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e3: The Big Three Press Conferences

An overview of Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo's Press Conferences, and my take on them.

Robert Bevill

June 8, 2011

4 Min Read

e3 is currently underway, and the three major console manufacturers have played their hand.  Compared to past e3s, I felt rather underwhelmed.  A lot of the games I'm excited to play, such as Uncharted 3, Bioshock Infinite, and Kid Icarus: Uprising were all games I've seen plenty of information on beforehand.  Microsoft a lot of time focusing on how Kinect would be integrated in plenty of games, Sony showed off the new Playstation Vita, and Nintendo detailed the controller of the Wii U.  Maybe I'm just becoming more immune to hype as I get older, but this press conference didn't affect me one way or the other.

The most interesting news to me was on the hardware front.  Every year, Microsoft is pushing for its Xbox to become the do-all machine that sits in your living room.  I'm personally looking forward to the day when I can dump my cable box and let my Xbox do all the work.  The fact that many mainstream games will have Kinect support angered many "hardcore" gamers, but as long as the main game isn't affected, I have no problem with it.  It did seem to suffer from the same problem many third-party Wii games have, in that a good portion of the game was on-rails (Fable: The Journey comes to mind).  The voice commands in Mass Effect 3 seemed unnecessary and more time-consuming than simply pushing a button.  I am interested in the way the new Ghost Recon integrates Kinect; it reminded me of how Metroid Prime 3 played on the Wii, which I greatly enjoyed.  However, Microsoft also has a bad habit of forcing enthusiasm.  The two kids playing Kinect: Disneyland Adventures was hard to watch, using the kind of lingo marketing executives think kids use.  Also, I know shooters sell well, but there's only so much virtual bullets I can see before I get bored.

Sony was up next, and of the three, the Vita was probably the most impressive of the three conferences.  The reveal that it would be released for only $250 was huge, and I may wind up passing by the 3DS for the Vita.  All the time I've spent playing with my iPhone has convinced me that touch screens are a good idea, and the way it was used to create maps in Modnation Racers seemed like an excellent fit.  I'm not sold on the way it was integrated into Uncharted, since buttons would be easier, but I'm sure there's plenty of applications and ways we haven't played games before.

Lastly there's Nintendo, who really didn't have a lot to show in terms of games.  The Wii U wasn't a huge surprise considering all the rumors, but "Project Cafe" is a long ways away, with little to keep people interested in the meantime.  (I now know why it was called the Cafe: the 'U' is shaped like a cup)  The three Mario games coming out are all new installments of stuff we've seen plenty of times before.  I think I'm burned out on Mario after Galaxy 2, Mario Kart looked exactly the same as the DS version, and was anyone asking for a sequel to Luigi's Mansion?  Kid Icarus was the closest thing to a new IP, and Pit could really use a better voice actor.  As for the Wii U controller, I'm cautiously optimistic.  Like the Wii and the DS before it, I'm going to resist making judgements beforehand, and just wait until I see the games for myself.  The announcement that games like Arkham City and Assassin's Creed are great, but I'll probably have played those games on 360 or PS3 long before the Wii U is ever released.  Also, a new Smash Bros announcement, but not a single detail is dissapointing.  Nintendo simply didn't have much to show, and could be staking everything on the new Zelda.

I'm not going to call doom and gloom on the game industry: there are plenty of games coming out this year I'll be sure to check out, like Catherine, Assassin's Creed: Revelations, Bioshock Infinite, and Batman: Arkham City.  Sure, Halo and Call of Duty will go on to sell a zillion copies again, though I feel those franchises will soon reach a point where the general public will lose interest (I've met plenty of Black Ops players who felt the game was too similar to Modern Warfare 2).  As always, people just need to relax and remember that everything will be fine.  And my personal favorite new game announced at e3?  Fruit Ninja Kinect!

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