The annual giant gaming convention in Los Angeles is even bigger now that consumers are allowed onto the show floor.  The benefits for a tech reporter catching all the action is to watch where the crowds are flocking.

Here are some winning takeaways from the 2018 Electronic Entertainment Expo.

Xbox Game Pass and Forza Horizon 4!

Microsoft showcased many new Xbox One games including the much anticipated open-world racing game Forza Horizon 4.  Now you can stand in line like a bazillion fans of the franchise will do when it launches Oct 2nd, or you can get smart like I’m doing by signing up for the monthly Xbox Game Pass.   That way when new releases like Forza Horizon 4 hit on their global release day, you’ll have it on any of Xbox One family of devices, ready to go along with over 100 great games.  Xbox Game Pass is Microsoft’s gaming membership that let’s you play some of the best Xbox One games for one low monthly price of $9.99.

I remember talking with my gamer friend Sebastian who stopped me in my tracks over my description of how amazing some highly anticipated games look and perform in their latest evolution.  He said, “Yeah, but you’ve got to have the right TV that can show the game as intended by the developers”.  Good point Sebastian.

Best TV for Gaming. Period.

That’s why Samsung partnered with Xbox to create the ultimate game-ready TV for entertainment.  The Samsung QLED series is truly the best gaming TV yet.  Plug in the Xbox to the HDMI input on a Samsung QLED and it automatically knows it’s an Xbox, labels it and configures it exactly as you’d want it.  The most recent Samsung QLED series have an incredibly intelligent list of features that make all the difference including Ambient Mode which can display useful info throughout the day on screen when you aren’t actively using it. From headlines, traffic, weather reports, you pick what you want on screen.

And if it’s wall mounted, the Samsung QLED can mimic the pattern on the wall to make the TV blend seamlessly into the wall. Crazy!  Sure it’s HD 4K and all.. and you know the picture quality is stunning on the Q8F and Q9F that I looked at with Direct Full Array (DFA) technology.  DFA uses a panel with zones of smartly controlled backlighting that adjust automatically to deliver deep blacks and pure whites.  When you are in a bright room, the brightness and contrast adjust automatically to the perfect balance whether in daylight or night.  And I love the single slim cable that combines power, AV data to the TV called One invisible Connection which is available up to 49 feet or 15 meters so you can place the TV far from power and AV connections.  Wish I would have thought of that!  Samsung QLED series starts at $1099.

A World of Disney You’ve Never Seen Before

Kingdom Hearts III got crowds roaring at E3 with the high anticipated action RPG from the celebrated series by Disney and SQUARE ENIX.  As the chosen Keyblade wielder, Sora, players join forces with Donald Duck and Goofy for the adventure of a lifetime.  Traveling across memorable Disney and Pixar landscapes from worlds based on films like Toy Story, Monsters, Inc., Big Hero 6, Tangled and more.  Kingdom Hearts III tells the story of the power of friendship as Sora and his friends Donald Duck and Goofy embark on a perilous adventure supporting each other though difficult times. The action role-playing game gives players visually stunning powers and includes the ability to wield and transform the powerful Keyblade, call upon Disney heroes and partner with them for support and even summon Disney theme park inspired “Attractions” in combat. This epic adventure launches January 29, 2019. Kingdom Hearts III $59.99 for Xbox One and PS4.