E3 in Review: Which of the ‘big three’ won the big gaming event?Written by Jeff McGinnis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
For video game fans, E3 (the Electronic Entertainment Expo) is the quintessential event of the year.
Every June, game developers and console-makers come together to announce their latest wares.
The main events are the press conferences from hardware giants Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo. Each company puts on a grandiose show, trying to convince the press and consumers that what they are presenting is the most important and significant. So, what do gamers have to look forward to? And who came out on top?
The Biggest Deal: “Halo 4.” Microsoft confirmed an accidental website leak on its part and announced the next installment in its wildly popular action series would be released in 2012. According to the game’s official website, it will be the first in a new trilogy of games and will be developed by 343 Industries instead of Bungie, the company that made “Halo” 1-3.
Other Stuff: Most of Microsoft’s conference seemed focused on announcing new games for, or content that could be used with, its popular Kinect motion-sensing peripheral. Onstage demos of games like “Dance Central 2” and “Star Wars Kinect” were prevalent, as were pointing out Kinect-specific features in franchises like “Gears of War” and “Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon.”
Bottom Line: It’s hard to think of Microsoft’s conference as anything but lackluster. Unlike their competition, it didn’t have a new console to debut, and its one big surprise got spoiled. But even if “Halo” had stayed under wraps, most everyone could have predicted it was coming. And almost every other game they showed will also be available on the PlayStation 3. Microsoft needs to find new franchises to distinguish itself, and fast — and an over-reliance on the Kinect to do that might lead to disaster.
The Biggest Deal: Other than a public apology for the PlayStation Network debacle, Sony’s main focus was the reveal of the long-discussed next-generation portable, officially named the “PlayStation Vita.” Yeah, the name is silly, but the device has some amazing potential. Onstage demos for games like “Uncharted” and “ModNation Racers” showed both graphical and gameplay sophistication, and demonstrated that touch screens could be more than just a gimmick. And then there was the price: $249 for a Wi-Fi Vita, $299 for a 3G compatible one, which makes it more than competitive with Nintendo’s hand-held console, the 3DS. It’ll be available this holiday season.
Other Stuff: Plenty of trailers and demos for much-anticipated games, including the eagerly awaited “Uncharted 3,” “Resistance 3” and more. Also announced was an official PlayStation-branded 3-D television.
Bottom Line: Sony needed to deliver to wash the bad taste out of its customers’ mouths, and mostly, it did. Between some incredibly intriguing technical announcements, games that are highly anticipated and a new portable at a very competitive price, the company rebounded from a disastrous two months.
The Biggest Deal: The Wii U. Make your own jokes about that name. Technically, the specs on Nintendo’s next console are promising, and it may deliver graphics on par with Sony and Microsoft’s systems. But the biggest (and most controversial) aspect of the new console is its controller — a large, flat beast with a 6-inch touch screen in the middle. Imagine a small iPad with buttons on the side, and you have the Wii U controller. No price details were available yet, as the console won’t release until sometime in 2012.
Other Stuff: Nintendo showed off a new “Legend of Zelda” game to be released in time for the series’ 25th anniversary, which will double as the first Wii’s swan song, as it’s the last major title hardcore fans have to look forward to on the system. Also, a lot of games for the 3DS, as they’re really expecting that console to hold folks over until the new year.
Bottom Line: What happened? Nintendo is currently ruling the roost, as far as hardware is concerned, and yet it offered virtually nothing that will make fans happy until after next year’s E3. Lots of games for the 3DS, a system that has been disappointing, to say the least. And almost no support for the Wii, underlining how that system is being left for dead. And a few technical demos for the new system, which may very well be a huge success, but is still a long way away. All in all, this is very much a transitional year for Nintendo, and the conference proved it.
Email Jeff at PopGoesJeff@gmail.com.