The E3 gaming expo is usually the big stage for gaming companies to announce new software and hardware for the upcoming fiscal year.
But this year’s E3 didn’t seem to have as many blockbuster announcements in terms of new games.
Some new titles were announced for sure. Sequels to “Portal,” “Killzone,” “inFamous,” “Mortal Kombat,” “Rock Band” and “Guitar Hero” were announced. Nintendo is bringing back the “Goldeneye,” “Kid Icarus,” and “Legend of Zelda” series for the Wii.
This year’s E3, however, focused on the hardware.
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With “Avatar” opening the gates for a new 3-D craze, Nintendo announced it would release a new version of the DS called the 3DS. The technology used for the handheld won’t require glasses because of a filter screen included with the system.
Both Microsoft and Sony touted their motion gaming technologies that will hit stores this fall.
Microsoft’s Kinect for Xbox 360, which was once known as Project Natal, doesn’t require controllers to use, but instead uses a motion sensor that sits near the televsion. While the technology seems impressive, the add-on will cost just a little less than a Wii.
Sony’s PlayStation Move appears similar to the Wii’s controllers and could offer a similar experience to playing the Wii. The initial bundle — packaged with the “Wii Sports”-like “Sports Champions” — will run about $100.
For either to be successful, they must be different than the Wii. If you are going to purchase one of those two for that price and they aren’t different, then why not just buy a Wii and get access to the strong exclusives (“Mario,” “Zelda,” “Metroid”) Nintendo releases?
It seems both are trying to steal some of Nintendo’s market share with games like “Sports Champions” and “Kinect Sports.” Most Wii releases are targeted toward children, however, and many of them don’t have a PlayStation 3 or an Xbox 360. This could open these consoles up to a new demographic, or it could just oversaturate the market and do little to cut into Nintendo’s lead.
I’m not sure there is a large section of parents out there who are willing to shell out for a second and third console for their children. I’m also not sure how many adult gamers will want to buy the Kinect or Move for themselves.
Both the Move and Kinect were announced long ago, which is why I was disappointed that most of Sony’s and Microsoft’s E3 efforts focused on them. Nintendo probably had the best showing by unveiling the 3DS in addition to the announcement of the return of some beloved franchises.