I know, I know. You've seen it everywhere. E3. What used to be the grandest of stages in the video game world, now reduced to a crappy, worthless show.
I know it wasn't just me that was feeling bored, and a bit betrayed. Betrayed by the ESA.
What was good about E3? Well for one, the games. All 3 showed off some amazing product, but we'd seen MOST of it before. Nothing really to wow you about a game you've been seeing and hearing about for the last 2-3 years. In fact, to be fair, I'll list my opinions on the strongest and weakest of each of the big three.
Strong - Mario Kart, Weak - Wii fit
Strong - the strongest fall line-up in over a decade, Weak - gears content not yet announced for 360
Strong - redesigned PSP looks great, Weak - no "wow factor", price drop not enough
If I could pick a winner, I'd have to give it to MS this year. The "Sony Defense Force" will most likely not agree, but it is my opinion that the 360 game line-up far overshadows that of both other consoles. Sure, Killzone 2 looks alright. But it doesn't look as good and clean as Halo 3, PGR4, Mass Effect, Bioshock, or even Too Human. And to me, Killzone 2 didn't deliver on the "killer app" thrills it needed to.
I think the loser this year is Nintendo. They had by far the weakest show. They showed Mario Kart, which was good, but we already knew it was coming. Nintendo needed to come out and do more than just throw their numbers in our face. "Nintendo has been sold out 33 weeks" they happily proclaim, and to be honest I don't understand why. I love the Wii, don't get me wrong, but even the PS3 is starting to have a busier release schedule than the Wii. I'm sick of ports I played a year ago.
To Sony's credit, they showed off a fine selection of games, but all of their key titles got pushed to 2008, obviously because they'd rather let the Halo hype die down...if that's even popular.
The NCsoft deal is a bad move for Sony, but perhaps behind the scenes it is Sony trying to aquire NCSoft's portfolio into their SOE brand. If SOE outright aquires NCSoft, perhaps some good may come of it. Having NCSoft games on the Station Pass for example would be really big. But NCSoft isn't doing so well lately. Revenues from Guild Wars sales are slipping, subs for COH/COV have dropped significantly in the last 6 months, Auto Assault had to be shut down, and more people play Lineage 2 on illegal private servers than play on the legal ones.
The BEST thing Sony has at their disposal is a great console. Yeah, I said it. But Capcom and the other devs are right. $100 isn't enoough. Sony needs to come down at least $100 more. At $400, the PS3 could realistically compete in the video game market, and may serve to give Blu-Ray an even bigger boost.
Nintendo needs to keep wowing us before we all get bored. Wii fit looks innovative and all that, and I laughed that it called Reggie fat. But I wan't games, not gadgets. We really needed to be shown something big, something to make us keep talking about them.
As for Microsoft, they are seeming to peak right now. I am worried that after this strong year, they may fall short on heavy hitters to keep up wowed. There are a few notable exclusives in the future to speak of, Fable 2 for example. But Microsoft is gonna have to keep up the pace to even think of coming ahead in the console war.
If Sony drops another $100 off the system price, then we finally have a console war. It up to you now Sony. The ball is in your court.
So why do I think E3 sucked, if I had so much to say about it? Well this year we were shown too much stuff we have already seen the last year or two, and not enough stuff we've never seen. The highlight of the show in this regard is Silent Hill 5. But even still, no real surprises.
Having been lucky enough to attend E3 twice, I can tell you that this new E3 just has none of the flair, excitement, mystery, showmanship, and quality. You can tell it in the developers. Hell, some of them refused to even show. Some of them made comments on stage about how they wanted the REAL E3 back. And alas, G4 is scrambling to fill in gaps with what would have before been beautiful floor footage.
I hope the real E3 comes back. And I hope Sony gets their shit together soon. They can show off all the games in the world, but they need a cheaper console to play them on. That alone is the key to Sony turning this around.
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