Microsoft fails to Kinect with the core gamers
Having seen the announcements made during Microsoft’s and Sony’s 2011 E3 press conferences, I felt the time was ripe for Nintendo to blow them away with a megaton bomb announcement. After all, Microsoft seemed keen to repeat Nintendo’s own 2008 E3 mistake by focusing most of their press conference on kid-friendly titles for the Kinect as well as Kinectivised (I’m coining that phrase) Xbox360 games like Mass Effect 3. The elite were left out to feed on the first entry in a new Halo trilogy (yawn – and it didn’t attract that much excitement from Xbox fanboys either…), Minecraft a Kinectivised Fable 3, a Kincetivised Gears of War, a Kinectivised Star Wars (complete with voice activated lightsaber action – “Light saber on!”), a Kinectivised… well you get the picture.
Gamesradar actually wrote a very well thought article on – Why Microsoft’s press conference showed that it may have much bigger problems than Kinect. Do yourself a favour an read it (as soon as you finish mine of course…).
This vid sums up the Kinect madness that surrounded Microsoft at E3:
Sony brings new Life to E3
Sony’s presser was far more interesting – focusing on the launch of the PlayStation Vita (the official name of the NGP) at a very very attractive price point of USD$249. The USD$249 Nintendo 3DS has some real competition now aside from their lack of genuinely interesting and playable titles that are available now. Perhaps crucially, the PlayStation Vita is said to be region free, something every gamer in the world wants in their handheld console. Based on the similar price points, there’s every chance that Nintendo’s previous pricing and differentiation strategy wouldn’t work in this current environment but that’s a story for another post.
Aside from the well-covered launch of the PS Vita (which some are already dubbing PSV Eindhoven or the PSV), Sony flogged the 3D horse some more with the announcement of a USD499 3D bundle that would include a copy of Resistance 3, a HDMI cable, a pair of 3D glasses, and a PlayStation branded 24″ TV. The TV itself is quite attractive with tech that “allows two separate pairs of 3D eyewear to see two completely different pictures on the same screen, allowing local co-op minus the splitscreen”.
Also of great interest was Ruin, a hack n’ slash action RPG with a nifty innovation that allows you to play it on the PlayStation Vita while you travel and continue on your PS3 when you’re at home. One particular Sony announcement managed to draw groans from the crowd – the 3G version of the Vita was exclusive to AT&T (in the US anyway). We’ll have to wait and see whether the reportedly poor iPhone experience on AT&T will lead to buyers staying away from this particular SKU.
The PlayStation Vita – oooohhh, shiny….
Nintendo blows (minds)
The Nintendo presser played a 25th Legend of Zelda video complete with orchestral backing to the great delight of the Zelda fans in the crowd. They really know how to push the right nostalgia buttons…
Shigeru Miyamoto finally confirmed Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword for a 2011 holiday season release complete with a special gold wii remote pack-in and threw a nice hunk of meat for 3DS owning Zelda fans by also announcing a free download of Zelda Four Swords.
I’m slightly curious about Ocarina of Time 3DS, mostly because I’ve not played it yet and every games magazine I’ve ever seen has constantly raved about it. The 3DS showreel of upcoming titles definitely fuelled my appetite for the 3DS – Mario Kart 3DS (with customisable karts as well as gliders and underwater terrain!), Luigi’s Mansion 2 (which strangely got a lot of applause since the first game for the GameCube was panned), Starfox 64 3DS, Super Mario Bros 3DS (looked sweet), and finally, what I think will be the star game – Kid Icarus Uprising. Kid Icarus looks like it’ll be an amazing action-packed experience.
Nintendo 3DS 1st party games sizzle reel
Nintendo 3DS 3rd party games sizzle reel
And on to….
Nintendo’s latest console – The Wii U. I honestly thought Nintendo would have gone with a good old simple name like ‘Nintendo’ but looking at the name again, it makes sense. Keeping the name continuity means that the average parent still recognises it and as much as gamers may bash names, I don’t think a single console (or tech product for that matter) in history has failed because it had a stupid name (see the iPad for a prime example).
This is the first Nintendo console since the SNES that has come out with such great 3rd party support. Looking at the list of planned games, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Online, Darksiders II, Batman Arkham City, Dirt, Aliens Colonial Marines, Metro Last Light, Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge, Assassin’s Creed, a new Madden, and for the first time ever on a Nintendo home console, Tekken, the future looks bright for Nintendo. Apart for the aberration of a 10% drop in stock since the announcement of the console, I expect business to pick up once more solid titles are announced and more info is released for the Wii U – which likely won’t happen until the Tokyo Game Show in September.
The tech demo for the Wii U had me sold as soon as they showed the shuriken clip. The level of interactivity with the surrounding environment with zero lag between the controller and the screen was mind blowing. With the new controller, the Wii U can offer a truly 360 degree view of the gaming world you’re in. Also, the new controller flies against the current trend towards peripherals. With one fell swoop, this controller eliminates the need for more gizmos to fill our room spaces because it has a gyroscope, a microphone, an accelerometer, dual analog controls, two shoulder buttons and two triggers, a front-facing camera, and a gigantic 6.2″ resistive touchscreen. It’s quite likely that the design will be tweaked further prior to it’s official launch, but much of what you see now is what you’ll get in 2012. IGN is already kickstarting a campaign to get Nintendo to use analog sticks and analog triggers in their controller.
I’m liking this new look Nintendo that has come back to embrace the core gamer once again after seemingly leaving us for games that toddlers and their grandparents could play. Don’t get me wrong. I loved the fact that Nintendo expanded the gaming market to such an extent that my mother could partner me at Wii Sports tennis and beat my friends, but I don’t feel that I had enough gaming choices for my Wii. My PC was left to fill the void with Quake 4, Mass Effect, and Trine – none of which would ever come to the Wii in it’s current form.
I’ll close with this trailer for Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Online – a great example of how Wii U can enhance shooters.