E3 2007: So, who “won” the E3 press conferences?

This is the question I’ve been seeing all over forums and throughout my Bloglines account. I’ve seen fanboys scream one way or another. After a while, the mindless screaming can be irritating, but it’s always a fun debate.

So, between Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo, who do you think won? Well, thanks to the community blogs, we can tell what you’re thinking! Just to start off, imbeta’s blog had quite a few of us on the staff laughing, so I figured y’all might want to see it too.

Alright, let’s get down to business, since this is the Internet and all.

Let’s start with Microsoft’s E3 press conference. From what we saw, Microsoft really didn’t bring much to the table. Sure, we saw footage of what the Halo movie would be like if it existed, along with some impressive stats on the 360. We also got to see Peter Moore play guitar, as well as a Halo edition of the 360.

There were rumors abounding of Microsoft announcing a price drop for the 360, though, and that’s one of the things that would have been a kick in the nuts to Sony’s big announcement. That didn’t happen, although I personally didn’t expect it. As it is, the improved processors aren’t even rolling off production lines yet, and it’d be a bit premature to announce it now. It’ll most likely happen at X07, or sometime in between.

Microsoft definitely doesn’t come out on top, by the simple fact that they had nothing to gain. Like their stats said, they had a huge install base over the PS3, their closest competition, technologically. The Wii is their competition in the casual games market, which they’ve had some steady increases in, but really couldn’t make any ground-breaking announcements over.

Oh, a friend of mine sent me this comment from Kotaku’s debate about the same thing:

Microsoft didn’t really have any new announcements. You know, except for the one about all the games they showcased (minus one) being released this year. Sony showed the games, but would anyone like to count how many times ‘blu-ray’ or ‘cell processor’ was said? Don’t kid yourselves – they’re still trying to sell the hardware. Jump back to the Haze video, I’m still trying to figure out what the game is actually about. Seriously, Microsoft put on the best show. Entertaining and fun. Wii Fit was just a total joke. No thx, non-games.

Wow. Let’s just move on.

Next, there’s Nintendo. What we’ve heard from them is as follows: we’ve got EA Sports games online, Resident Evil 5 and Medal of Honor on the Wii, a new Wii channel, and Wii Fit. The thing is, the press conference had me going everywhere from jumping for joy (Destructoid appearing on-screen) to yelling at the computer (Wii Fit).

Let’s go with the good first. I’m glad to see that things like Resident Evil 5 and Medal of Honor are proudly being displayed by Nintendo — it certainly does work towards keeping that kiddy image away, especially when you don’t wait until the end of the system’s life to introduce the games. Oh, and the fact that they didn’t announce a price drop, either, made me rather happy. Now I don’t need to carry Alex around on my back for a week.

What disappointed me, though, was that there’s still a lack of third-party support. We’re still getting the same things over and over. The cancellation of Project H.A.M.M.E.R. was crushing for me, because I really wanted to see Nintendo bring out a new IP. Third-party exclusives for the Wii that aren’t just mini-games (sorry, Rayman), is something that the console desparately needs. We need some RPGs or other long games (not just long-winded ones).

So, what does Nintendo pursue even harder? The casual market. I can understand this — they’ve managed to break through into it, and are the definitive spearhead for it. Microsoft is a more distant second, getting mention in the Wall Street Journal and other tech-heavy mainstream publications. Nintendo needs to keep up its steam and sell as much software as possible, so that casual buyers will feel like they’ve made a good investment in buying their Wii.

The thing that pissed me off about Wii Fit wasn’t so much the fact that it was announced (I’ll probably get it just to try it out), but more so how Nintendo announced it. They teased us with a “big announcement,” to which all of those present thought it would be something for the hardcore gamers. Yet Nintendo went ahead and announced something for the casual market, unable to pander to the crowd that was sitting right in front of them. It’s just about choosing when to say things, Nintendo.

I think that right after their conference, I was really pissed. bethecoffeebean, in his community blog, summed up my feelings the best at that point:

Really I’m gonna be honest and just say that most of the presentation was Nintendo patting itself on the back and showing how theyr’e gonna widen their scope even more dragging in even more casual gamers, while apparently alienating Hardcore Gamers who bought their console to play videogames, and not get in shape or lower their brain age.

Finally, there’s Sony. I’ve had a bit of a soft spot for them in my heart all my life, so take my praise of them with a grain of salt, I guess. Coming into E3, Sony was really down. Ron said so himself that he was worried Sony had gone too far down the road and might not make it out of all this unscathed.

Well, the good news started with the leaked $100 price drop announcement. From there, Sony was lucky to keep its closeness to the Elite’s price point, for reasons that I mentioned before. Now, at the conference, they’ve given a reason for us who have been on the fence about the PSP a reason to buy it — the announcement of the PSP redesign and all its goodies. If Sony can manage to meet its slightly outlandish claim of 11 million units sold for the PS3 this year, along with selling a ton of the new PSPs right around Christmas time (it’ll be on my list), then they’ll be well on their way to recouping all those R&D losses.

Sony showed us everything that we wanted to see, mainly because they know how to run the show right. We got the Metal Gear Solid 4 and Killzone 2 trailers, which excited all of us who are hardcore action players, along with Folklore, which interested most of the RPG players. Finally, we’ve got the announcements of all the additional titles coming to Sony, including their 15 first-party games, and a bunch of exclusives, which they’ve been in desperate need of.

The only thing that I can knock them for is the fact that there’s still nothing coming out for the PS3 right now that is worthwhile. I mean, let’s say I get a PS3 at the end of the month. So, I’ll pick up Resistance: Fall of Man and Virtua Fighter 5. Now what? Well, I sit around and watch Talladega Nights until the fall, it seems. That, or play me some Warhawk beta. We need Home to be released ASAP, Sony.

So, am I just blowing smoke out my ass, or is this a fair assessment of things?

8BitBrian