Biggest Surprises & Letdowns From The Big Three Conferences

Microsoft Conference

Biggest surprises: Minecraft coming to the Xbox 360.  While we would learn later on that the original creator of Minecraft isn’t doing this port it’s still nice to hear such a creative game is making its way to the 360.  I couldn’t add Halo 4 to this list because it got leaked out right before the conference, the same with Live TV.

Biggest letdowns: Where was all the Xbox Live Arcade games and first party exclusives?  In fact, where were all the surprises at all?  Virtually everything announced we had already known about in one form or another before the press conference.

Overall reaction: Microsoft had an intelligent showing in one way.  They focused a lot of attention on Kinect because it has been selling extremely well.  Virtually every game shown had some sort of Kinect-only exclusive features or modes.  Microsoft also used the time to showcase some big third party games such as Modern Warfare 3 and the new Tomb Raider.  Overall their conference felt a little flat only because of the sheer lack of surprises.  A good show, but by no means one I will remember for years to come.

Sony Conference

Biggest surprises: Vita starting at $249.99.  I think I’ll remember this conference for quite a while.  By putting Vita neck-in-neck with the 3DS they have forced Nintendo into a position whereby the company must continue to innovate and prove the 3DS has the same “worth” as the Vita.  This is the first time Nintendo portable hardware has been at the same exact price as the competition at launch.  Will it have an impact, we’ll have to wait and find out.

The other big surprise came in the form of a 3D HDTV bundle weighing in at only $499.99.  That’s extremely lucrative given you get Resistance 3, 3D glasses, a 24” 3D 1080p HDTV and an HDMI cable.  I didn’t see that coming out of anywhere.

Biggest letdowns: Having seen almost all the Vita software the previous week, it wasn’t as striking as it could have been.  While we found out about a couple of news games, like Microsoft Sony didn’t blow open the world with tons of surprise announcements this year.  Oh and where the heck was Kevin Butler or some PSN announcements!

Overall reaction: Sony had an extremely smart conference this year.  They highlighted everything they’re doing right and nothing they’re doing wrong.  We saw some great first party exclusive and some other new games.  There was a heavy focus on Move, as we expected but it wasn’t overkill.  The only negative aspect with Sony’s conference was the lack of any unexpected software announcement.

Nintendo Conference

Biggest Surprise: Obviously the biggest surprise was with Wii U.  While it’s still extremely early, we now know the system is about on par with the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in terms of raw power.  The controller is almost exactly as the rumors suggested, and features a whole bunch of wacky new ways to interact with your games.  Overall it’s too early to tell how everything will come together, but it sure is unique. And the concepts look enticing

It was nice to see such a strong lineup of third party developers pledging support for the Wii U.  While we only saw a handful of titles like Arkham City and an exclusive version of Ninja Gaiden, the point was made, this is a Nintendo platform that third parties will embrace and no matter how you look at it, that’s surprising.

Nintendo also had some nice surprises in store like Luigi’s Mansion 2, Link’s Awakening heading to the eShop sometime today and a free version of 4 Swords coming to the DSi.  Needless to say, that’s a lot of solid strong announcements that no one was expecting.

Biggest letdowns: Confusion, confusion, and even more confusion.  We were completely lost watching the press conference as to whether or not the controller was the new console.  We only found out later that no, there’s actually a new console that connect to the TV.  Nintendo likely should have shown us the box first before putting all the attention on the controller.  The other disappointment was again with the lack of killer software announcements we weren’t expecting.

Overall reaction: Nintendo had by far the most confusing console unveiling I have ever witnessed.  Maybe it was clear to them, but to all of us here on the site, it was downright perplexing.  I’m excited to see where their console goes from here, but in terms of a conference I think they could have handled their unveiling a lot better.  I enjoyed virtually everything else shown though from the symphony orchestra to the freebies.

Winner of the E3 conference battle? This is always tough because it depends on where your gaming taste lay.  I think both Sony’s $249 announcement for the Vita and Nintendo’s unveiling of the Wii U will be remembered for years to come, but all three shows could have been more exciting.  I’d say it was a toss up between Sony and Nintendo purely based on what surprises were actually there and the fact Halo 4 was leaked early.  If push comes to shove though, I think I’d score Sony just a bit higher because they didn’t confuse me and you can never have too much Uncharted.

Enough about my thoughts, what about you?  Who came out on top and what did you love/hate about the big three conferences?


10 thoughts on “Biggest Surprises & Letdowns From The Big Three Conferences”

  1. My biggest surprise was the open nature of the online specs of the Wii U, that was hinted by John from EA, this will be a mayor feature and really enticing one, devs will love to have more control than platform holders, that and for me nintendo is the winner man the Wii U has tons of potential with great graphics, they got me whit the zelda pics.

    Having said that i think sony and microsoft have an strong e3 too therefore for me was more kind of a tie between the three and the real winners us the users

  2. Very good summary Jarrod! One thing you left out is the new tech included with the 3D TV where splitcreen will be available without splitting the screen.

    My biggest letdown was that we didn’t see any steals this year! Wether it’s for your team or not, it always creates a buzz when an exclusive goes multi-platform. (FF XIII, Portal 2)

    My vote goes for Sony mainly because they had more appealing showings for my personal taste.

    The Wii U? I wasn’t expecting it to beat the other Consoles graphics wise and it didn’t. That’ll be another problem in a few years.

  3. Aaaaaaargh! I missed it! I missed you guys! Aaaaaaargh. Anyway I think Sony took it as well by a slim margin. Honestly, I can’t see how the Vita/ps3 connectivity can’t be BETTER than the wiiu. We’ll see I guess.

  4. Technically Pat Sony could release a software update for their TVs to all them to perform the same task. I did some research and this isn’t actually new technology, just a company Sony bought a short time ago and an LCD panel display that uses said tech. So don’t be surprised if we see all of Sony’s 3D HDTVs incorporate the same thing moving forward.

    That said, I really want to try the Wii U because it looks very different that I thought. One thing is certain, the power output is slightly under the 360 and PS3 meaning the successor to those two platforms should outpace Wii U immediately. That basically gives Nintendo two years to impress the world. Do they have what it takes guys?

  5. I wasn’t able to watch most of the conferences other then Sony since it was late at night but I have read about most of it.

    PS3 wise the PSVita price was by far the better news for me. Most Sony games I was already anxious to play them all Uncharted 3, Resistence 3, BF3, Skyrim, Ico Collection and many more :). I’m really loving my PS3.

    Xbox: The thing i already had a feeling about and that I will be getting is the Gears of War 3 Xbox 360 version. Halo 4 having played all of them it does interest me to see the new way the story will be going but if the feel is completly the same I might not be stuck to it as much as previous titles.

    Wii: For the wii successor it seems really interesting with the controls and added cpu and core features but just like the Wii it was great but it didn’t last for me being a Hardcore gamer. Currently I’m not sure the new one would keep me hooked for long.

    Overall even tho Sony didn’t show much new stuff I prefered all the news brought to the table.

  6. Nice thoughts Stephane.

    Well that would be GREAT if all Sony 3D TVs can support the splitcreen tech!

    As for the Wii, sure the new controller looks cool and all but I really don’t think it’ll be enough to make me get another console when it’s just playing catch up. The Third party games we’ll already have on 360/PS3 anyway. And the First party games I realised I’ve outgrown them since the Wii.

  7. I’m a bit let down that there’s no actual *new* games for Zelda’s 25th Anniversary (not counting Skyward Sword & Ocarina of Time 3D), when it was strongly hinted that a new game was in development. I guess they were actually referring to the free Four Swords port. Pretty sneaky there.

    Also, Nintendo has been pretty notorious at abandoning their old systems almost as soon as the new ones are out. There’s no info about what will happen to the Wii Shop Channel and the like, but I won’t be surprised if they end up shutting down after December 31, 2012. That’s still a long way off, but if you want to purchase anything after that, Virtual Console / WiiWare will probably be moved permanently to the Wii U to force you to upgrade.

    I don’t know if I’ll ever get a Wii U, but I hope it’ll be possible to transfer downloaded VC and WiiWare games. If not, then I’d have to keep both the Wii and Wii U hooked up which kind of defeats the purpose of backwards compatibility.

  8. @Enhas

    That’s a good poi t you bring up! I never thought about what would happen to digital games for backwards compatibility.

  9. After watching more about the Wii U the controller scheme they are going with makes me think like they are going towards Ipads/Playbook as if they are going towards that competition also because looking at the controller it doesn’t look like a controller to me.

    Also I read today only one controller would be available per consol and you wouldn’t be able to buy extra’s. This news I read on my Gamecenter app on my Iphone !!

  10. That would be extremely odd if you couldn’t buy additional controllers. I’ll try to find some additional info on that.

    As for WiiWare, it will be backwards compatible, but there’s a very good chance that they will make e upgraded store only available for the Wii U after a certain amount of time. Your previous downloads will be accessible on the new machine though so don’t worry about that.

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