Huh. So, yeah, e3 happened. And, probably more than any other previous year, there was a definite hype deficiency when it came to the the first parties, Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony. Admittedly, some were less disastrous in this respect in others, Nintendo taking home the gold on this one, unveiling of some seriously impressive WiiU software (I mean, seriously, we're actually getting Pikmin 3! PIK FRIK MIN 3! And as tech demo ish as ZombiU was, it showed some great potential for the Wii U as a console overall. Ooh, Ooh, and did you see The Last of Us trailer? Really cool stuff.
But yeah, there was definitely a lack of excitement for most of the supposedly biggest names in the industry. If anyone, Ubisoft, a third party developer, really stole the show with Watch Dogs, Assassin's Creed 3, and Rayman Legends. Very quickly, this year's E3 got it's biggest trending topics and hopeful thoughts from the software being shown off, not the hardware. And why should this be so significant?
Let me back up a bit.
Back in 1995, the first Electronic Entertainment Expo began with the only the biggest contenders showing off their newest stuff, with a particular emphasis on the newly devised Playstation and Sega Saturn. Along with that, the Ultra 64 (prototype name for the Nintendo 64) was also announced. E3 began as a hype fest for the new hardware that the big 3 publishers at the time wanted to show off, and for close to a decade after, that was the most common trend, with the N64 being unveiled in '96, the Dreamcast in '99, Playstation 2 in 2000, and so on.
The software, while given its own level of advertisement, was secondary to the first party publishers' newest devices, and while this is FINE when every company is trying to out hype the others' money maker, a definite reduction in excitement for hardware has emerged from this generation of video game consoles.
Multiple causes for this pessimism regarding new hardware can be pointed to, (consoles are too expensive, there is a chance of it breaking down, maybe a lack of supporting software), but, the conclusion, after years of seeing new hardware teased, hyped, and released, is this: New hardware sucks.
To the eveygamer, new hardware doesn't mean innovative new games that must be experienced or impressive changes from the previous iterations of the hardware. It means expensive hunks of plastic that most likely won't have nearly enough interesting games to be worth buying. This has led to the not untrue assumption that when a new console or new peripheral (Kinect, PS Move) is released, these and maybe even more issue won't make it worth our time and money.
Now, this is a feeling, not a fact. A widely accepted feeling, that the releases of the 3DS, PS Vita, Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii can arguably back up. But still, not a fact. However, after reading post after post about how much the Wii U will fail, a console that actually looks to be a rather impressive piece of tech in its own right, it's undeniable that, either from experience or a general consensus, consumers are sick of hardware.
I don't believe I can change people's opinions on whether the Wii U will be worth our, well, attention, nor do I really want to. Everyone will determine what the Wii U is by their own standards, so I look to Nintendo, and by extension Sony and Microsoft when I say this: please, please try harder to meet those standards.
Keep producing consoles, keep producing hardware, keep producing whatever, that's fine, it's what you do. But E3 2012 should be on a long list of indications that people are tired of seeing hardware without support, hearing possibilities of games instead of promises, and being shown the fabulous and amazing things the hardware COULD do, instead of plenty of games showing what the hardware will do.
Start devoting as much time as possible to marketing and producing new games, and plenty of them. Make games, consoles shall sell. Because at the end of the long, exhausting, expense ridden, online distributing, peripheral producing console cycle, consoles will be sold because of software, not hardware. Speaking as a consumer, the day that becomes the accepted ideology is a glorious day indeed.
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