[E3 community blogging contest winner: atheistium talks about the new Xbox 360 Dashboard and new focus on casual games from all three major companies.]
Now that most of the 'important' E3 stuff is out of the way, I can look back at what really excited and impressed me about E3. Let me see, apart from a mini clip of Lara Croft swimming around (rather than the promised trailer you bastards), I can say that E3 was one big epic fail.
While a lot of the games looked fantastic, I already knew about them from my previous research into the titles so my main focus was on the consoles. Xbox has a new dashboard that has upset a large number of it's fan base, including myself. Nintendo thought that telling us that they are printing money and a bunch of shitty games would be worth our time (err, no). Sony decided to finally catch up on console features competitors already had as well as have no come back for the Final Fantasy XIII announcement.
While movies on demand and casual gaming is all well and good, did you feel something was missing from E3? I think the main worry is that companies are so desperate to hit on that "casual" market they are forgetting about their main demographic: the gamers.
While casual gamers don't mind hitting out up to £200 (about $400) on a casual party console or handheld, they don't want a power hungry entertainment machine. Which is why Microsoft and Sony should stop this stupid charade of "casual entertainment" and do what sells and what we want.
I do agree there is a huge market for casual games. I've seen some of the shittiest Wii titles sell like hotcakes (that crappy beach game for one sold well and even had a good list of pre-orders) and every gimmicky plastic attachment dive into the bags of families and drunken students. The thing is though, these are not the people lining up at midnight in the rain waiting to spend £500 on the next biggest thing. These are not the people who get up early to head to the store before it opens to make sure they bag themselves of copy of that latest game.
The people that Microsoft so obviously are trying to draw in are not the people who will pay for Xbox Live. Nor buy Microsoft points to change the clothes on their avatar that they create. Neither will they bother connecting the console to the Internet to use that shitty Primetime service Microsoft feels the need to have on the Dashboard. They should be pushing to the core audience, the people who will put money into their console.
When I think of competitive gaming, I think of the PC first and then Xbox 360. Can you imagine at events people switching to their "friends" list to see a bunch of Avatars by ice cream huts? It's stupid, overly cutesy and completely removing their original sale demographic.
What is even more frustrating is that I've spent money on Gamerpics and themes for my dashboard. Will I get that refunded? I doubt it. I've been told that you can keep the old Dashboard and then I'm being told it's a total replacement and you will have to update your console as soon as you go online. I don't know what to think until I see it written officially. As pretty as some aspects of the Dashboard are, it's pretty much turning into a more powerful Wii.
I think the Sony actually have more of a casual demographic than Microsoft do, seeing that a good chunk of their customer base brought the console solely for the Blu-ray. It seems that Sony is the only console really sticking together for the gamers and just offering a few on demand services to catch up competitors. Though they really need to redesign their attempt of a Gamercard.
With all this casual gaming, I feel that as a gamer I am being ignored. I don't want Avatars, I would of bought a Wii if I wanted that. I don't want Primetime either. I don't want WiiMusic. I don't want gimmicks. I just want kick ass games, and fun games!
I think I am over reacting but if this E3 was bad, imagine the next. I am all for new gamers, but I don't want it to stop companies from producing quality products and games for the sake of quick sales and family 'fun'.