Week in Tech: Xbox One and PS4 cash in on our love for the past

The biggest event of the year for gaming didn't disappoint

Week in Tech

This year's E3 was a belter, with all the punchy explody goodness you could ever hope for from the biggest event in the gaming calendar. But it wasn't the only thing to get us excited this week: we also discovered emotional robots and said goodbye to one of Microsoft's most controversial bosses.

E3: two steps forward and a huge step back for Xbox One

The best thing about the Xbox One might just be really old: Microsoft has made it backwards compatible so it can run Xbox 360 games. That could well be the tipping point for gamers who haven't upgraded yet, but it's not all Microsoft unveiled at E3. There's a new, faster interface for the console, a brand new wireless controller, and arguably the best triple-A line-up for 2015. There's Halo 5, Gears 4 and Gears of War Ultimate Edition, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Fallout 4, Forza Motorsport 6 and the intriguing ReCore, a mysterious title from Resident Evil and Mega Man creator Keiji Inafune.

E3: Sony side up

Good news! Uncharted 4 looks absolutely amazing! Bad news! It's been delayed! That took some of the shine off Sony's E3, but it bounced back with a stellar line-up of PS4 titles, including – yes! – The Last Guardian, a remake of Final Fantasy VII, Shenmue 3, Street Fighter V, new Assassin's Creed and COD titles. and Star Wars: Battlefront with some as yet unannounced PS4-specific content. And then there's the beautiful space explorer No Man's Sky, which is so big nobody will ever see all of it. There was even a demo of a multiplayer game for Project Morpheus, Sony's VR headset.

E3: Nintendo NX and the end of the Wii U

It looks like the Wii U is on its last legs: as Hugh Langley reports, Nintendo talked about the next-gen console it hasn't officially announced yet but offered very little news for Wii U owners. This year's focus was on the 3DS, not the U, and unfortunately "this year it made for an empty showing… while other publishers talked about the far-off future, Nintendo refrained."

There was still good news, though. Star Fox is back! And that's not all: there's a whole roster of great titles coming up including Super Mario Maker, Metroid Prime: Federation Force, Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam and more. Chris Hoffman has all the must-play Nintendo titles.

E3 goes PC

This year's E3 featured its first ever PC gaming show, courtesy of our pals at PC Gamer, and it looks like Microsoft is serious about putting Windows back at the heart of PC gaming. Elsewhere we saw some really odd controllers and strange monitors, yet another attempt to recapture the spirit of the original Doom, some new versions of big-name favourites, and a whole bunch of VR stuff too.

It wouldn't be E3 without some awkward attempts at humour and a giant disembodied head looming over the audience like Big Brother. Joe Osborne picks the coolest, and the weirdest, moments of E3 2015.

New stuff from Nest

Nest, creators of the world's funkiest thermostat, has more goodies for your home – this time in the form of the Nest Cam, a Dropcam-style 1080p camera that streams to the cloud and that sticks to almost anything. It's not just for security, though: Nest wants people to stream live to YouTube. It also unveiled a second generation Nest Protect, with a new sensor that can differentiate between different kinds of fires and that can tell when you're making toast. There's also a new app that gives you total control of all your Nest products.

Hurray for Huawei: they're doing the next Nexus

It's been rumoured for a while, and now the all-seeing "source familiar with plans" says it's happening: Huawei is working with Google on the next Nexus smartphone. Or it might be working on two: one rumour says there's a smaller version coming too.

Was Elop a flop?

Stephen Elop, the man who took over Nokia and drove it off a cliff before going back to Microsoft, is leaving Microsoft. The man who many people believed would succeed Steve Ballmer as Microsoft CEO is a controversial figure, and his time at Nokia was, ahem, interesting. We round up his best and worst moments.

Even robot cowboys get the blues

This week we discovered that robot cowboys can lassoo ants with their tentacles – not a sentence we ever thought we'd type – and that humanoid robots are getting more impressive. But we also discovered that robots can now feel sad. Well, sort of. Pepper can recognise and react to human emotions, and he's been programmed to act depressed when he's not being given enough attention. For God's sake don't let him know about all the dying Sony Aibo robot dogs, or the robot wars could kick off sooner than we think.

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