In eight days time, in a little place called the Los Angeles Convention Center, one of the most important events in the gaming calendar will begin: E3 .
As the “about us” blurb on the website clearly boasts, The Electronic Entertainment Expo, or preferably E3, really is the premiere trade show for computer and gaming related products. The show has seen many changes since it was first held in 1995, with the joyous uprising of the internet allowing for instant access to information from the show as opposed to having to wait a whole month for gaming magazines to spill the beans.
The show offers a diversity of software and new hardware for lucky attendees to view with gusto and ecstasy; journalists get the chance to have a stroke after writing their 100th article on third party software; and the big three Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony have the chance to hold the world’s grandest pissing contest. Each year the big three hold their admittedly cheesy and self congratulating press conferences wherein the lay out their plans for the next financial year. Announcements here include upcoming releases that will be see release in 2011/2012, upcoming releases that will be announced then delayed (looking at you The Last Guardian), stunning hardware that could be a hit (Kinect) or fall flat (Playstation Move), and also plenty of subtly bashing the other companies e.g. “Only on Playstation 3D do you get the definitive 3D experience… with glasses”
The importance of these conferences to gaming journalists all over notwithstanding, the importance of these conferences to fan boys is becoming increasingly apparent. The declarations from this lot about which company has “won” E3 will be heard a number of times during the three days with reasons stretching from new hardware to a new Halo game. So if we presume that anyone really can “win” at E3, what do the big three have to do to insure that their stream is bigger than the others?
Although oft declared last year’s winner thanks to how impressive the 3DS and the admittedly cool handheld’s initial game line-up appeared, unfortunately most of the big name games like Legend of Zelda and Kid Icarus still haven’t seen release, and that is a factor in the 3DS’ lacklustre release. This year Nintendo’s worst kept secret, Project Cafe/Wii 2/ Stream will officially be unveiled offering Nintendo loyalists their first foray into HD gaming. The leaked footage also shows a fairly interesting controller that sports a DS style touchpad which could lead to some pretty innovative gaming tropes (using the screen as a rear view mirror does not count).
To truly win at E3 Nintendo must have a kick ass line-up of games, no more of this relying on third party developers. Get Mario, both in kart and adventure, out there at launch. How about an HD Pokémon RPG game, no more of these poor man Pokémon Stadiums please Nintendo. Keep up the policy of not bashing the other companies, it makes you look good and they just look like tools by comparison.
With no leaked announcement of any hardware this year, Microsoft may very well just pull the proverbial rabbit out their ass and shock the world… that probably won’t happen though to be honest. Winning E3 is usually about hardware, and without a new generation of Microsoft console, their chances are sure to be dented. However, with the success of the Kinect as their entry badge, Microsoft could very well steal the show with some well placed software. Here’s an idea, give a release date for that Star Wars Kinect game you previewed last time, I for one would relish the opportunity to flail my arms around in front of me like an epileptic watching anime.
Microsoft could also offer a discount on their Live services. In the wake of the PSN’s troubled times any excuse to tout the secure nature of one’s service would be a safe bet this year.
Finally, an extensive line-up of first and third party is a must during a hardware-less E3. I’m talking key franchises like Gears of War or Halo, I for one would like to see a new game from Alan Wake creators Remedy Entertainment. The best push for winning E3 for Microsoft would be the announcement of a new game in the Fable franchise; one without annoying glitches please?
NGP. That’s Sony’s biggest push this year. The natural successor to the PSP will offer a unique handheld experience if it delivers half of what it claims. Touch sensitive controller on the back of the console, a traditional touchscreen, and the fact it has been shown running Uncharted with relative ease is a great selling point of what will ultimately be an expensive handheld. For the price that this thing will retail at it better come with some amazing launch games, I want Monster Hunter, folks, not another Resistance spinoff.
While the NGP’s apparent ability to port PS3 games will ultimately only appeal to PS3 owners, this has all the marks of clever marketing in my opinion. If it works. Get an NGP, you want to play Arkham City on the move. All of this is speculation at best, we really have no idea of the final capabilities of the NGP or if that will be its official name upon release.
Sony also need to address the PSN problems on this stage. I realise they have done this at nausea inducing levels lately, but an in person apology will reinforce their position on the whole debacle. You want to get Kevin Butler to make a joke about it? That’s fine, but get Kazuo Hirai to make his real apology first.
Finally, give us some new PS3 games that matter, Hideo Kojima has already stated he will not be at E3 this year so you guys have all ready lost one of your star shooters there. You better have some news on key franchises such as Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts, Killzone, and anything from Quantic Dream.
There we have it folks, that is how you win E3 if you are Nintendo, Microsoft, or Sony. Next Tuesday can’t come too soon for these guys and honestly I can’t wait either. As a multiplatform user no matter which company wins E3, I win outright every time. Though if we go another year without a Kingdom Hearts 3 tease I will be highly irritated.