I'm sure this has been done a million time in the past few days. Hell even Penny Arcade has managed to sum it up in a cartoon already:
For the most part I agree wholeheartedly with their assessment.
I'm not sure anyone really "won" this year. I'm wondering if perhaps a lot of the luster is gone from the last few years. Before we were all pumped up for the launches and then all of the new games for the second year (3rd for 360). Thing is, most of those games are out, and we know now how good (or bad) those games were. Seems to me that Sony and MS are scrambling to keep up, whereas Nintendo seems to know exactly where it is going. So, I watched all of the press events and here are my impressions. Feel free to tell me I'm wrong or right.
Image Credit: SF Gate.com
As I mentioned, the 360 is in it's 3rd year. They've had a lot of exclusives that have been great games, but they seem to have run out at this point, with the exception of Gears 2, Fable 2, and some DLC for Fallout 3 and GTAIV. Pretty much everything else is on both platforms. That being said, despite the "power difference" of 360 vs. PS3, the 360 versions look every bit as good as their PS3 counterparts. The difference being XBL.
MS had a very well rounded demonstration. I say that because the beginning of the conference dealt with the "hardcore" audience. We saw demos of some really cool shit, especially Gears 2 and Fallout 3. Then came the video download stuff. More movies for rent with the addition of NBC/Universal and others, and perhaps more importantly is the collaboration with Netflix.
Then came the other stuff... They put the Wii on my 360... It's not all bad though, just mostly. First we get a new dashboard... What was wrong with the old one? What about people who downloaded themes? Will the old themes be imported or is that money lost forever? Then Mii's... I mean Avatars. They look in between Mii's and Home's avatars. They mention new clothing and what not, which I fully expect them to sell to us (.:rollseyes:.). Some of the interaction is neat though. Not that I'd show you all my vacation photos, but I could. The chat and interactions could be useful for big parties of Dtoiders though. The whole avatar thing just seemed gimmicky and a classless ripoff of Mii's. Not that Mii's are the first 3D avatars there were many 3D PC chat programs before it. The Scene It game, Movie game, and online interactive game shows look like they could actually be fun though, so I'm holding out judgement on them.
Then we get FFXIII on the 360. I could care less. I'm not a big RPG guy anyway. Although, I understand that this is a big deal to a lot of you. Just not me.
Overall, aside from the avatar and Dashboard redesign, MS gave some pretty good stuff.
Image Credit: SF Gate.com
I'm by far the most disappointed with this presentation. Iwata mentioned during his speech that people expected the Wii to fail and it's done the opposite. I wouldn't say that we expected it to fail, but rather we expected it to fail us. That is, those of us who actually grew up playing games and still do. It had done just that. BUT, what it has done is bring videogames to a new, much larger audience than ever before. The Wii and DS are absolutely insane money makers for Nintendo.
On to the presentation...
They bring out a Soccer mom to tell us her life story and how she hurt herself by going outside and exercising... Aren't we supposed to go outside now and then? I guess not. Then we get to see 1080 Snowboarding with a Wiifit Balance board interface. Not a bad idea actually, except Soccer mom is doing impossible moves without having played it before... They seem to set the bar so low so as not to disappoint anyone or discourage anyone from playing. That is, with the exception of people like us who played 1080 snowboarding so much that they got the silver and gold and crystal guy to race with. You know, people who play games with at least some challenge to them.
Then we get to see a new Wii sports with the MotionPlus attachment. First off, why not update the old one with the ability to move yourself during tennis, or make the putting more accurate (and fun)? Instead we get frisbee, WaveRace, and sword fighting with pencil sharpening? Then we get to see Miyamoto come out and show us Wiimusic. Horrible. Absolutely horrid. It looks like fun for about a week, if that.
The whole time I'm thinking that they're going to pull something out of their ass like MS did with FFXIII, but they didn't. There was no Pikmin, Kid Icarus, Mario, Zelda, Kirby... anything. A new Animal Crossing with some interactive bits to it though. This was a positive thing. The microphone was a good addition as was the online interaction bits. Their online system is still broken though. Wii friend codes suck Nintendo. Get with the times and allow usernames already.
If you can't tell, I was disappointed severely by Nintendo's presentation. Aside from Animal Crossing, I saw nothing that would make me want to turn on my Wii for months more.
Image Credit: Wired
I think over the last year Sony has realized that they were getting their ass kicked by the competition. I think they predicted that a lot of people would defect from the 360 to the PS3 and that didn't happen. MS did a very good job this generation, with the exception of the hardware problems, and Sony is paying for their previous cockiness. That being said, they went almost toe to toe with MS. To counter Gears 2 we saw Resistance 2, which looked really good, though not nearly as complete as Gears 2. Little Big Planet looked really good too, and the use of it for the business part of the presentation was refreshing and fun simultaneously. To keep up with the interactive group entertainment of the Wii and 360 we saw Singstar and Guitar Hero announcements as well as a new Family Friendly packaging of both the PS2 and PSP. Good move by Sony on both parts IMO.
The PSN games and new PSP games had me excited. Fat Princess looked hilarious and fun, and the early reviews indicate that it is. A PSN downloadable Rachet and Clank that looks as good as last years game (likely same engine), but at a 15$ price point. Nice. Gran Turismo TV is something that will interest a few people that are not me, but what it shows is that the PS3 can deliver VOD-type stuff pretty well. Which brings me to the announcement of the Movie store. The prices were in line with the 360 store and the quality likely the same. Similar to the iTunes store though, you could actually buy movies as well as rent them. On top of that, you can download those to your PSP to watch while on the run. Very cool IMO. Leveraging the PSP against MS is a good idea. A very good idea.
Then towards the end we saw the start of a trend that is likely to come to home consoles (or at least the PS3 and 360). That is MMORPGs or MMOs in general. DC Universe is not my thing, but I can see how a lot of people would.
MAG then came up. 256 players in one battlefield. Very cool, but could it have looked any more plain? They should just slap Warhawk 2 on the front and go with it. MAG needs an identity. Any Identity and if it works, it'll be a very cool game.
Overall, Sony's presentation was pretty well rounded and they showed a lot of stuff that I was impressed with. Some of the features with the PSP were really good and the games look pretty damn good.
Totally overall, I think the best presentation was probably MSs. It had everything from new footage of "hardcore" games to new footage of "family/Wii" like features and games. Nintendo just let me down every moment they were talking. Sony, was humble, which was refreshing, and they showed a lot of stuff. Good stuff, but it just wasn't as complete or full as what MS gave us.