E3: Playstation Network Security Breach Casts Cloud Over Convention

"Star Wars: The Old Republic"

The hacking and shutdown of the cloud network will be among the topics at the annual gaming confab.

For all the talk of cloud computing, the real cloud that hangs over E3, the annual confab that runs June 7 to 9 in Los Angeles, is the computer hack that forced the shutdown of Sony's PlayStation Network in April.

As 45,000 attendees ogle new toys, the hurting gaming industry hopes Sony will rebound after a hacker compromised an estimated 100 million users of its PlayStation Network, Qriocity and Sony Online Entertainment services.

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"It will definitely be an element of the conversation," says Shawn DuBravac, chief economist for the Consumer Electronics Association.

But DuBravac and others expect talk to turn to new products, 3D, mobile gaming and tablets. "That is where the growth is," he says.

Nintendo will debut a playable model of its new Wii console, and Sony will demonstrate its next-generation PlayStation Portable, the NGP. Sony has included PlayStation Network access in the device, even as execs pray that the network runs smoothly.