Friday, June 03, 2011

My hopes and fears for the 'big three' at E3

E3 2011 is upon us. Well, as of Monday. Anyway, I'm excited. I'm also a bit wary, as I've been through the ups and downs associated with such events many times over the years.

So, what am I excited about and what is making me a bit wary--or, rather, what are my hopes and fears for the "big three" at this most awesome of gaming events? Well, here are my hopes:

Microsoft--Honestly, I'm not expecting much from Microsoft. You know they're going to show a bunch of "hardcore" games and a bunch of Kinect titles. I have little interest in either. I'll be perfectly happy, though, if they announce even a few wow-worthy XBLA titles.

Nintendo--As of now, this event is all about Nintendo for me, as I'm curious to see what they have planned for the 3DS and the Wii successor, currently known as Project Café. Regarding the latter, I'm looking for the company's latest console as well as its launch software to wow me like the Wii and Wii Sports did at E3 in 2006. Also, I hope Nintendo announces a few more Wii releases. I'd love to see the new Kirby, The Last Story, Rhythm Heaven/ Tengoku Wii and Xenoblade all brought to North America, but I'll be happy if even one or two of them come our way.

Sony--Will we finally get a release date and release price for Sony's next portable, which seemingly is going to be called PS Vita? I hope so. I also hope we get a peek at some of the stellar first- and third-party games that surely are being planned for the system.

As for my fears for the "big three" at this E3, here they are:

Microsoft--I fear they're going to expend most of their energy on so-called hardcore and Kinect games and ignore XBLA.

Nintendo--I fear they're going to completely drop the ball on the DS and Wii. I know the 3DS is now the company's focus in the portable space, but there are plenty of DS and DSi owners out there who aren't going to upgrade anytime soon and who would still like to play some new games--games like the Lemmings-esque Kirby title that's going to be released in Japan this August or the fourth entry in the Professor Layton series. As for the Wii, well, Project Café, or whatever the console ends up being called, isn't going to hit store shelves until next summer, if not later. Why not localize a few--or, even better, all--of the as-of-now-Japan-only games mentioned above in the meantime?

Sony--I fear that Sony is going to wait too long to release the PS Vita in the US--it has to hit store shelves before Christmas, in my opinion--and slap a price tag on the system that's far too high given current economic conditions. The system is likely to find success in Japan regardless of price thanks to its rabid fan base and games like Monster Hunter, but its future is much less certain in the States. If it's not priced competitively with the 3DS, it's going to have a hard time faring any better than its poorly received predecessor.

We'll find out in any of my hopes or fears will become reality on Monday and Tuesday of next week, by the way. Microsoft's press conference will begin at 9 am Pacific on Monday, with Sony's occurring later the same day, at 5 pm Pacific. Nintendo's press conference, on the other hand, will start at 9 am Pacific on Tuesday.

All of the above-mentioned conferences will be streamed live on, by the way. I'll certainly be watching them. Will you?


Cody Winn said...

I'll definitely be watching the conferences! Though I'll try to tweet less than I did last year. I never lost any followers, but I have a feeling I put them all through a great deal of pain, ha ha.

I'm very excited to see what Nintendo will be doing. I enjoy their games most out of the big three, so it's them I've always got my eye on. I'd love to hear some XBLA- and Vita-related stuff though :)

Bryan Ochalla said...

Thanks for the comment, Cody! I'm glad to hear someone else will be paying attention to these press conferences on Monday and Tuesday.

I like your idea of "live Tweeting" these conferences, BTW. I may have to do that on Monday and Tuesday. I'll follow your lead, though, and try not to Tweet too often :)

Viewtiful_Justin said...

I'll preface this comment by saying we're partying right now and I'm a li'l drunk. But I'd just like to say that I think this E3 is going to be a bust. LAst year was amazing, and I don't think anything could top it...I would love to see Nintendo's new system be something more traditional and less gimmicky (don't get me wrong, I love the Wii, but I love a system with regular controls that can compete, grahically).

So there.

Bryan Ochalla said...

Ha! Well, I'm glad that you're partying and little drunk, Justin :) Send some of it my way, will ya?

As for E3 being a bust -- well, I sure hope it isn't! Will Nintendo's part of the event be a bust? Maybe. What we've heard of Project Cafe so far boggles the mind. I think it's either going to be really cool or really dumb. I'm actually most concerned that they're seemingly giving up the Wii remote -- a controller I really like, despite the fact that it's rather gimmicky.

Word on the street is that Project Cafe will best the PS3/360 in terms of graphics, but no one seems to know by how much. Will it just barely surpass them, will it blow them out of the water? I don't really care, personally, but I know a lot of people do.

So, Tuesday morning will be quite interesting, if you ask me. Here's hoping it's not a bust!

Marcus said...

I agree with you quite a bit on most of your points!

I especially hope that the "PS Vita" gets more serious information than it got before and that it doesn't go for an outrageous price. I kind of fear it really will go for $350 though and then it will be avoided! Sure, the tech inside is worth a lot but that's just so much... We'll see if they can put it to $200something.

I'm also going to be checking out all the conferences :). No clue how good they'll be but it's still exciting! I'll be in E3 territory a little this week, although I'm not going to the convention I can check some of the "open" parties! :P

Viewtiful_Justin said...

I love the versatility of the Wiimote, but there is a lot that it seems like it's not great for. It's not the most ergonomic, either. Of course, neither was the DS and neither IS the 3DS (a fact which sort of boggles my mind in a company that gave us the N64 controller).

Bryan Ochalla said...

Marcus: Yeah, some version of the PS Vita has to come in under $300, if not $250, if it wants to compete against the 3DS in the US -- esp. since I think the 3DS will see a price drop before the year is over. Also, you know Nintendo is going to unload some big games before Christmas -- like Mario Kart and maybe even the next Super Mario. All of that combined will be nails in the Vita's coffin if Sony prices the system too high.

Other than that, you're going to be in LA next week but not attending E3? Why is that? Regardless, hopefully you do get into some of those parties :)

Bryan Ochalla said...

Justin: I'll definitely agree with you that there are many genres the Wiimote isn't good for. I disagree that it's not ergonomic, though! I think it's tremendously ergonomic! That said, I'm very curious to see this new controller Nintendo is planning for Cafe, as it's hard for me to imagine how it's going to work at this point.

Marcus said...

Well, I could have gone to E3 with a journalist badge but... I don't feel "ready" yet to take on all the journalistic duties (arranging meetings/requesting private screening access/etc). I've barely got the hang of talking to PR reps! :P

So, for me I'm just gonna watch the main stuff online and then just visit a few of the parties. Maybe next year I'll actually go to E3. :)

Viewtiful_Justin said...

Fair enough.

Bryan Ochalla said...

Hell, Marcus, I just want to go so I can see the press conferences and play the games on the show floor. I probably wouldn't even bother arranging meetings or private showings. Regardless, I hope you have a great time!

Bryan Ochalla said...

Justin: Sorry I'm such a damn blabbermouth about this kind of thing. I can't help myself sometimes...

Viewtiful_Justin said...

LOL If you weren't passionate, we wouldn't love you so much.

Bryan Ochalla said...

Ha ha! Thanks, Justin :)