My thoughts on the big E3 announcements

So initially, my reactions to a lot of what I was hear about the announcements at E3 this year were skeptical, mainly due to the fact I couldn’t watch the majority of the press conferences. But after reading articles and watching videos, I think it’s safe for me to say that there is a lot to be excited for. So I’m just going to list a few things that stood out, and my thoughts on them.

3DS:

When they first announced the 3DS, I was intrigued, to say the least. I’ve never been a huge fan of 3D, and to put it on a handheld device really seems pointless to me. Though I held off on judging it negatively just for that, until I played it for myself. Fast forward to now, having played the handheld at demo kiosks in stores, I can’t say that I’m all that crazy about it. The selection of games for launch was lackluster, with no must have out of all of them. So for the $250 price tag, I wrote it off and put my interest in the now, PlayStation Vita. But after watching their press conference, they showed some games for the 3DS that looked pretty cool. Granted some were rehashes of console games, but there some that looked really good. The new Mario 3D looks like a good hybrid of what we’ve seen in Mario Galaxy and the New Super Mario Bros. side scrolling games.

All in all though, I still find it hard to pay $250 for a glorified DS with a weird 3D display and a short battery life. I think I may pick one up after the infamous hardware revision that Nintendo is well known for.

Wii U:

I remember the year Nintendo announce the Wii several years back. It was a rebirth of hope after the GameCube’s weak share hold in the market. There was excitement once again for a Nintendo console. Then they announce the controller. A completely new way to experience games by making you performing actions in the game, with a motion controller. I really did send a buzz across the gaming world. Though the Wii did not boast in hardware strength, like it’s competitors, it promised a new way to bring in new players, young and old, to this outlet of entertainment. And for a while it did. The console sold very well, to the point where it put Nintendo back on top. But after a few years, this revolution quickly became gimmicky. Developers were hashing out awful ports of old PS2 games, or incredible awful flash games. This was in put, due to the fact that since the Wii was weaker in hardware, developers couldn’t really port a PS3 or 360 game, without it being a major headache.

So when rumors started circulating that Nintendo would be showing a new console this E3, buzz started to generate again. It had gotten out that the controller was suppose to have a touchscreen along with other features. So with all this being said, the excitement for the Nintendo announcement was high. The controller they showed is like an iPad with analog sticks and buttions. The features they demonstrated where incredible. The communication with the controller to the console is pretty cool with the possibilities of gameplay. Being able to take the game from the big screen, to the controller itself is a feature I’ve been dreaming of for years! And what I love about this is that the gameplay with this controller also incorporates the use of the original Wii remote for various multiplayer experiences, or unique simulation experiences. One example they had was a game of golf, where the player was using the Wii remote in their hands, and on the floor was the Wii U controller. They cut to the controller on the floor, where on the screen of the controller is a golf ball in sand. If developers really do get on board with this new platform, I think we could see an incredible new experience in gaming.

That is my fear though, is that like the Wii, developers get lazy with the tech and just copy and paste what someone else did. Like the GameCube, the Wii’s best games came from in house. Nintendo continues to push game design to new level with their creativity. That combined with their newly beefed up hardware, putting out graphics that could possibly best the PS3 and 360, may just be enough for me to pick this up.

My other fear, however, is that releasing a console now to compete with the competition seems to be a shot in the foot. It’s pretty much common knowledge that Sony and Microsoft will put out a new console in three years time. So this should prove to be a challenge for Nintendo once again, as it puts them in the situation that they are in now.

PlayStation:

Now I love my PlayStation. I’ve been dedicated to the console since the launch of PS2. I have, however been critical of the PlayStation brand at times. From the pricing fiasco of the PS3 to getting rid of my PSP due to lack of anything. Now I eventual got another PSP because Sony made one of their various branding pushes where several interesting titles came out. But within a couple of years after that, the PSP seemed like that one goldfish in the tank that is kind of swimming sideways and could die at any moment. So the possibilities of a PSP2 were questionable. There was no doubt that there would be one, but it was more of a matter of, is it worth buying? Will the same mistakes be made again? Also the handheld market has been drastically altered by iOS and the Android platforms. Mobile gaming, once mock and ridiculed, is now poised to take the handheld gaming devices out by the knees. So another question is, is there room for another PSP?

Several months ago, Sony announced it’s new handheld platformed, codenamed NGP. They showed that it finally had the much requested, dual analog stick that everyone has been wanting since the release of the first PSP. Along with that, the handheld features incredible graphics, a touchscreen, the standard PlayStation button and d-pad layout, and a new thing that is suppose to make handheld gaming super innovative; a touch sensitive back panel, ment to give a more immersive experience in handheld gaming. As impressed as people were by these new features, was still a sense of concern among people. Mainly the cost of the device, and also the current state of the handheld market as it is.

But now, after this week, NGP is the PS Vita, it’s been priced at $250, which is a pretty good range for what the device can do. But there is still concern as to whether the Vita will thrive, or go down the path of the PSP. I myself am cautious optimistic, but I would be interested in getting this.

As for the PS3, the showing of the games to come is pretty much being outdone by Uncharted 3. In fact I can’t remember much else of what was shown. A lot of games being shown this year are third party, and the big titles look pretty good. Sony also unveiled a new budget 24” 3D monitor, in a further push to get 3D gaming out there. They priced it at $500, and it’s to be bundled with a pair of PS brand 3D glasses, which will retail for $75, the game Resistance 3, and an HDMI cable. Now I said earlier, I’ve never been a huge fan of 3D anything, but this might just convince me to put my feet in the water at least. Especially after hearing how incredible Uncharted 3 looks in 3D. But again, I remain cautious optimistic on this as well. I would need to see it for myself before I can make that decision.

XBox 360

As for Microsoft’s showing at E3, I can’t say I’m excited about much of what they showed. It was a lot of Kinect, and games we already knew about, except Halo 4, which I’m not a huge fan of anyways, so it all fell kind of flat on me. The games they showed looked cool, but nothing with a wow factor, and not that it’s a bad thing, but they had nothing new for me to get too crazy over. I already plan on getting Mass Effect, I will eventually get Forza 4 and I might rent Modern Warfare 3. The Kinect stuff isn’t really doing it for me still. Stuff like XBox Labs was neat, but it didn’t make me want to get a Kinect.

So far as a whole, I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve seen in this years E3 coverage. Especially after the whole motion control push that happened last year, it was refreshing to see actually games and some new innovative hardware.

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