Last year’s E3 (2010) gave us the Kinect, the Nintendo 3DS, and the Playstation Move. With such an awesome list of innovative hardware, my expectations for this year’s E3 were very high. I must say this year’s E3 was a bit of a disappointment to me because I was expecting to see Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo really push the gaming industry into new avenues with their motion and optical controllers.
Let’s start with Nintendo…
Nintendo had set up big expectations telling the media that their new “system” was going to be debuted at this year’s E3 conference. What a major let down! The only thing debuted was a tablet-like controller for the Wii U. What Nintendo is basically releasing another addition to their handheld library of Nintendo Gameboys and DS systems.
I can’t bash Nintendo as much as I want to. They seem like they are trying to ride the tablet popularity wave. Since tablets have been out for a while now, this Wii U controller just seems a little late. I mean, this new Wii U controller is cool, but it seems like it’s just an iPad for the living room. Now if players can take their Wii U on the road and continue playing, then that might be a selling point. What I do understand is players will be able to switch from playing on their television to seamlessly continuing their game on their Wii U controllers 6.2″ display. It’s basically a combination of a wii contoller and tablet. The Wii U controller will have both front and back cameras and is stated to release sometime in 2012. I am skeptical of this release date seeing how there was no Wii U console to show at this year’s E3. All we were given was a picture of what it will look like without any hardware specs or price range.
Now onto Sony…
Sony started their conference with an apology from their CEO and President, Jack Tretton, regarding the hacking of the Playstation Network. Sony debuted a new Playstation branded 24″ 3D monitor and 3D glasses for $499. Along with the 3D bundle comes a copy of Resistance and an HDMI cable. Supposedly gamers will be able to split the screen while keeping a full screen view with the use of these 3D glasses. Sounds like a deal, but 24″ is way too small for most of us gamers; especially two gamers sitting side by side playing the same game. I would hope that in the future a larger 36″-50″ version would be available.
Sony showed off some pretty interesting games. Uncharted 3, Ruin, Resistance 3, and StarHawk are some of the titles that caught my attention and I’m not even an owner of a PS3. The Sony PSN will be offering free access to Hulu Plus and Cinema Now! There were a bunch of Move games lined up, but a quick Google search can lead you to the assortment of new titles.
Sony also made 2 pretty big announcements. Cloud and the PSP 2 aka the PS VITA are on their way. The PS VITA is basically an updated version of the PSP with dual analogs, 2 touch screens forward and back facing cameras; basically, the whole nine yards. The Cloud is going to be a new way for gamers to save, load, and play their games seamlessly between the mobile PS VITA and the PS3 console.
And finally Microsoft.
Microsoft started their presentation with some in-game footage of the new Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. COD:MW3 had awesome in-game visuals, but I have a feeling Battlefield 3 will be taking the prize for Best of Show.
With last year’s release of the Kinect, it’s no wonder that Microsoft will be putting all their eggs into one basket. KINECT,EVERYTHING KINECT! Forza head tracking: check! Mass Effect voice enabled: check! Madden, Tiger Woods, FIFA Kinect: check! Fable and Star Wars on rails: check! Ghost Recon: Future Soldier with Kinect weapon customization: check! Some of these titles, being Kinect enabled, are quite exciting for younger gamers. I assume the more hard-core gamers are disappointed that there wasn’t a real showing for the Kinect to cater to their gaming needs. I am not a fan of rail shooters. I like being able to explore the lush environments created by the creative teams. Being bound by a linear narrative and riding along a track as if I were at an amusement park just doesn’t spark my imagination. I am hoping that future titles for the Kinect will merge and handheld controller with optical motion tracking.
Even though this year’s showing fails in comparison to last year’s, I am 100% sure Microsoft and Sony have something up their sleeves for next year’s E3. I cannot wait to see the future of console gaming. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
I’m a big Xbox 360 fan. I don’t even own a PS3, but I am going to admit Sony had a far better showing than either Microsoft or Nintendo.