Some more thoughts on the big three: Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo

It’s hard to talk about anything other than E3 this week: there’s not much else happening in the gaming world at the moment. E3 is all things gaming this week.

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  controller for the Wii U and Nintendo (and let’s face it, not much has been shown of the new console itself) know one thing: it’s innovative and it’s going to be a talking point with gamers for some time to come. Over the next year Nintendo will drip feed details about the console and while I still think that come this time next year, PlayStation and Xbox will announce plans for their next-generation consoles, which could overshadow the Wii U,  for the time being, Nintendo is quite clearly in the spotlight. Milk it, Nintendo, milk it for all you can.

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.


2 thoughts on “Some more thoughts on the big three: Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo

  1. I would have to agree with you on this one. Nintendo’s conference, while lacking in detail about hardware specs and actual Wii U games, was very impressive with the Wii U and also the solid lineup of games for the 3DS. I thought Sony had a stronger conference than Microsoft because of their exclusive titles, but the Move and Kinect stuff did not interest me at all.

    Wii U on the other hand showed glimpes of potential that only Nintendo can come up with, and the future possibilities are near endless. I can’t wait to see what they can do with Zelda, Mario, Pokeman and Mario Kart, while other developers like Square-Enix, EA, THQ, Take Two etc could not only port over their “hardcore” titles like Call of Duty, Battlefield, Grand Theft Auto, BioShock, and the like, but also develop Wii U-specific features to make use of its new controller. I’m also impressed by the controller’s layout, light weight, and screen resolution, as well as many other features that make it a pretty robust controller.

    The Zelda HD demo, while pretty much unplayable, got me really excited. Bring it on!

  2. E3 seemed a little disappointing this year.. while the Wii -U is cool, i just sold my Wii, there’s just nothing to really make me want to play it, it had been in the cupboard for over a year.

    Looking forward to Battlefield 3 atm.

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