Although it’s not advertised as such, make no mistake about it: E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, is very much a competition. The videogame industry is growing increasingly competitive, especially when consoles offer such similar experiences. The three current contenders – Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft – bring out the biggest guns they have for this annual convention and gaming sites across the web are obsessive in their coverage. Before the affair is over, people are already praising one company and criticizing another, trying to decide on a clear “winner” of the show.
With E3 now wound down, let’s take a look at what each company highlighted and, if possible, crown one of them champion.
Next up was Sony. While a good portion Sony’s keynote discussed their upcoming adventures in the 3rd dimension, something I personally couldn’t care less about, they did unveil the Vita, which seems to be a pretty solid piece of hardware. And at $249.99 (for the wi-fi version), it’s a lot more affordable than everyone anticipated. Throw in some talk of PlayStation suite and an incredibly solid showing of Uncharted 3, and Sony didn’t do too bad – especially considering we’re fresh off the intrusion debacle. I don’t know if gamers are willing to forgive and forget just yet, but Sony put on a good show.
And then there’s the big “N” and the announcement of the atrociously named Wii U. I’ll be honest, when Reggie announced the name of the new console, I was ready to write off Nintendo as dead to me. Then logic prevailed as I realized that the name is a powerful selling tool and that to drop it would be a bad business move. As far as what I think of the system itself, I’m still not sure what to think, which seems to be the general consensus. The hardware is undoubtedly impressive, but how it’s going to fare as a gaming machine remains to be seen. It’s still too early to speculate. There’s potential there, but the Wii had potential, too, and was largely squandered a a gimmick. The rest of the briefing was dedicated to the 3DS, where they unveiled a few exciting titles, namely the new Super Mario Bros.
Last year’s E3 belonged to Nintendo by a pretty wide margin. This year is a much closer race between Sony and Nintendo, possibly too close to declare a clear victor. Nothing at the show really blew anyone away, but Sony’s briefing was probably the most solid. At the same time, whether it’s positive or negative, the Wii U is what everybody seems to be talking about, so Nintendo deserves due credit for creating big buzz.
And the E3 2011 winner is: Not Microsoft.