E3 From A Distance

E3 this year has taken many by storm. When has a gaming conference had so many people talking about it?  The last two days have seen constant conversations about what Microsoft and Sony have been announcing.

What has been great to see is the two companies not appearing to rest on their laurels but continue to push their hardware in new directions.  This can only be good for the industry we love.  Yes there is an element of trying to step into the Wii’s territory but this is just Sony and Microsoft recognising that there is a market for the motion controllers in what ever guise they take.  What makes it interesting is the two different approaches.  Both look like they work well.  Both look like they could sell consoles.


Microsoft’s announcements have been intriguing.  The twitter and facebook compatibility with an Xbox Live account is a brilliant idea and one that seems like a natural progression.  How long it will be before the other Platforms embrace something similar?  Certainly the PSN could do with the same thing.   Visions of being able to tweet the result of a COD match as it finishes thus announcing the score to the world must be swimming before many gamers eyes.  Genius.

If Project Natal works as well as it seemed to at E3, it really will bring something new to the genre.  The trouble is many gamers still like to have a controller in their hands, particularly since the vibrating controller gave us force feed back on Gran Turismo.  That’s actually pretty immersive stuff, but still, many gamers will want to sample for  themselves the  ability to sit on their couch pressing their feet into thin air to break and accelerate on Burnout.  The base drum on Guitar Hero will certainly become easier to operate.  What’s more exciting about Natal though is how it will open up new ways to play.

As a result Sony had some work to do last night to get close to Microsoft’s presentation.  Did they pull it off?  Well yes, kind of.  The whole world seemed to be waiting for them to fall flat on their faces but they put together a pretty good Keynote.  And there were big announcements.  The new PSP is not one of them.

Their new motion controllers looked like enormous fun, cleverly working with the Eyetoy.  The demo looked stunning and seeing yourself on screen holding a tennis racket/sword/gun, will thrill many gamers.  They looked a bit weird though, these were only prototypes, hopefully the development teams at Sony will make them look significantly cooler before we see them on the store shelves.

All the Final Fantasy news has also got many a gamer talking and Final Fantasy XIV online and on the PS3 is genuinely a mouth watering prospect.  Rockstar’s Agent was announced but little divulged, but this could be potentially huge exclusive for Sony.

So both big players pushing forward with some mouth watering games and tech.

And Nintendo announced some Mario games.  Duh.

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