I’ve been pondering the three big pre-E3 press conferences from Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo and you know what? I think Nintendo kicked the arse of the other two companies. I really do.
Let me explain my reasoning. Xbox was all about Kinect – more games and voice commands (and, a personal bugbear of mine is that New Zealand doesn’t even have voice recognition up and running for our 360’s yet. That’s probably not going to arrive till the end of the year). Apart from Gears of War 3 and Modern Warfare 3, there wasn’t really anything there for hardcore Xbox 360 owners to get excited about (I say that because games like Ubisoft’s Ghost Recon Future Soldier and MW3 are going to be out on PS3, too). Sony was mainly all about the PlayStation Vita, which is an exciting piece of hardware, and 3D – again (the 24-inch 3D monitor, though, did surprise me and sounds brilliant).
If I’m being honest, though, there was nothing from those two press conferences that made me say “Holy shit that is the most awesome/mindblowing thing I have ever heard/seen”. I knew about the handheld console from Sony and, well, I quietly suspected there would be a Fable game for Kinect because Peter Molyneux told me a few weeks earlier in an interview that he was working on something that he wasn’t allowed to talk about.
Nintendo, on the other hand, blew me away with the tablet-style controller for the Wii U (stupid name, by the way, but no doubt we’ll all get used to it). Everyone was expecting to be shown a new console – and there is one: apparently it looks like a slightly thicker Wii but with rounded edges – but no-one was expecting Nintendo’s focus to be the controller itself. Oh, yeah, there were rumours that the controller would have a touch screen but who was expecting the controller that we saw? Not me, that’s for sure.
This year, Nintendo showed what E3 should be all about: innovation, trying something different, taking a risk (even if it didn’t admit right away that the game footage on show for Wii U games was actually footage from PS3, Xbox 360 and PC versions of potential games). Sony hasn’t taken a risk with the Vita: it’s essentially a more evolved version of the existing PlayStation Portable. Xbox haven’t taken any risks with Kinect: it’s just expanded the game line up to have more than party-style games and expanded voice commands on it.
Despite what you think of the
Oh, games out tomorrow: PlayStation 3 exclusive inFamous 2, which I’m making my way through at the moment – and it’s good, and Duke Nukem Forever. I just saw an ad for it on Tv. I think Duke just said at the end: “You’d better buy my game – or else.” Hail to the king, baby.