Cynic Gamer: E3 2010 Dissected
About a week ago, I wrote down my expectations and predictions for this E3 and although I was hoping for a lot, as you can guess I didn’t expect much new. After all, this column is called “Cynic Gamer” for a reason.
To my own surprise, things turned out more like I stated than I had thought. After all, I try to exaggerate at times but it seems I can’t compete with the stupidity in this industry anymore. As such, I’m going to compare my pre-E3 edition with the reality of what happened at the show.
Microsoft: I said we would get a final name for Natal and we did. Kinect is how Microsoft’s motion controller will be called from now on and the guy who came up with that should be shot in the head. I understand the “story” behind the name with “connect” and “kinetic” and all, but does that mean we need to get a name that just sounds awful? At least Natal sounded nice in the mouth!
The game lineup for Kinect was as expected. Other than the Star Wars game that couldn’t be checked out anywhere except for a trailer at Microsoft’s Kinect Experience Event we got flooded with party games. Not even Milo was present this year and boy, were we anxious to see him again (NOT)!
Current speculation has Kinect priced at $150 which is an absurd amount of money and probably the reason why Microsoft didn’t announce any official pricing just yet. We’re guessing they want to know the reaction of the public on rumours so they can adjust it by Gamescom where they’ll announce something for real. $150 and we can be sure it will fail, especially as apparently the device has problems with people sitting down. Just imagine people running around their living room, trying to start up a game or watch ESPN (in the US)? What, you think that’s ridiculous? Seems Microsoft disagrees with you!
Biggest new announcement was the new Xbox360 Slim but one can’t really say that’s something new as it’s been rumoured for… well since last E3 actually.
The rest of the games didn’t really contain anything special we hadn’t heard of before and it’s clear that Games for Windows is dead. Not even a bad port for Halo was announced. If there’s one thing Microsoft showed at E3 2010, it’s that PC gaming is the last thing they’re interested in.
I stated Sony would be focusing on Move and their new Premium payable PSN service. Guess what, I was right about that as well! The only thing I had forgotten about is that they want to sell 3D TVs and will of course use 3D gaming as a means to achieve that goal. Just like they did with Blu-ray. So in effect, their press conference was filled with Move, Playstation Plus (premium PSN), 3D gaming and sequels. Oh, and they didn’t announce a PSP2 but to show the handheld isn’t dead yet, they’re starting with a new marketing campaign featuring Milo… euhm, I mean Marcus. Great thinking and very original!
3D is going to be “da bomb”. At least, according to Sony. Our guys at E3 found it to be not quite so spectacular and gaming with glasses makes you only look even geekier than ever before. This while apparently the Nintendo 3DS manages to do a similar – if not better – job without them. So do we care about 3D gaming? Not for the moment!
Move got plenty of party games lined up, along with Tiger Woods, but to get the full hardware package it will cost you $99,99. And this while there’s the Nintendo Wii to satisfy all your partying needs! New motion control tech may be fun, but at its current stage doesn’t really seem to add much except for additional dollars in the pockets of Sony and Microsoft.
Playstation Plus is the new payable PSN service and although it doesn’t cost you an insane amount of money for what you get, the catch is that it does if you cancel your subscription. Every game you’ve received for the money you’ve paid will be gone! Call me harsh, but for me that’s blackmail trying to keep you from unsubscribing.
Biggest announcement from Sony this year was the new Twisted Metal game. Yea, that game that was not in development/was in development/was not in development/etc until nobody cared anymore. Until it was shown at Sony’s press conference and everyone went berserk again. At least, I guess so as I wasn’t there myself. I have no problem imagining the fanboy reactions though.
Up to Nintendo. In the previous column I wrote that the Big N would be presenting the Nintendo 3DS in full force and they did with babes having one strapped on their belly. Too bad you don’t get one of the girls as well when you buy a 3DS as I’m sure that would truly be an innovative approach and would sell beyond imagination!
Other than that we got to see several of the usual suspects pass by in new titles (just like I predicted) but the big absentee was without a doubt the Wii HD/2/whatever. No upgrades for the Wii just yet and we didn’t hear about the vitality sensor anymore either. Guess that wasn’t as interesting as Nintendo had hoped last year.
Nintendo seems more focused on handhelds and their existing franchises than anything else. A strategy that they’ve adopted for years already, with the exception of the Wii which probably did better than even they could have imagined. Without new hardware, it’s up to Link in the new Zelda game to keep the Wii getting sold until they finally get their act together and release some new hardware. Hey… isn’t that exactly the same thing they did with the Gamecube? Yup, it is!
Ubisoft showed that you can’t have it all. My predictions for the companies above were quite right, but I did miss the ball a bit with the French publisher. Next to the lineup they announced in advance, we got to see plenty of casual titles but no new movie tie-in nor a new Splinter Cell.
They did announce some new hardware of themselves which will be used in the “Zen” title Innergy. It seems Ubisoft found last year’s Nintendo Vitality Sensor more interesting than Nintendo themselves and have changed it into the “Ubisoft Energy Sensor” for PC. I guess this game will be used to cool down every time you’ve rebooted your PC after a blue screen of death.
Did Ubisoft have a great press conf? Well, they showed what they had said they would, but other than that there weren’t any real surprises or titles we truly look forward to. So for me that’s still counted as disappointing.
Electronic Arts surprised everyone with last year’s press conference where plenty of new IP was shown but their official lineup was already quite complete so I was really wondering what else they would have in store for us. Seems only one game: a reboot of Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit. Yes, it looks great but was that all? Guess so. They had plenty of cool stuff lined up, but we had heard about it all before. Again no surprises here at E3.
The last publisher I had on my list in the previous Cynic Gamer was Activision-Blizzard. Well, I was way off with them. They had a big show where plenty of celebrities performed songs, but other than some trailers from their official lineup, nothing was shown. And if it hadn’t been for the new 007 Goldeneye game that was presented at the Nintendo press conference, there wasn’t anything that hadn’t been announced before E3.
It’s clear that Activision has plenty of money, but they seem to have forgotten that they’re in the gaming business and not in the music industry. Spending all that money on a concert doesn’t seem like smart business to me. Why didn’t we hear anything about yet unannounced games? Is there nothing in the pipeline? Is Activision truly beat with the Infinity Ward meltdown? Yes, Black Ops looks to become a winner, but what else is there? Why didn’t they show off anything? Are they keeping everything for the Tokyo Game Show and/or Gamescom? Hopefully so as their presence at E3 was pittyful to say the least.
As with every E3 we got to see plenty of games (duh!), some good, some… well… let’s not say “bad”. However, just like last year the amount of surprises was extremely thin and originality far to be found. Our impression from last year that it’s like the gaming industry is running out of inspiration or just lacks the courage to start with fresh material hasn’t changed.
On the hardware field we had at least expected a new PSP and/or upgraded Wii but neither was present. On the games side of things what we got to see were mostly sequels and reboots. Milking so to say. But as everyone knows, you can milk a cow for only so long until it runs dry. And we’re currently not seeing enough fresh meat arriving.
Hopefully the Tokyo Games Show and Gamescom will make up for what E3 was (again) lacking: true innovation and novelties that aren’t purely based on hardware gimmicks no-one is waiting for.