So, as the title says, the press conferences. I streamed them online, Microsoft I watched through Gamespot’s Twitch.TV channel, Sony I watched on their UStream channel and Nintendo I watched their UStream feed at their E3 page on Nintendo.com. All of them had alot of media exposure, as its a press conference, so obviously all the big news feeds for gaming showed. I’ll divide my thoughts into 3 points, one for each company. Since I’m such a big nerd and gamer, I always make a habit of watching their live press conferences.
Microsoft – Xbox Conference
So with the first conference being at 12-2 on 04/06/12. We got Halo 4 from 343 Industries, which is going well so far, I won’t spoil the trailer for you, as you can see it at youtube, if you’re so interested. We also received Tomb Raider with some first dibs DLC for Xbox, which I’m looking forward to, just on PS3, lol. (More on that on Twitter and youtube). Call Of Duty Black Ops 2, which looks good. To me, it finally is starting to make Treyarch better, I just hope its online isn’t plagued with the same problems World at War and Black Ops 1 had, where their servers had problems with leaderboard scoring. Gears of War 4 – which was mainly just a teaser. More Dance Central, with the third installment, including a guest appearance of Usher.
Most of Microsoft’s attention however was on their new entertainment heavy side of xbox. While people have enjoyed Netflix, and sports streams on their 360’s, now they’ll have the added bonuses of more streaming providers. Also with more Kinect voice commands, and something some of us thought would never happen… Internet Browsing on the 360. Yes, Microsoft is porting over Internet Exporer 10 from Windows 8 into the 360. I know its IE10, because I tried out Windows 8 during the Consumer Preview, and when you launched IE 10 from the new start menu, it looks identical to the 360’s Internet Explorer app. While I would enjoy a voice control for browsing the internet on my TV, I still sometimes prefer the keyboard and when that happens, i just hook up my laptop to the 40″ Samsung I have. Also Microsoft added more fitness to the Kinect with Nike’s new training app which helps people track their progress and complete training exercises that professional athletes use when working with Nike.
More Music, more movies, and more TV was Microsoft’s push this time. Which is fine, its something that I found had been lacking on the system. Then they unveiled their new cloud sync app for Windows phones, Windows 8 tablets and PCs as well as the 360. This allows everyone the ability to port over preferences and playback information between devices, much like alot of PVRs from Cable and Satellite providers now have. So far, I have been impressed with the OS updates that this conference is just unveiling, but the lack of games I saw, kinda makes me feel as if Microsoft is shying away from some of the gaming community and focusing on their own OS, which is fine, but at least highlight some information like how many new games will be out, what kind of online presence we’re getting from Xbox live arcade, we didn’t get it, sadly. Which to me, brings their press conference to the bottom end of the 3.
Sony – Playstation 3, Playstation Vita and Playstation
So with Microsoft taken care of, for my thoughts. Let’s move on to Sony, which to me did a better job for an E3 press conference, as E3 is -as the president of Sony stated- the Super Bowl of gaming, which is true, its about gaming, not so much the movie and entertainment needing a wedge in my gaming. Sony’s conference was more game heavy, which makes sense for an Expo dedicated to gaming. We got Quantic Dream’s next big epic, Beyond: Two Souls, featuring Ellen Page from X-men 3 and Juno. Quantic has delved into the supernatural before, especially with Indigo Prophecy, but this time, they’re doing so with high end graphics, a new story line and what lies beyond death. Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale – to be blunt, its basically Sony’s version of Super Smash Brothers. Which is fine, it looks extremely fun to me, since I enjoy Smash Brothers and Brawl. Assassin’s Creed 3 and the new Vita exclusive, AC3: Liberation. Which when combined, unlock new pouches, and Connor’s Tomahawk from the main game. As such, Sony released information about 2 new console bundles, one for PS3 and the other for Vita, both of which are Assassin’s Creed bundles. We also got to take a look at Farcry 3, which as they stated in the conference is basically 2 games in one, you get a rich storyline for single player, but also add-in a 4-player co-op, friends can team up and take on the missions with better comraderie.
Sony also unveiled their plans for cross-connection, which allows people to use their Playstation Vita as a controller with the added touch sensors and screen view to aid in the assisstance of more storyline and content in the upcoming DLC for Little Big Planet 2. They also talked more about cloud saving, which allows you to transfer saves from the Vita or PS3 to the other. We also got some new ground from Sony with Wonderbook, a new add-on for the PS3 which in conjunction with the Move, allows children to have an interactive story using the power of a book. With the added bonus of working with J.K. Rowling to create Book Of Spells, an interactive game, which allows players to learn spells from the popular Harry Potter series, along with creating their own path through Hogwarts. Pretty simple stuff, you sit infront of the tv, on the floor, like you used to as a kid. Open the book, grab either the Move wand, or dual shock 3 controller, and one player will create a map using the book, move the terrain to confuse the other player, just by moving the book around, and have the other player battle monsters and other creatures on the map onscreen. In terms of Book Of Spells, you use the move controller to cast spells, which divides your attention from both the screen and the book, to help with interactivity.
Sony had a good conference to me, while they did also talk about the usual statistics of how many consoles are online, they also threw in an added bonus to talk about the new library of free games for Plus subscribers, they gave a 1 year subscription card out to everyone in the E3 audience, and anyone from other regions could exchange their code for a code for their region. Now with all that in mind, of course we got more from Naughty Dog, one of Sony’s biggest alliances for years, with a gameplay demo of The Last Of Us. Since the success of the Uncharted series, everyone had been wondering what Naughty Dog had next, they came out with that. Although I kinda wish they might release plans of a new Crash game for the Ps3 or Vita, but that’s just me.
Now, the reason why Playstation Suite has a cross through, is because Sony has now renamed it to Playstation mobile. This is for Open-Source Operating systems, such as Android, to allow gamers to play on their phones, if not necessarilly a Sony hardware phone. Now Sony is working with HTC to improve the gaming experience in their chipsets to give Playstation certified devices. Which is fine, HTC is good, solid brand, although personally I prefer Samsung. Since Sony doesn’t expect everyone to pick up Vita yet, since its only been out for 4 months, they want to be able to have a gaming presence everywhere they go, and obviously compete with xbox on the mobile market. To me it was a great conference, although not necessarilly the best I’ve seen from an E3 conference.
Nintendo – Wii U and 3DS
Nintendo’s conference, at least what I saw of it, before I was pulled away by other matters, looked good. They talked about what the Wii U will be able to do, once their game library will be out. New Super Mario Brothers U, with 5 player capability, 4 wii mote players and 1 content creator using the tablet controller. The content creator allows for more items to aide the others in their path to help traverse the levels. Since giving the Wii chipset HD capabilities, Nintendo can now expand their game library to include high resolution games, like Mass Effect 3. Including a new Tekken Tag Tournament game, with mushroom add-ons to make players supersized, and to shrink others. They’ve expanded the console to include 2 tablet controllers to be more like the original Nintendo, however, in this day and age, wouldn’t it make more sense to have 4 player tablet compability? I can’t comment on too much for Nintendo, but from seeing G4’s latest Facebook poll, its not going well, but then again most of their fans are either Sony or Microsoft anyway.
They’re adding their new social networking into the console to help people connect with friends and other online gamers to expand their experience in the online community. They’ve got new plans for the Wii Fit U, and will run similar to the Wii Fit. As the new fitness games are proving to be something alot of people are into. I myself am curious to get a Kinect for my 360 to get Nike’s fitness trainer. I’d just have to make room for it so I’m not tripping over furniture. I enjoy Wii as a party system, something I can play at a friend’s place or have them come over to enjoy, I’ve played the single player gameplay, and its not always as fun.
I like the new direction of Nintendo, we got another Pikman game, with the added bonus of map control from the tablet. While I miss the old days of Nintendo, this new capability for them with HD, will definitely make them a player in the market again. They just need to make up ground to catch up in the HD market, while still retaining their cartoony quality with Mario and the others.
With that, I complete my thoughts on the Big 3 press conferences, for more thoughts on up coming games, check out my Twitter feed. The Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance review will be up by the end of the week. Keep gaming people!