E3 has come and gone. What was awesome? What sucked? Did anybody care about Nintendo? It is the grandest time of year to be a nerd.
The real star of this years E3 was hardware, despite the awesome games. Microsoft and Sony gave extensive information about their respective motion controlling systems, while Nintendo’s big gun was the 3DS. So basically, Microsoft and Sony showed how their systems can be like Nintendo, and Nintendo showed they can whatever the hell they want because they are swimming in gold coins like Scrooge McDuck.
Microsoft: Project Natal….Kinect? Whatever, it’s basically like the computers from Minority Report.
After seeing the various demos of Kinect games, my thoughts really haven’t changed much. Kinect as hardware intrigues me, the games do not. Being able to just wave my hand to browse through Netflix movies or being able to pause/play just by audio commands is awesome. The games do nothing for me but I recognize why Microsoft is making them. The Wii has proven there is a casual gaming market and Microsoft wants a piece of that action. My hope is that Microsoft will use the Kinect as the platform for casual games and continue doing the more “hardcore” titles much as they do now. What I’m scared as hell of is that every game that comes out from Kinect forward will somehow have motion controls thrown into the mix so they can put the sticker on the box. Check out these relentlessly happy people playing Kinect!
The biggest issue that I see Kinect having is price. Most major retailers list the standalone Kinect at $149.99. Microsoft responded by saying that final pricing has not been announced yet. However, I’m thinking the $149 will stick. That is a mistake. Current 360 owners do not want to pay half the cost of another system to upgrade. I imagine Microsoft will have a Kinect bundled with system package at launch. Assuming it comes with the standard stuff as the current 360 package, you figure they will have to add at least $50 if not $100 more for the Kinect. Even being conservative puts that bundle at $350, which is $150 less than a Wii. I think that is a tough sell.
The other major announcement hardware wise was the NEW!! Xbox 360 hardware model. It’s very simple: I like the new look. The fact that is does not sound like a jet engine is awesome. The built-in WiFi is fantastic. All of these things should have happened a year and a half ago, if not sooner. I can’t get excited for what should have been the status-quo.
Sony: Playstation Move! The Wii! With a ball on top! That’s what she said!
First of all, Sony and Microsoft clearly have the same focus group, watch this trailer:
Sony seems to have at least tried to put some of the more “hardcore” games on display here, but I echo my thoughts from above on how that should work. Other than the fact that you have to hold something, I consider the Move and the Kinect essentially the same.
The best part of Sony’s conference was Kevin Butler. For those unaware, Kevin Butler is a fake Sony executive that appears in the current run of Playstation related tv ads. I don’t know the actor playing him, but this guy deserves to be in more stuff. He’s perfectly nailed the insane executive speak and somewhat nerdy/obsessive video game culture tone and he’s freaking hilarious to boot. Throw “Kevin Butler E3 speech” into YouTube and you will understand why nobody ever talks about any commercial Microsoft or Nintendo ever runs.
Nintendo: Hey! Guys! We make games too! Guys? Are you there?
The star of the Nintendo show in my eyes was definitely the 3DS. The graphics look better than those on the Wii. While it’s a failure to not have HD graphics on your home system, a handheld that outperforms the Wii (and more importantly in these zany times we live in, the Iphone) could be a keystone for Nintendo. The no glasses required 3d has some potential, although I’m reserving judgment on that until I can actually hold one and look for myself.
So, I find it interesting that with all this hardware news, we still have heard nothing about any new console systems. The Xbox360 came out in November of 2005, almost five years ago, and this cycle of consoles has no end in sight. And I haven’t even talked about the games! There was some amazing stuff shown off in the software side of things this year, so look for a part 2 to this post to see what we’ll be playing next year.
Filed under: Commentary, Games | Tagged: 3ds, consoles, ds, ducktales, E3, E3 2010, Elrood, focus groups, hardware, kevin butler, Kinect, lifecycle, microsoft, move, Natal, netflix, Nintendo, Playstation, playstation move, Project Natal, sony, thats what she said |