spring 2010 release for Xbox 360 and Sony PS3, while the next Final Fantasy title, a massively multiplayer online game, was unveiled at Sony's press conference.

LucasArts and BioWare premiered an impressive trailer for the Star Wars online game, The Old Republic, while EA revealed that the long-in-development Dragon Age: Origins would ship this fall.

It's impossible to mention all the titles announced this year, but E3 definitely returned to its pre-2007 levels of spectacle and excitement. With a full slate of exciting titles and the future of motion-control on the horizon, this might be the beginning of gaming's rise to ubiquity with all age groups.