The Electronic Entertainment Expo belonged to Microsoft this year.
But E3 is the biggest event in gaming, and Nintendo and Sony didn’t just sit back and admire Microsoft. Both had presentations that are noteworthy, but neither measured up to Microsoft.
Nintendo answered last year’s critics by unveiling two Mario games — “Super Mario Galaxy 2” and the “New Super Mario Brothers Wii” — a sequel to Metroid and an announcement that it is working on a new Zelda game.
Critics drilled Nintendo last year for not pandering to the hardcore gaming crowd, accusing it of making games to pull in non-gamers.
But Nintendo is on top of the mountain. The company doesn’t have to steal the show. It just has to continue on its current path and hope consumers don’t lose interest, but it was nice to see the company not ignore its loyal fan base for the second straight year.
Unlike Nintendo, Sony didn’t drop any big new announcements.
Sony unveiled the PSP Go — it was leaked prior to the conference — as a smaller, thinner handheld than its predecessor. The PSP Go is more expensive than the PSP at $249. The PSP Go won’t have a UMD drive, instead making games downloadable from the PlayStation Store.
It’s not clear if Sony is targeting Apple’s iPod Touch or the Nintendo DS, but the price puts it more in line with the iPod. The DS is $120 cheaper and has sold more than 101 million units compared to the PSP’s 50 million sold.
Sony announced two exclusive titles with Rockstar’s “Agent” and “MAG.” “MAG,” which stands for “Massive Action Game,” supports up to 256 players online. It remains to be seen how smoothly the server will operate with that many people playing at the same time.
Sony also announced “Final Fantasy XIII” will be coming to consoles in 2010, and will be follwed by the previously unannounced “Final Fantasy XIV.”
I thought the highlights of Sony’s conference were the trailers and demos of “Uncharted 2: Among Thieves” and “God of War III.” The games look extremely polished, and both could be contenders for game of the year in the next two years. “Uncharted 2” comes out later this year, while “God of War III” comes out in March 2010.