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Friday, June 18, 2010

2010 E3 Impressions

I'm not at E3, nor am I even remotely close enough to making a profit off of gaming in any sense to attend it anytime soon (nor do I figure The Girl would sign off on it as a holiday).

But I have Twitter, and opinions - and not afraid to use either. So, from what I can gather:

I think the main win here for the big N is that the 3DS appears, from all reports, to be everything Nintendo wants it to be. True 3D, no glasses, backwards compatible with DS but finally some real new tricks to give developers for 3DS only titles. As Nintendo themselves put it - this isn't just another rendition of the now what, four times redone DS? It's a new beast altogether, and whatever magic they put into the 3D screen sounds like it might pay off.

Wii-wise, there seemed to be some decent enthusiasm behind some of the new titles, but stance remains the same: the Wii's endurance is going to be tested in the next 12 months, as Kinect and Move hit the scene and now HD equipped casual gamers wonder about the only SD console remaining on the scene.

Speaking of that though: Microsoft's big push, Kinect, sounds like it is going to run into early adoption problems with the $149 price tag. I honestly think this is mostly perception: it seems closer to the Wii's $199 price tag, and the Wii has better brand power at the moment. So there will be a lot of people doing the apples to oranges comparison and just deciding to get the Wii instead.

Fair? I'm not sure it is - but I think Microsoft will need to get some impressive software reviews out there to get away from it. A Halo-esque flagship title would go along way to making it distinct ... or perhaps a better way to put is a Wii Sports that in no way resembles Wii Sports.

Sony's real advantage is position Move more like an accessory with a $99 bundle. How much of a difference in MSRP this is in reality when a second controller is what - another $49? And the MoveChuck is another $29? I think people who go to stores and buy the two products would quickly have similar totals.

Move sounds like it has the advantage of being more appropriate for compatibility with existing games, having those buttons and all. This could prove a serious boon to Sony in the long run. I may be more willing to pick up Move just to try Killzone 2 with the new controls - more so than I am just to replace my Wii Sports with an HD version.

3D Gaming
Sony made a big push on this and to be honest, I can only find it pretty bizarre. Prior to E3, Sony had started updated the PS3 software to handle 3DTV's. I jokingly sent the official PlayStation twitter the question if this was the kind of 3D that required $5 glasses or a $5,000 TV. This was their response:

3D TVs are starting to roll out now, they use "active shutter" glasses with embedded circuitry. In a year or two, most TV will be 3D & cheap

I'm assuming they mean "most" as in "most available". Let's not forget that HD only became truly commonplace (as in over 50% market) in the last year or so, something like half a decade after becoming commercially available. And if by "cheap" they mean "around the same cost as my current television" - then Sony's 3D revolution has already failed. I'm not about to replace my perfectly good TV for a single feature that only one thing attached to it would really offer.

Or to put it this way: I'm already doubtful paying the surcharge at the theater to see the 3D version is worth it, I'm not about to drop a grand to do it in my living room.

Nintendo seems to understand this: the 3DS is really the only part of the 3D platform I can get behind. It doesn't require glasses and I'm only replacing my already aging DS for less than a couple benjies.

Now, I've continually been asking why a new TV is even necessary - and even poked the Internet Bear a little about Sony showing the Killzone 3 demo on a 100 foot project screen (clearly not a 3DTV). It looks like an odd mosiac of technology limitations that actually makes this true, and I'll post a follow up on that later.

Valve on PlayStation 3


JeFE said...

Nice summary. I'm with ya on 3D. There's no doubt that it's awesome tech, but it's truly impractical; at least for the foreseeable future.

3DS, on the other hand sounds like a must purchase.

Kinect continues to look like a slightly enhanced EyeToy, so good luck on that one, M$. That Child of Eden did look pretty killer, though.

I'm bummed there was no new info on The Last Guardian, but that should pack a nice punch for Sony at TGS.

Steve said...

My impression is that Sony's Move is going to be a lot better gaming experience than Microsoft's Kinect. The problem is that Kinect, for all it's gee-whiz coolness, is going to have a rather limited control interface. I mean there's only so many things you can do waving your arms and legs to control what's happening in a game. Sony, on the other hand, provides a controller with buttons on it, giving you a lot more flexibility.

So, for example, could you do a shooter using Kinect? Not really. I mean, you can point with one hand, but then how do you shoot? But with the Move you can have a fire button.

So I suspect, in the long run Move will have better success because it will appeal to a broader set of gamers. More casual gamers who are just looking to bowl or play tennis with their console can do that, but more hard core gamers will be able to have fun with it too. Move is only going to work for more casual games.

Now having said that, ultimately if you own a 360, you'll get the Kinect if it's of any interest to you. If you own a PS3 you'll get the Move. It's not like anybody who currently owns a console is going to go buy the other one just to get their flavor of motion control.

I suspect that I'll get a Move if it has some decent party games for it. I do miss that element of the Wii, but it was the only thing I ever used the Wii for.