E3 rages on. Or maybe it just kind of meanders. For me, E3 hasn't held the same punch in the wired age. These days you get constant updates and streaming video from developers year round about various stages of production and what titles you should be looking for in the coming months. Other than proper hardware unveiling to confirm the media leaks of the past few days, much of E3 is established well before the event itself.
I've watched the updates this year, but nothing on the software end has really blown me away. Mass Effect 3 and Uncharted 3 look amazing, but I'd expect as much from the likes of Bioware and Naughty Dog. Other titles have me worried about over saturation. I get that feeling from Assassin's Creed these days. Ubisoft seems to have such a speedy turn around, and while so far they've improved with each iteration I've played thus far, I can't help but worry with each new title that my interest is going to wane faster than the story does. The new title already has Desmond in the animus reliving Ezio using artifacts to relive Altair? Where is my Inception “We need to go deeper” meme when I need it? They should take note of what happens to game series that become annual staples and act accordingly. I need only mention the fate of the Tony Hawk series and Guitar Hero. But aside from titles I was specifically looking for new information on, the games this year just don't hold my attention. What has me thinking tonight is the hardware, the PS Vita and the Wii U.
I was pleased to see that the PS Vita is arriving at a very reasonable price point. I wonder if Sony stockholders are considering it to be too reasonable, as it hasn't been revealed just how much the company will be losing on each unit upon launch. I'd imagine it's probably the highest margin that the company has seen. The 3G version of the Vita doesn't interest me much, as WiFi is prevalent in most places now, but the option is welcome for some I assume.
Unlike the PSP launch, the Vita appears to have an intensive and impressive line of launch or near launch titles. I was a PSP early adopter, and I can remember going for months where I only had one game and a couple of UMD movies to show for my investment. Things look far more promising with titles like Uncharted, Street Fighter, and Hot Shots Golf standing out as highlight titles. Between the price point and the solid line up, if Sony doesn't trip over themselves I think they have a clear winner.
The Wii U is both amazing and puzzling. While it announces the Big N's return to the core market with competitive HD graphics, the design of the controller with the tablet sized screen both has my mouth agape and my mind racing with questions... and not all those questions are ones Nintendo wants their general consumer to be asking. The first thing that crossed my mind when the new hardware was officially announced was mild internal laughter at the name. There are board rooms of people who come up with this stuff, who get paid exponentially more than most of us... and this was the best they could do? The Wii U? With any luck we'll all collectively shorten it to the U. Or at the very least, the Nintendo U.
The second thought was that if this tablet is the controller, how expensive is this thing going to be? How much will a simple second controller run me? If it's graphically powerful enough to run a game, or at the very least stream it off a running console, it can't be cost effective. The other glaring tidbit I noticed was that Nintendo had very little by the way of software to show off on this thing. A couple of tech demos and third party ports. Granted, the third party ports were anticipated titles the likes of Batman: Arkham City and to a lesser extent, Darksiders 2. They had Kevin Levine in their promo happily talking about the possibilities of the console which leads hope to big name third parties taking the console seriously. These are all great things for Nintendo to be doing if they want the core gamer to take them back, but I still feel like this was a bit of a missed opportunity. Had Reggie announced a game like Skyrim or Bioshock Infinite being available on the U I think it would have made a much bigger splash than it did. Right now all I can digest is talk, more announcements will ease my doubts.
For years E3 has been a mixed bag, between the gaming companies nearly ignoring their core base in their attempt to win over the worlds soccer moms, and this year the showing off of the new shiny touch screen hotness and beating into our skulls how they want to integrate gaming into daily lifestyles. But if the whole point of E3 is to get the fans to take notice, Sony and Nintendo have my attention. Mission accomplished?