As E3 comes to a close we start to think about all of the amazing things we’ve seen unveiled at the show. Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony all had big announcements this year, but who do we think really stole the show?
Microsoft: With their main focus being on launching Kinect and clearly targeting the casual market, this year’s conference will have left core gamers disappointed with the event. Of the launch software that was showcased for Kinect, I was reasonably impressed, and can certainly imagine fun times to be had with family members. But the lack of a price announcement leaves me suspicious of an RRP that will sour the taste of the market they are so keen to capture. Thumbs up for the new hardware and pulling an ‘Apple’ on us with the shipping date. Don’t forget us real gamers Microsoft!
Nintendo: After a number of years carving up the casual market, Nintendo swing back in the favour of their loyal core fanbase, delivering a slew of titles for all gamer types. Zelda, Mario, Metroid, Donkey Kong, Kirby & Kid Icarus were all real crowd pleasers & Epic Mickey is shaping up to be an amazing game. The standout star of the event for me though was the 3DS, showing once again that Nintendo can deliver time and again beyond expectations. An impressive line up of developers will assure success of the new console. Bravo Nintendo!
Sony: A definite air of confidence surrounded the delivery of the Sony event, and rightly so. They planted a stake in the ground and committed to 3D in a big way, although it still remains to be seen if there is wide adoption of this tech by the masses. The Move was well presented and I can see the attach rate being high based on the price point and software quality. PSN+ was no real surprise but was presented and sold with a real value proposition. Consider me sold. Great to see Gabe Newell on stage having eaten a huge slice of humble pie!
Other Thoughts: I’ll be honest I’ve not had much exposure to the rest of what’s on offer as I type. I guess you’ll have to wait until the next podcast to find out!
Who Won E3? Kevin Butler!
Microsoft: As I predicted this was Microsoft’s E3 to lose, trailing up to the stage with the biggest innovation of our age. It was a very solid showing for MS but somewhere they dropped the ball. A press conference reduced to alleged pre-recorded footage, wavy-wavy hand gestures, and release after release of sequels and sappy Kinetic shovelware. It was an unusually shaky and unassured conference for MS that ended in giving everyone in the audience a free XBOX 360 slim, which if that isn’t the biggest “please forgive us for wasting you time” I don’t know what is. Kinetic doesn’t belong on the gamers’ stage, it is a superb innovation but would see better use in hospitals and schools.
Nintendo: Brave, brave Nintendo who against the sharp motion controls of MS and Sony are still showing off with the Motion+ and why not? The Wiimote still is the greatest innovation of the modern console age. It might not have the depth of scope of move, or the accessibility of Kinect but it’s still a great product. One that Zelda, Kirby, and Samus will use in their new releases. Big news though is the re-working of Goldeneye (with Daniel Craig??) and the 3DS which is going to be undoubtedly a market leader, making 3D accessible and affordable.
Sony: On the other hand Sony proved that “move” would be the essential gamers peripheral. Alongside a raft of exclusives which sees nearly every new release containing content only for the PS3, Gabe Newell telling us that Portal 2 will be best on the PS3 and Sony paving the way for 3D technology, this all felt like the truly immersive and visceral gaming “gamers” could get used to from Sony. A far cry from the “family” vision of Kinect. “Move” was demonstrated warts and all and with titles for family and the serious gamer. It is set to lead the way, no doubt. After all “move” promises precision and reaction times that Kinect cannot promise to deliver.
Other Thoughts: What interested me most about this years E3 was Sony’s uncanny ability to prepare for the future. It all seems clear now, their high end console now proving it is worth the price tag. The memory available allowing developers to unleash more content only to Sony. Apparently the capabilities don’t stop there, 3d and “move” capabilities will be able to be turned off and on with future releases allowing one copy of a game be available for use by any one, with the equipment or not. Even though they twisted the knife into MS it was a perfect example of Sony achieving the same longevity that the PS2 still enjoys.
Who won E3? Sony
Microsoft: “We can go anywhere!” Well, could you please go somewhere else, somewhere with a big sign that says “meh”? I don’t mean to be defamatory, but does anyone really think that Kinect is the path that gaming should take? I could knock out a thousand words on hardcore vs. casual gaming but lets just say that Kinect isn’t for me. And a new 360 unveiled, with features that should have been in the original, good stuff. Will this one overheat too? I think its an all-round poor showing from Microsoft this year, the casual market may be suitably moist, but for me it ranks somewhere near Findus Crispy Pancakes and white dog turds.
Nintendo: A surprisingly strong showing with an emphasis on old IPs, many welcome. Being a burly man, I am hesitant to mention my highlight being a new Kirby adventure which looks so saccharin I think I may now be diabetic (in a good way). The biggest question mark hangs over the 3DS, can you really generate a 3D effect without any other peripheral? Will it be properly implemented, will it make me go cross-eyed? Only time will tell but I wait with baited-breath nonetheless. And where is my cocking Wii HD?!
Sony: 3D is also coming to the big screen, for most of us that means stereoscopic glasses. It also means taking the refresh rate of you TV (normally about 60Hz), dividing it by 2 and that’ll be your maximum frames-per-second. Yay? Continuing with my abundant enthusiasm, lets glance at Move. My opinion of this twisted sibling of gaming evolution hasn’t changed in the last two paragraphs, but I can at least see the feasibility of their technology. Hand movements seem to correspond to on-screen actions and the price seems fair. Again, implementation and innovation are the future problems for Sony. Finally, no PSP2 and neither of the PSP adverts contained the PSP: GO, don’t worry digital distribution, one day the world will embrace you.
Other Thoughts: It hasn’t been the best E3 this year, not the worst but just a little creepy. I can’t recall the last time I saw so much hammy acting and forced, awkward fun. Each of the big 3 face very different problems over the next 12 months. Microsoft have the most ambition but need to deliver a product that works in the real world. Sony have a realistic approach but need to show the advantage of their system through innovative and suitably complex games to cater to the “hardcore” market. Nintendo need to convert the casual to hardcore, using old IPs as a familiar base. Strong dedication must be shown to the 3DS.
Who Won E3? Steam
Microsoft: It seems that Microsoft are really pushing for that casual gamer with Kinect (nee Natal), for me there was only one title which impressed me thanks for Harmonix and their Dance Central, read why here. The 3 big expected games were all shown and expectations were all met with COD: Black Ops, Gears of War 3 and Fable 3. I was hoping Peter Molyneux would give more details of how he intends to integrate Kinect into the Fable world. Bringing it home with the redesigned Xbox 360. Looks like a badly designed Alienware case and aimed at pre pubescent head shot seekers. I’m seeing this as their final iteration of the hardware in this cycle.
Nintendo: Let’s start with what wasn’t on offer, what happened to that heart sensor that was the star of the show last year? Bringing back some old characters is always something Nintendo can fall back on, with Zelda, Golden Eye and Kirby returning, the hardcore Nintendo fans got what they wanted. It was the 3DS though which really peaked my interest. A shame they could not demo it live, but I accept that and just hope reports come out agreeing with their 3D claims
Sony: With Sony also pushing 3D tech in a big way, much of the wow factor of the demo’s were lost on my. Saying that though, Killzone 3 looks fantastic even in 2D! Certainly didn’t call the Portal 2 announcement and Gabe himself standing under a giant Sony logo committing to bringing the best console version of Portal 2 to the PS3. The big sell for me was Sony Move, I wasn’t sold before hand until I saw the games in action. Sorcery for me looks so much fun. If they turns out to be multiplayer also I’m going to buckle and buy the log
Other Thoughts: Sony as a whole this year really sold themselves to me. They seem to understand that many games own more than 1 system and have to make a choice when it comes to a multiplatform title. Showing off exclusive content and Move support being added to existing games via DLC and the Playstation Plus subscription model. I can see my gaming habits taking a swing towards Sony over the next 12 months.
Who won E3? Sony
Microsoft: Well, we had an expected reveal of the slim Xbox- which looks sweet, slick and stylish. The show was also boasted by presentations of Kinect which I found deeply underwhelming, promising even more shovel-ware to following in the coming months. Milo seems to have turned into his animal kingdom counterpart in Kinectimals whilst schlocky family-friendly titles such as Kinect Adventures look beyond dull. Harmonix’s Dance Central looked to use the device well, in a rhythm action take on the street dance scene. Thanks go to Epic and Lionhead Studios for a slice of restored integrity.
Nintendo: Likely to avoid any previous E3 howlers, Nintendo went all out and delivered some truly inspired announcements, with the likes of Goldeneye and Donkey Kong Country returning. I was particularly impressed with the demo of Disney and Junction Point’s Epic Mickey which has a fantastic and innovative game play mechanic of adding or removing parts of the scene to impact the game. A new Zelda was also promised for a 2011 release, although Miyamoto’s on-stage demo was severely hindered. The 3DS meanwhile looked brilliant, with first word coming from the show extremely positive.
Sony: Thank you Sony for finally giving us a release date for Gran Turismo 5- wait, only for the US!? Oh come on! Game that has me most excited? Motorstorm: Apocalypse- its urban environmental deformation looks insane and impressive, alike to the vehicular combat on show in the trailer for the new Twisted Metal which has me extremely psyched. The show was of course mostly dominated by Move which looks refined and usable within top, triple-A games. It’s here where I think it holds a foot ahead of Kinect- the games seem to use the tech capably and positively.
Other Thoughts: I still have my scepticisms regarding the move into three dimensions, as everyone does, but I can’t help but take notice of Sony’s reluctance to back down and propel forward with the massive gamble of their 3D tech. It’s certainly one of the most intriguing aspects coming from the show, never mind which side of the fence you stand on. With games such as Gran Turismo 5, Motorstorm: Apocalypse and Killzone 3 all supporting 3D visuals, it marks the possibility for a strong turning point for videogames.
Who Won E3? Nintendo
Microsoft: Talk about a rollercoaster of an opening presentation, we get it Microsoft, you have a camera that can track body movement. The emphasis on Kinect was a little off putting, as were the number of mini game-esque titles that would launch with the motion controlling add-on. The new hardware revision looks really sleek, really desirable, but the Kinect dashboard looks clumsy and unintuitive. If this skew towards copying Nintendo’s casual lead is really where the Xbox is heading, Microsoft may well be in for a bumpy ride this coming year.
Nintendo: Ninty’s showing at E3 left me feeling really quite cynical. The same twenty year old franchises being trotted out once more, a new handheld that looks like a deformed DS with sub-PSP visuals and a handful of Nintendo 64 ports that may or may not eventually see release and a distinct lack of serious third party support. Nintendo needed to focus more on the Epic Mickeys and Street Fighter 4s at their disposal and far less on very early looking Zelda, Donkey Kong and Kid Icarus updates.
Sony: For me Sony had the surprise of the show, with Gabe Newell backing the PS3 outing of Portal 2 as the best console version. Big words from a man who openly criticised the platform in the past. Gran Turismo 5 got a date, but who can tell if they’ll honour it and the new Twisted Metal looks about as uninspired and obvious as the rest of Jaffe’s work to-date. Overall Sony seem to be pushing the system as the gamer’s platform of choice, though in doing so they’ll be leaving the lucrative casual market behind…
Other Thoughts: Project Dust grabbed me visually, I love the design that we’ve seen so far, Child Of Eden is basically just motion control Rez but you won’t see me complaining because that sounds awesome, Bulletstorm looks crazy in a Duke Nukem 3D kind of way, Journey has me juiced, really glad that Valkyria Chronicles is getting a decent looking sequel and Fallout Online could just be the MMO to get me into MMOs.
Who won E3? Sony
Microsoft: Kinect (the project formerly known as Natal) is not just a new gaming peripheral, it’s a new way of operating your 360, interacting with all your media, its clear Microsoft want the 360 to be the entertainment hub of the home. I am very excited about what they are proposing and I think it is a genuinely innovative product. But if we’re talking purely about the games line-up it was a disappointing showing, sequels galore and most of the Keynote presentation was based on Kinect, only a few of those games looked all that interesting. However as I predicted… Metal Gear Solid: Rising!
Nintendo: Nintendo 3DS, now I’m not a big handheld gamer and this hasn’t done too much to make me invest. The obvious major selling point is the new 3D capable screen, whilst I think that 3D gaming is the future, I’m not sure how well this will work on a small 3.5inch screen. Games-wise it was more of the same really from what we have already core franchises and remakes none of which really got me excited about dusting off my Wii, I understand that a game like Kid Icarus will get people excited but unfortunately for me it meant nothing.
Sony: I’m really struggling to see how different the Playstation Move is to the Wiimote. Although it’s more advanced than its Nintendo counterpart, it’s not the innovation that Sony is shouting about. I fear it will face the same problems as the Wii in terms of the games it can utilise, I’d like to be proven wrong, but I’m not sure I will be. Now they didn’t blow me away with new IP’s, didn’t wow me with Move titles but the sequels were impressive (the ‘breadth’ of LBP2 & Killzone 3 looked gorgeous) and they had a great selection of exclusive content, so whilst they may not had any new exclusive titles they were grabbing the multi platform games from its rivals.
Who won E3? Microsony
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