Snap Judgments: Microsoft and Sony’s 2011 E3 Press Conferences


Having just wrapped up watching the E3 2011 Sony press event, I though I’d share some quick thoughts on what I saw of Sony and Microsoft’s press events. I won’t speak too much on the specifics, as other major gaming sites will do a much better job of discussing the specifics. However, I wanted to share my general opinions on what I saw today.

Microsoft

Do you remember Nintendo’s E3 2008 press event, where they tried really hard to cater to the casual crowd? Do you remember the aftermath of that showing, when Nintendo formally apologized to the core gamers it alienated with that showing? Microsoft’s 2011 showing felt just like that.

Sure, they had Modern Warfare 3, a surprisingly good-looking Tomb Raider reboot, Minecraft and a trailer for Halo 4 (!), but I don’t think it was enough to appease the hardcore crowd in a presentation that was mainly focused on a large lineup of Kinect software and upcoming XBOX 360 features that mostly don’t have anything to do with games. As someone who generally frowns upon motion-controlled games, this presentation did nothing to change my mind. Maybe someone out there will be jazzed about playing more Kinect Sports, an on-rails Fable experience or that goofy looking Kinect shooting mode in the new Ghost Recon, but I came away from that show feeling like Microsoft really had nothing new for me to see.

Sony

Sony had a lot of heat on themselves going into this conference for obvious reasons, but I think they did a very good job of coming out with a strong showing. The obvious thing Sony did that I really liked was that their emphasis was mainly on the hardcore gamer, by showing off mostly games and features that someone like me would care about. I’m not hyped for everything they showed, but I can see the hardcore player-base getting excited for all of the games they showed, such as Uncharted 3, Bioshock Infinite the new Star Trek game and all of the upcoming PlayStation-exclusive content coming to a number of third party games, including the wacky addition of Cole of Infamous in Street Fighter X Tekken.

The show-stopper for me was the price of the PS Vita, once known as the NGP. After showing off all of the cool stuff it could do, I thought this thing was going to cost an arm and a leg. However, at $249.99 for the Wi-Fi only version, and $299.99 for the 3G and Wi-Fi version, it’s looking a lot more appealing. With the base-model of the Vita at the same price as the Nintendo 3DS, they are really putting Nintendo in a tough spot.

Not sure where to put this, but didn’t the Move controls for NBA 2k12 look absolutely awful? Also, did anyone notice that Kobe Bryant clearly did not know how to use the thing?

Unfortunately, due to the nature of my work tomorrow, I probably won’t get a chance to watch the Nintendo press conference through a live stream. I will keep up with Nintendo’s conference one way or another, though I’m not sure if it’s fair for me to judge all three if I don’t get to watch Nintendo’s showing. In any case, I’ll be sure to talk about it at some point!

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