Per Microsoft's usual attitude about always having to be first to present at any large event, Microsoft kicked of this year's E3 with its usual over-the-top fanfare and its inclusion of unnecessary guests. Now, I logged in to see the live webcast a little late, but from the transcripts of the live blogs that were available for me to see, they kicked off the show with a little business and with the Beatles on stage - wholly unnecessary for its unveiling of
While on the topic of
Now, I missed a number of announcements, and one in particular that I would have loved to hear live was the announcement of the ability to buy full retail games on
Then came the Bungie announcement. At this point in the announcement, I had to laugh, only because there was no real introduction, no company and game propiganda, nothing. Joesph Staten just came up on stage, said "So are you ready for a demo of Halo: ODST? Okay, let's start" and that was it. It was, as always with Bungie, a very impressive demo, but what really got me interested is their teaser trailer for their next Halo game, Halo: Reach. Part of me became as giddy as a schoolkid, but the other part of me slumped my shoulders and thought "What? Another one? Don't you have any other ideas?" Then again, Halo set up a pretty vast universe and I can see Microsoft and Bungie's attempts at providing the war's story from multiple points of view.
But the most impressive part of Microsoft's E3 announcement came in the form of Project Natal. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this, it is a project in which the
Overall, I was somewhat impressed, especially since Microsoft seemed to have a lot of larger titles to offer this year, even though most of it seemed like minor additions.
- Digital content delivery of full retail games on XBL on-demand [article]
- NetFlix queue management, 1080p HD, Facebook & Twitter integration [article]
- Halo: ODST & Halo: Reach [link]
- Project Natal motion control [article] [hands-on video]
- ["Project Natal video hands-on, impressions, and further details"]
- [Hulu rumor on XB360]
- ["Microsoft's Project Natal roots revealed: 3DV Systems ZCam"]
I came to Nintendo's briefing pretty late, at about the time when they were just announcing the Nintendo Vitality sensor. Nintendo's E3 announcements, for lack of a better phrase, sorely disappointing. Numerous Mario games were apparently the huge games to come from Nintendo this year (next to the Metroid announcement), and, really, the only game that captivated my attention was Super Mario Galaxy 2 - I was actually pretty excited about that after I've been having so much fun with Super Mario Galaxy (although I am still pretty far from finishing it - I just don't have enough time to play it through completely). I think Nintendo was really riding on the DSi's recent release to take the spotlight away from their lack of great announcements, but I have noticed a large paradigm shift with Nintendo to games and hardware designed for relaxation and health (hence the Wii Fit and the Wii Vitality Sensor). We'll have to see how things pan out for Nintendo this year, but I pray they don't go the way of Sega...
- ["Nintendo Wii Vitality Sensor detects your pulse"]
- [Penny Arcade Cartoon: "All is forgiven"]
- ["E3 News: PlayStation Motion controller, PSPgo, DSi adds Facebook"]
Sony, like Microsoft, loves to pour money into their announcements. They expect that the glitz and polish will sell them more units across their platforms, but I don't believe in it and, again, I was mostly disappointed with their announcements. With the exception of the PSPgo, which I think has a lot of potential (especially now that they have digital content distribution), it was a huge yawn-fest for me. I've never been a Sony fan, and the PS3 has been the biggest lackluster unit ever (although its hardware is definitely impressive, its games library is very poor).
The announcement of the PSPgo was an important one, as it was the first portable gaming device that didn't require you to have to go to any store (other than its online one) to purchase games and other content. However, it poses many questions for those who already have a PSP, mostly important of which is: how can they play their UMD-based games? Later reports showed that Sony is working on a "good will" program, but it still does not offer up the entire library for the PSP. Makes me wonder if the homebrew community will jump in and save the day by providing working copies of those unconverted games so that they work on the PSPgo.
A game announcement that caught my eye was that of MAG. It is a massively multiplayer online game, but in a scale never seen in online games before. It supposedly will support up to 256 online players simultaneously on the same level - all playing with/against each other! Incredibly impressive, I would say, and sounds to me to be a game that would definitely be worth playing. Unfortunatley, I must wait, and wait I shall do - wait for the reviews of my peers, of course (I've long stopped listening to gaming reviewers since they've been known to skew their angles because they were paid off).
And then there was the Final Fantasy XIII announcement. Yes, another Final Fantasy game. Joy. I have to wonder why it is that these games just keep coming out with the same name. I personally don't understand their appeal to gamers, and have yet to find one that I actually enjoy playing. I probably could enjoy them if I really sat down and played it, but I would have to force myself to play it and that would automatically cause me to not enjoy it. But, like the end of the Halo: ODST announcment when they showed the teaser for Halo: Reach, Sony decided to do a Microsoft and reveal a teaser for Final Fantasy XIV. Is this how the industry works now? Show a game that will be coming out soon, but immediately show what will succeed it? Isn't that counter-productive? Wouldn't you then be having the two games compete with themselves despite coming from the same money-making franchises?
And finally, there was the announcement of Sony's own motion controlling system, which was unnamed, but I'll just call their "wand system." Taking a chapter out of Nintendo's book, Sony opted for a remote-like wand system to demonstrate their motion capture system, and made the arguments that for many interactions, some sort of hardware was needed to increase the level of realism in a game, a direct stab to Microsoft's controller-less Project Natal. The announcement was about as impressive as Project Natal, but since the wand system had some bit of hardware to go along with it, it is likely that we will see Sony's system make it to market before Microsoft's. But either way, you could definitely feel the rivalry between Sony and Microsoft this year in terms of the motion control implementations.
Overall, there wasn't really anything spectacular, new, and totally exciting coming from Sony this year. Unfortunately I have to be harsh, considering I've never been a Sony fanboy, but I'd have to say I'd expected as much from them.
- ["video: Sony's PS3 motion controller in action"]
- ["Sony announces new PS3 motion controller"]
- ["PSP Go first hands-on!"]
- ["Sony PSP Go announced - $249, no UMD"]
- ["Sony working on 'good will' program to give digital copies of your UMD collection"]
- ["E3 News: PlayStation Motion controller, PSPgo, DSi adds Facebook"]