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LONG BLOG

E3 Prediction Results & Reactions

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E3 COVERAGE #2

In my previous post, I made predictions about how we'd all be feeling once the three main conferences were out of the way. Now comes the always-embarrassing time of finding out how many of my twenty key predictions came true, how many were dismally off-the-ball, plus my personal reaction to the three conferences and the games that have cropped up from the show so far.



PREDICTION RESULTS ROUND 1: MICROSOFT

Kinect front and centre: There was some speculation that Microsoft would use their Cirque de Soleil show the night before to show what Kinect could do, then focus predominantly on appeasing traditional gamers during its conference. Although I'm pleased to say my prediction that this wouldn't be the case was spot on, I didn't expect the extent to which Microsoft dedicated virtually their entire presentation to Kinect. +1

All traditional 360 games to focus on the mainstays: sequels, guns, gore: Not much was offered and certainly nothing new, but what was there proved to be every bit as violent and sequelised as could be expected. +1

Rare offer up a big online title proving Kinect's worth to the traditional gamer: My first big miss, I thought Rare would be working on what Nintendo call a 'bridge title', something that both newcomers and traditional gamers can enjoy together across Kinect, connected via Xbox Live. Well Kinect Sports is certainly a big title and apparently the volleyball game can go online – but it wasn't exactly what I was thinking of. Nintendo must be laughing all the way to the bank. Nul points.

EA Sports have Madden and/or FIFA compatible with Kinect: I'm amazed this one didn't come true. I can think of countless ways a football game could be done with Kinect while EA seem to support everything under the sun, but apparently Microsoft were happy enough with fitness titles and making pointed references to Just Dance (bet they had Nintendo fans sobbing over that one). Own goal (but for me, or for Microsoft?).

Skateboarding game: I also thought this would be a certainty given that last year's Natal video made a point of how a skateboarding game could work with the tech. Turns out 360 gamers are getting Sonic Riders instead, arm-flailing fun included. Ouch. Crashed out on this one.

Negative reaction to conference from gamers: My big misjudgment in predicting Microsoft's conference was in the extent to which they'd ignore the people they'd spent the past five years courting. I predicted that 360 fans' vitriol towards the Wii would translate to Kinect (or Natal... remember those days?) but where I'd imagined it would be simmering disenchantment, Microsoft quite rightly reaped the full fury of the internets for almost totally passing over their established fanbase in favour of pursuing Nintendo's family dollar. +1

ROUND 1 SCORE: 3/6. I watched the Microsoft conference and almost died. Admittedly this was from leaning back too far on my chair and knocking my head against the wall (and the whole 'almost died' thing might be a slight exaggeration), but I get the feeling many 360 gamers had similar feelings while watching. Although I guessed that Microsoft would sacrifice a bit of goodwill from their usual 'guns and sports' fanbase to go after a new market, I didn't expect them to be quite so overt in their disregard for all those who had given the 360 its success. As if focusing almost the entire show on Kinect Wii-knockoffs wasn't bad enough, offering traditional gamers only very short glimpses of games they'd already seen seemed to me more insulting lip-service than respectful gesture. While I am a supporter of well-made 'casual' games (if we have to call them that), that nothing on Kinect seemed to do anything the Wii hadn't already covered while to flipping two fingers at the systems' fanbase, made Microsoft thoroughly deserving of the anger their presentation has provoked.



PREDICTION RESULTS ROUND 2: SONY

Sony to mix up casual Move titles with more traditional genres: A safe bet considering the Move's similarities to the Wii remote. Sony's fondness for the eccentric didn't shine through quite as brightly as predicted, but they showed the eagerness Microsoft didn't for their current fans to embrace the new tech as much as newcomers, offering up several big names (Resident Evil, Killzone, Heavy Rain, Twisted Metal) to offset any potential irritation. +1

A Move FPS on show: Okay, Killzone 3 isn't new but as far as I'm aware, this was the first time they announced it would definitely be Move-compatible at launch in February 2011. A missed opportunity that Portal 2 (which I had read wouldn't be at the show) isn't going to use the technology though. Still, I'm giving myself this one (as the priest said to the choir boy). +1

New PSP: Maybe they were mindful of keeping all eyes on Move, but I'm a little surprised Sony didn't do anything to challenge the reveal of the 3DS. Maybe they're waiting for TGS, but handheld gaming in general seemed far from Sony's minds. No handout here.

Metal Gear, Last Guardian and 'user-generated content' game as big traditional titles: My game predictions this year were way off: Metal Gear popped up for Microsoft (with a gameplay mechanic nabbed from Afro Samurai no less) and Nintendo but not Sony, while Last Guardian was a surprising no-show. Off my game.

Sony fans satisfied with show, convert to the merits of pointer-based FPS aiming: I think both of these are generally true. I visited a few Sony message boards and reaction seems to be that they had a solid show, which is a success as it shows they managed to convince their core fanbase that Move's casual and traditional games could co-habit peacefully. There was less said about Killzone 3's motion-controlled aiming specifically, but plenty of people seemed interested in trying in out where previously such places would have been frothing at the prospect of relinquishing their beloved twin analogues. As the internet would say, Xandaca FTW here. +1

ROUND 2 SCORE: 3/5 Sony did what they needed to do: they were calm, collected and showed what the Move could offer while reminding long-time fans that there was still a place for them aboard the good ship PS3. Other than the absence of Team Ico's Last Guardian and a new PSP, there were few surprises but I think Sony fans will have been quietly content with what was on show, maybe even a little relieved. It was definitely the most predictable of the three conferences, but in its low-key way perhaps also the most well-balanced.



PREDICTION RESULTS ROUND 3: NINTENDO

Zelda's changes will be streamlined and cosmetic, rather than full blown reinvention: This was unfortunately predictable given Nintendo's staunch refusal to stray from the series formula in the past. What was on offer was little more than a tech demo, offering nothing on story or structure and only a glitchy demonstration of how Motion Plus is expected to take the combat onto another level. The game looks like fun for sure, but it's a little disheartening that I'm coming away from a home console Zelda reveal with no other feeling than 'been there, done that' thanks to Red Steel 2. +1

Zelda to meet its Christmas release date: This was a risk given Nintendo's history of delays in the series, but I expected them to focus 2011 on announcing and releasing the Wii's successor, which given the wave of Wii games announced at the show now looks fairly unlikely – thus allowing Zelda time for its customary slip. Both Zelda and I missed our marks this time.

Zelda, Metroid and Pikmin to be last big first-party Wii games: In my defence, I don't anyone could have genuinely believed that Kirby Wii would ever come true, or that Retro would pop up with Donkey Kong Country before IGN ruined the surprise. Zelda and Metroid were obvious presences, but Nintendo comprehensively showed that they weren't done with the Wii yet, blowing me out of the water. Pikmin got little more than a second confirmation of its existence. Prediction not wii-alised (see what I did there?)

'Casual' games presented early, rest of the show dedicated to traditional games: Nintendo nailed this one – given the strong summer the Wii has had, I expected the focus of the conference to be on bringing back the old-school players and giving them a clear run of announcements once the casual stuff was out of the way. This turned out to be far more Wii-focused than I was expecting, but I think it's fair to say I judged Nintendo's mood to a tee. +1

3DS to be roughly as visually impressive as a GameCube: Hells yeah! Going out on a limb with this one given IGN had claimed 'reliable sources' were saying the 3DS was going to be rocking 360-esque visuals, but that didn't seem to fit with either Nintendo's design philosophy, or seem likely that they'd so obviously undermine the Wii when it still had at least another year to run. Besides, why waste such advanced tech on a small screen and how would it all fit in a handheld device anyway? I'm calling this one as my big success of the night. +1

No Retro Studios game: Erm, oops. I expected Nintendo to reveal two or three Wii titles at most with Zelda as clear headline-maker, then focus on the 3DS for the remainder of the presentation. The Wii's successor seems less likely to appear next year now and consequently there was never much chance of Retro holding back. I was off like Kiddy Kong.

Wii Party and Vitality Sensor game the main casual games: Half-right, although these were considered safe bets so no score for me here. Wii Party's appearance was almost guaranteed, while the missing Vitality Sensor game appeared to be a well-played tactical withdrawl from Nintendo. Are they finally getting the hang of this E3 business? Because I'm not.

Animal Crossing, Wind Waker or Mario Kart to be lead 3DS games: Okay, I didn't get Kid Icarus but given as how these three predictions were total shots in the dark and entries in the Animal Crossing, Mario Kart and Zelda series were revealed for 3DS, I think I deserve some slack here for getting in the ballpark, if not exactly spot on. I still think Wind Waker would show off 3D better than Ocarina though. A slightly generous +1

Big new game from SEGA: This may possibly come true later this week, but nothing was seen at the conferences. Conduit 2 is on the show floor, but hardly new. I thought a second House of the Dead could happen or at a stretch MadWorld, given how both those games ended up shifting quite high numbers once discounted to more reasonable rates for five-hour games. Funny that the least-loved and lowest selling of the 'SEGA Big Three' (The Conduit at just over 400k) ends up being the one getting the second entry though. SE-Gah! (Sorry)

ROUND 3 RESULT: 4/9. I don't think anyone could have expected Nintendo to go as games galore as they did. This was practically a ninety-minute sex act on lost Nintendo fans, shamelessly plundering the company's long history with no end of series revivals and remakes. While the Zelda presentation got the show off to the worst possible start, the confidence with which they ploughed on verged on sliding into the kind of bombast Microsoft have been known for in previous years. The 3DS has a staggering line-up and while the audience laughed at the appearance of Saint's Row, it's to Nintendo's credit that they've managed to get a big game for launch that many people would never have expected to see in a million years. While excitement was understandably huge in the aftermath, I think with time the almost total-reliance on nostalgia will wear the shine a little thin. Virtually nothing was shown on Zelda other than an art style and Motion-Plus combat, where a reinvention of the franchise was what many people were really hoping for. Donkey Kong Country Returns was a crowd-pleaser, but visually bland and with no signs of anything gameplay-wise that hadn't been done on the SNES. This was exactly what Nintendo needed, but on an objective level was disappointingly lacking in any genuinely new or innovative software.

FINAL SCORE: 10/20
Flat average hit-rate on my predictions, which isn't anywhere near as bad as I was expecting: in fact, I'd say Pachter had better watch his back. Funny that my lowest score came for the Nintendo conference, which should have been my speciality but was derailed by my belief that the Wii would be seeing its last show, with Zelda as final hurrah – how long are they planning on staying out of the HD game for, then? Sony played it safe and to their strengths, giving me an above-average score for their conference, while I got Microsoft's tone right but not the extent to which they'd be willing to trample over core support for a shot at casual cash-ins. While Sony deserve credit for a presentation that was low-key but focused and well-delivered, for sheer gusto I think Nintendo will leave Los Angeles as the perceived victors. Someone's going to be a happy boy...



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About Xander Markhamone of us since 3:08 PM on 02.07.2010

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I'm a 26-year old English writer, formerly known on the CBlogs as Xandaça. I've been an avid gamer since I was a wee lad, gripping a NES controller in my hands and comprehensively failing to get past those infuriating Hammer Bros on Level 8-3 of Super Mario Bros. I've stuck with Nintendo since then (not for any animosity towards the other console makers of course - Nintendo just make games I enjoy and have grown up with), apart from a brief sojourn with a Sony PlayStation, several woeful attempts to play Half-Life 2 using a laptop touchpad and sporadically wrangling a turn on my sister's beloved Sega Saturn.

In addition to burping out the occasional novel, I'm a passionate critic, writing reviews and articles of films, book and games for my school magazine and university newspaper, for which I created and edited its film section. In addition to starting up my own blog, covering television, games and movies, I am also a writer for Destructoid's cine-geek sister Flixist. While primarily a film geek, the evolution of the games industry over the course of its short lifetime has fascinated me and provided vast quantities of content for some incendiary pieces of work - perhaps a few more might spring up on here?

My Favourite Games of All Time (because who doesn't love having a few Of All Time lists?) are GoldenEye 007 (which I still play through at least once a year to remind me of its glories), Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, Gunstar Heroes, Super Mario Bros 3 (I don't know who told Shigsy Miyamoto-san that raccoons could fly, but I'll love them forever) and No More Heroes.

I hope you find great enjoyment in my many scribings, and please keep an eye out for upcoming news on my novel(s) and do pay a visit to my blog sometime. And yes, the Dtoid community's 'no copy and paste' rule will be fully respected!

Good gaming, everyone!