E3 2011 Press Conference Report Cards

June 8, 2011

Editorials, News

As you gamers are all aware, E3’s press conferences are now over and the debate between which company had the best conference is at hand.  Well, here’s a recap on each of the three big conferences and our opinions on them.

Microsoft:

Let’s start with Microsoft’s conference.  The conference started off with Modern Warfare 3’s gameplay footage but that was their “intro.”  There was no cool montage of games the system had and felt like they rushed right into the conference.  After the intense Modern Warfare 3 gameplay footage, we were introduced to the new Tomb Raider reboot, which looked excellent to say in the least.  The Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Edition was shown off, as expected and seemed to please the fans a great deal.  Gears of War 3 was also shown off, which looked great with it’s epic (no pun intended seeing as the developer is Epic Games) boss battle that was displayed.  BioWare took the stage by showing off their Kinect integration with Mass Effect 3, which was by far the best thing shown at this conference.  It really added a great deal of immersion to the experience and seemed like a great fit for utilizing the Kinect.  They then announced that the big PC hit, Minecraft, will be hitting the Xbox 360 exclusively with Kinect support.  However, it was from here where things really went downhill.  It’s clear Microsoft wants to focus on the Kinect but the performances that people were displaying on stage for the Kinect titles were laughably bad at best.  For a majority of the conference, Kinect was the only thing being shown off.  They showed Kinect Disneyland Adventures, Kinect Star Wars, Fable: The Journey, Crytek’s Ryse, Ghost Recon Future Soldier, Kinect Fun Labs, Dance Central 2, Kinect Sports: Season Two and Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster.  Throughout our “live blog,” one of our viewers even commented saying “I’m getting Kinect bored…”  Kinect Disneyland Adventures seemed like it could’ve been something decent but ultimately looks like the Universal Studios game that was released as a launch title for the Nintendo Gamecube (which received poor reviews).  Kinect Star Wars looked kind of cool at first, but boiled down to monotonous gameplay that even the kid demonstrating it looked bored out of his mind.  It would’ve been more entertaining to see if they got the “Star Wars Kid” to test it out in front of the crowd.  Fable: The Journey is a rail-shooter/adventure and while the tech looked pretty cool for it, it was a huge disappointment for Fable fans seeing that it lost it’s “adventure” feel.  Crytek’s Ryse seemed interesting and was definitely one of the more impressive looking Kinect titles shown off but not enough gameplay was shown of it.  Ghost Recon Future Soldier had a very interesting use for the Kinect however.  You could seperate your gun into pieces by just expanding your hands, which then lead you into changing your gun loadout and you would close your hands together for the gun to piece back together.  However, they then demonstrated how the shooting mechanics would work with Kinect and even the demonstrator seemed to be having a slightly difficult time with it.  Kinect Fun Labs had some interesting mechanics that showed object scanning and finger tracking, but it’s nothing more than tech demos for the Kinect…tech demos for a device that’s been shown at E3 for three years is not as attractive anymore, people want to see “real” games for it.  The sequel to the big Kinect hit, Dance Central was shown off as well, but it offered barely anything new from the previous title other than a true multiplayer mode now.  Lastly, Sesame Street for the Kinect…by far the most awkward game (is it even a game?) being demonstrated on stage.  Microsoft also announced their new Fall Dashboard update which looks pretty cool, especially since it can be controlled via voice recognition through Kinect and incorporates Bing into the system.  The aspect that you could watch “live TV” is a nice addition as well and using your voice to search for things via Bing on your console is a nice touch.  Also, Youtube was confirmed to be coming to the Xbox 360 within that Fall update which seemed to really please the crowd.  At the end of the conference, they showed off the start of their new trilogy, Halo 4.  It was definitely a good way to end the conference but what it boiled down to was there was way too much Kinect talk that made it the main focus at Microsoft’s conference for the third year in a row.

Final Grade: C

Sony:

Later that night, Sony’s conference kicked off.  Sony showed off an impressive montage that displayed the game and hardware in a very sleek manner and worked really well as an introduction to their conference.  Upon Jack Tretton apologizing for the PSN outage, he announced that CinemaNow would be coming to the PSN later this year.  Afterwards, Naughty Dog took the stage to demonstrate Uncharted 3’s Single Player demo which was absolutely stunning, displaying the real-time water effects that were flooding the ship Drake was on.  They then displayed a cinematic trailer for the game which was equally as breathtaking as the demo shown, revealing that Chloe and Elena will return in this third installment.  Insomniac Games then took the stage to show off more footage of Resistance 3, which looked great and reminiscent to the first Resistance.  They also announced a Resistance 3: Doomsday Edition which comes with all the PS Move peripherals you would need to enjoy the game with the Move.  The God of War Origins compilation (which contains both PSP GOW titles, remastered for PS3) and the Ico & Shadow of the Colossus collection were announced to be released this September.  Sony then announced that they have a PlayStation Branded 24 inch 3D TV that would come with the 3D Glasses, HDMI cable and a copy of Resistance 3 for only $499.  The revolutionary part of the TV however was the fact that if you play split-screen with a buddy and you’re both wearing the glasses, you won’t see the split-screen but rather the full screen through each of your glasses.  Afterwards, Kobe Bryant appeared on stage to test out the PS Move controls for NBA 2K12 with the developers of the game.  A trailer for Starhawk was then shown off but unfortunately it didn’t display any gameplay footage, which is a shame considering it was shown on Gametrailers TV a few weeks ago.  One of the bigger surprises at the conference was when “Sly Cooper: Thieves of Time” was unveiled from Sucker Punch and that it will release in 2012.  Afterwards, a new FPS called DUST 514 was demonstrated as a PSN exclusive.  Realistically though, it was very hard to get excited about seeing that it’s another generic looking FPS.  Ken Levine then took the stage to show off a new trailer for BioShock Infinite, which looks very impressive.  Afterwards, he announced that the PS3 version of BioShock Infinite will come with BioShock on the same disc as well as PS Move support.  He also then stated that a new installment in the BioShock franchise will be coming exclusively to the PS Vita.  A trailer for a new Star Trek game was shown that is being closely developed with J.J. Abrams as a PSN exclusive.  It appears to play a bit like Mass Effect based on the gameplay mechanics in the trailer and will support PS Move.  Afterwards, Jack Tretton took the stage again to announce that SSX, Need for Speed: The Run and Battlefield 3 will contain exclusive content for the PS3.  SSX will contain Mt. Fuji as one of the extra mountains to board down, NFS: The Run will contain seven exclusive cars and Battlefield 3 will contain a free copy of Battlefield 1943 on the blu-ray disc.  After this announcement, Kaz Hirai took the stage to show off the successor to the PSP, the PlayStation Vita.  The announcement that they are working exclusively with AT&T to deliver 3G service didn’t exactly sit too well with the audience though.  Graphically, the system seems to match PS3 quality, especially when Uncharted: Golden Abyss was shown off.  It was impressive to see that you can even utilize the touch screen to draw a path for Drake to climb and interact with objects.  They also showed off a new game from Idol Minds called Ruin, which is a hack-and-slash title that has cross-platform compatibility with the PS3.  The key element here was that you can play the game on PS Vita and then plug it into your PS3 and continue it on there.  Afterwards, Modnation Racers Vita was shown off and displayed that now you can use the touch screen to design a track.  Designing a track literally took seconds and looked very simple and intuitive to utilize.  LittleBigPlanet Vita was also announced and like Modnation Racers Vita, it relies heavily on the touch screen for some of the gameplay mechanics and really helps with designing your levels and creations.  The game director of Street Fighter x Tekken took the stage to show that they are also currently developing the title for the PS Vita alongside the console versions.  The really cool surprise that he had in store for us was that Cole from inFAMOUS is a playable character in SFxTK.  Sony then took the stage again to display a montage of games for the PS Vita which showed a new Super Stardust title, Hot Shots Golf and Wipeout just to name a few.  To wrap it up, they announced the surprisingly affordable price for the PS Vita.  The wifi model will retail for $249 and the 3G for $299.  All in all, Sony had a great conference, but definitely could’ve used a few more PS3 titles…

Final Grade: B+

Nintendo:

Now, let’s get to the final big conference, Nintendo’s.  Nintendo started it off with a montage of Zelda games being shown off from the original, up to now, with a live orchestra playing the infamous theme song we’ve all come to know and love.  The reason for this montage was to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Zelda franchise and was a very appropriate way to kick off their conference.  Miyamoto then took the stage and announced that The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX for the Game Boy Color would be available for the Nintendo 3DS’s eShop, later on in the day.  Then he announced that The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword would be available this holiday and that a gold Zelda themed wiimote would be available alongside it.  He also confirmed that the 3DS would be receiving Zelda: Four Swords in September for free, which is a great bonus for the fans.  As an extra incentive to buy The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, those who purchase it will receive a copy of the official soundtrack for free as well.  He then thanked everyone for being huge fans of the series and helping make the series what it is today.  Satoru Iwata had then taken the stage to discuss Nintendo’s new focus.  He stated that their new console’s goal is to have a “wider appeal for all gamers” and “to serve every player.”  However, to keep building up tension, they then switched to show off a montage of new games for the 3DS.  Mariokart 3DS (releasing this holiday season) was the first of the new titles shown, with the karts now having hand gliders equipped on them, a pretty cool addition.  Afterwards was Starfox 64 3D which showed an impressive multiplayer component that allowed the 3DS camera to display live video of your friends’ faces so that you can witness their reaction when you take them out.  Then they showed off the new Super Mario for the 3DS, which as always looks great and the 3D effect seems to really aid you in judging the depth of the environment.  Kid Icarus Uprising was displayed afterwards, which still looked just as impressive as last year.  It appears to have intense, fast-paced gameplay and an interesting story going for it which may be the appropriate return for Pit.  Then, one of their bigger surprises to show off for the 3DS was the sequel to the Gamecube  launch title, Luigi’s Mansion 2.  It was certainly great to see this under-appreciated title receive the sequel treatment and while it may have been better for it to be their new console’s launch title, it’s still great seeing that there’s a new installment in development.  They then announced that the Pokedex 3D was available now for free on the 3DS eShop channel, but I find it hard to believe that people are still deeply into Pokemon to this day.  After this announcement though, was when Nintendo finally decided to unveil their new leading console to the market, the Nintendo Wii U.  While the name isn’t the strongest choice, it is something that we will all get used to eventually like we did with the Wii.  They then unveiled the Wii U’s tablet style controller…and this is what was mind-blowing.  If you’re playing a game on the TV and someone comes in wanting to watch cable, you can switch from the TV to the 6.2 inch LCD touch screen on your controller and continue playing instantly.  The interactivity the controller will have is unprecedented as well.  You can literally swipe photos from the controller towards the TV and the image will display on the TV instantly.  The controller will also have a microphone, speaker, front-facing camera, accelerometer, two circle pads, d-pad, two triggers, two bumpers and four face buttons.  Cross platform compatibility was also announced between the Wii U and 3DS, which is another excellent move on Nintendo’s part.  The even bigger news was that a new Super Smash Bros. was announced for both the Wii U and 3DS.  Nintendo then showed off a tech demo of the visuals the Wii U can display and it was nothing short of astonishing.  The demo showed a bird flying around that displayed the detail of the bird itself, the water effects and environmental detail.  It’s an absolutely breathtaking video that truly showed Nintendo is not kidding around anymore with visuals.  Then, an interview video was shown with a chunk of the third-party developers praising the capabilities of the Wii U.  THQ had announced that Darksiders 2 will be a launch title for the Wii U as well as the fact that Square Enix announced Batman: Arkham City will be their launch title for the system.  A game montage was then shown of all the third-party titles that were in development for the Wii U which included Dirt, Aliens: Colonial Marines, Ghost Recon Online, Metro Last Light, Tekken and Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge.  EA’s John Riccitello then took the stage for the first time ever in Nintendo’s history of E3 conferences to announce that they are 100% supporting the Wii U and are starting by bringing Battlefield 3 and Madden at launch.  Nintendo then concluded the conference…with everyone still stunned at the Wii U’s tech.  The only thing holding it from a perfect score was that we didn’t see the official specs and design of the console, nor did we hear the price.  Regardless, Nintendo has won E3 for the second year in a row…

Final Grade: A

There you have it, the breakdown of each of the three big conferences with our grades for each one.  Agree?  Disagree?  Sound off in the comments below!

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About Glacier928

Marcello is the founder, creator and editor-in-chief of GamersXtreme. His dedication and passion shows as he keeps gamers informed with daily news articles and provides truthful, honest opinions on all gaming related news. Having experience with video game design, as well as over 20 years of gaming under his belt, Marcello has always had a massive interest in the gaming society. Originally, he created GamersXtreme in the style of a magazine back in middle school. Today, he has taken what was created as a basic premise and has evolved it into the site it is today.

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