E3 2012 MICROSOFT/SONY/NINTENDO CONFERENCES REPORT CARD
Josh: For the big three, Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo, E3 was a big dud. This was a year to play it safe because new hardware was being unveiled (Nintendo) while other companies were working on a hardware reboot of their own (Microsoft and Sony). It was obvious because no one was taking a risk with new IPs or technologies.
Nintendo had the biggest opportunity to show everyone that their meteoric rise to the top with the Wii had everything to do with their technology and games and less to do with their market timing.
Unfortunately, with the lackluster Wii U news (no release date or price given) and the same old boring lineup that Nintendo has rested its laurels on for generations, I just couldn’t get excited for their system. Nintendo was only doing the next step in the technological cycle which, in this industry, is necessary to stay alive.
Nintendo changed their controller based on the initial feedback from the public, modified their console to accept two of their fancy new controllers, and fixed their awful multiplayer setup. All of these things were necessary to address because if they didn’t they were going to have an even harder time selling Wii U units. Thus, it was only the next iteration of their system/product.
I’m not picking on Nintendo. I think they had the greatest chance to steal the show and simply didn’t. Microsoft and Sony weren’t any better though.
Both Microsoft and Sony went the easy way out. Instead of announcing a lot of new and exciting franchises (with the exception of Watch Dogs) they announced a lot of sequels or additions to existing franchises. What’s wrong with that? Nothing as long as you don’t mind playing the same types of games over and over again.
What’s great about new games and technologies (even if they’re bad) is that they push their competitors. When you have a game as great looking as Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs, competitors pay attention and wonder how to get those same amazing graphics for their game and then they try harder.
When I say more of the same I don’t mean more crap, I just mean we have to wait a while longer to experience the next Journey or Fallout 3. Two vastly different games that pushed their respective genres to the next level.
Eric: Much like Josh I felt this year’s E3 to be completely underwhelming. There were a lot of new games shown like Star Wars 1313, Watch Dogs and Splinter Cell: Blacklist but it felt like there wasn’t a huge megaton announcement for hardware or software.
Microsoft - Microsoft played it cool this year by sticking with mostly known game footage and announcements. The addition of more entertainment apps and enhancements to the Xbox 360 was appreciated especially for sports fans.
I’m glad to see the 360 finally get an internet browser but I just hope the wait will have been worth it. I’m also happy there wasn’t a glut of Kinect shovelware thrown in like past conferences.
The best was the announcement of the Xbox Smartglass application. I think this is a smart move for Microsoft in giving gamers that second screen experience and really exploring the immersion factor for games and entertainment.
Sony - Sony’s conference this year was a step in the right direction. Instead of focusing on a ton of numbers and sales data, Sony took to showing off new games and enhancing their PlayStation Plus service which was nice to see.
By adding a larger built in library of games for purchasers, Sony has stepped up and made the PlayStation Plus service really worth the $50 annual cost. This increase is what will finally make me pony up and buy into Plus to enjoy all that it has to offer.
The new games shown off during Sony’s conference really got me excited especially Quantic Dream’s Beyond: Two Souls. This cinematic gem looks to be a new amazing gaming experience from one of my favorite game developers.
I was also excited by the announcement of Assassin’s Creed 3: Liberation for the PlayStation Vita. Even though I don’t have the portable gaming system, I can appreciate the cross play aspect but what really got me was the story.
It’s a bold step introducing not only the series’ first female assassin but a game centered on a character not related to Desmond’s bloodline. I think it’s about time for Ubisoft to start exploring the universe of Assassin’s Creed like this and I hope there will be more unique games in this series like Liberation.
Nintendo - This year was certainly interesting for Nintendo. They tried to jump the gun with a pre-show E3 video presentation on Sunday. Two days later at their actual conference they presented a lot of games footage and a few announcements.
Pikmin 3 was easily the biggest announcement but it was first out the gate at the start of the conference and was quickly passed over for the rest of the show. After that, Nintendo shot out a rapid pace of games announcements for games either already out on other systems (Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition) or retooled previous announcements (ZombiU and LEGO City Undercover).
My biggest problem was that this was Nintendo’s moment to really shine the spotlight on the Wii U and I felt it was wasted on trying to cram as many games announcements and flair into their conference rather than showing off the capabilities and enhancements of the Wii U.
None of the games shown on stage seemed to be really any different than slightly nicer looking Wii games. Nintendo didn’t even show off some of the more interesting looking games (Game and Wario or Project P-100) during the conference. I would have preferred seeing either of those demoed on stage rather than the sizzle reel of game trailers they showed.
Overall this E3’s reigning aspect was software. The highlights for me were the new games announced like Watch Dogs and Beyond. Even more so was Epic unveiling Unreal 4 tech and Square Enix’s Luminous engine demo showing gamers what the next generation of games should look like.
Cs and Bs? You guys are fucking generous. REALLY fucking generous.