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.
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.
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?