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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Armchair Analysis: E3 2009 Keynotes

I will probably never attend E3, as I am unlikely to shell out for it myself and don't foresee an employer willing to do the same.

Should not stop one from reaching from afar and being highly critical.

Nintendo (Joystiq Coverage)
Let's play a game. Let's strip everything from Nintendo's keynote which is not either a) a rehash of an existing Nintendo icon or b) requires a new piece of hardware to play.

We get:

  • Dead Space: Extraction
  • Conduit
  • Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles
  • Flipnotes Studio (DS)
  • Style Savvy (DS)
  • Cop: The Recruit (DS)
  • Women's Murder Club: Games of Passion (DS)
  • Golden Sun DS (DS)
  • Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers
  • Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10

Now, a magic trick. Stare at that for a bit and then mentally remove DS games, light gun games and sequels to other well known franchises. It's like those 3D things at the mall, but in reverse. Ok, so that last one might not be entirely fair - the industry is pretty franchise driven all in all, but we're talking about Resident Evil, Final Fantasy and Tiger Woods for fsck's sake. It's not like a sequel to Crackdown on the 360 - there's already what, like 50 Resident Evil games for the Wii?? And Tiger Woods? You actually show Tiger Woods during a keynote? Let me guess - it looked like a damn golf game.

For me, the message from Nintendo is - love our hardware and love our characters. Or piss off.

Microsoft (Engadget Coverage)
Microsoft had Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney? Wow. If only it was a game I cared about.

Oooo, look - Felicia Day...

OK, so would it be fair to play the same game here with Microsoft? Depends on your level excitement over, say, a new Halo game versus a new Metroid game. If I went by number of sales, I'd say a lot more people are excited by a new Halo game, and a new Crackdown game, and a new Left 4 Dead game, etc., than a new Metroid. Maybe Mario is a bigger draw, I don't know. I didn't finish Galaxy.

And that's accounting for the Wii outselling everyone by what, like 2 to 1 every month? Plus, Microsoft had goodies to add to Xbox Live, and Xbox Live Arcade. Did Nintendo announce a new buddy system? Better networking? Better lobbying? No. They did not.

And of course, Microsoft has this Natal announcement. Motion sensing by camera, no other hardware required. There's some impressive videos and as mentioned before on Cathode, early opinions are pretty high. I think Natal's microphone seals it for me as a show stealer for E3 - even if Nintendo had it with Wii Talk first. Sony needs to step up there.

I'm not a 360 user, and I still thought Microsoft had a pretty good showing.

Sony (Joystiq Coverage)
Sony's done an excellent job of shoring up their software glut - even if they haven't been able to stave off Microsoft's exclusivity attacks completely. Again, if we play the same game here - Sony still showed off some interesting new titles like ModNation, MAG and Agent. The big franchises are going more cross-platform and what exclusive Sony shows seem pretty darn good.

Sony's pushing the PSP Go pretty hard, and I'm just not that interested. Seems like a good evolution, even if it is a bit late and still about $50 too expensive. The Motion Controller might look a bit like a sex toy, but I can't deny their argument that some games just need buttons. I still think they need an EyeToy update that includes a microphone, however (I'm an idiot).

PSN has been good to Sony and I'm glad to see them pushing it - but there are some key developments, like Netflix integration, missing from the deck. And we can all agree Home needs some serious work. Added involvement is nice and all, but some structural changes (like not having 50 people and bubble machines crowd a Silent Hill lobby) would have been nice.

No slim PS3 announcement, interestingly enough.

All in all, a decent showing - but a bit mixed for me.


Unknown said...

Sorry, I'm struggling to keep up with E3 stuff while basically on holiday.

Why does Sony need to update EyeToy with microphone? PS Eye has a microphone. That's how I've played Resistance 2 co-op with voice chat...

Josh said...

Yup, I'm an idiot.

So interestingly it comes down to button or not to button...