Before this year`s E3 in Los Angeles I was really looking forward to the press briefings of Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft because of the previously announced new interface hardware. I must admit I hyped myself a bit too much with all this Natal (aka Kinect) and PS Move stuff and perhaps that is one of the reasons why I was a bit disappointed by the news I got from the media events.
I still like the idea to interact with a console like Tom Cruise was doing in Minority Report but in the end it comes down to the games which will be available for each new system. In case of Microsoft`s Kinect I was really surprised that it seems like they cloned Nintendo`s games line-up: A sports collection, a cart racer, a nintendogs-like game and some sports activity stuff. Even the Star Wars Kinect game looks lousy: Poor graphics for a next gen console, standard interaction patterns instead of realtime tracking of the laser sword and some sort of rail-shooter movement. Ok, everything will presumably work a bit more precise than on the Wii but I think Microsoft really could have done much better with their line-up. Where are the new ideas? The only highlight for me was the dancing game which is a game that would not work on the Wii. But I doubt that this will be a system seller.
What`s up with Sony? After showing some fancy bow and sword action with the Playstation Move controllers at last E3 I was waiting for some motion-tracking games for the core gaming crowd. But it turned out that Sony had the same idea as Microsoft: Both want to expand their market with the casual gamers. Sony`s vision therefore includes a cartoonish sorcerer (Hello Harry Potter!) and some casual clash of old school game heroes. Of course, some older and some forthcoming AAA-titles will be supported by Playstation Move but none of them was presented live. It always sounded like PS Move will be a type of add-on feature but nothing the games will focus on.
So it turns out that both Microsoft and Sony are trying to follow in Nintendo`s footsteps by developing their own motion-tracking interfaces. Even though both Microsoft and Sony might have done a good job with their hardware, they failed to convice me with their games line-up. There is still hope that they both do better in the future but I do not find any reason to buy one of these at their release dates this fall.
And that`s why in my opinion Nintendo made the best impression with their media event. As awaited they presented some strong Wii IPs (Zelda, Metroid) and their next iteration of the Nintendo DS, the 3DS. The new version is able to provide 3D effects without putting glasses on and has a very solid start line-up for a new mobile console: A new Metal Gear Solid title, Resident Evil, Kid Icarus, Dead or Alive, Kingdom Hearts, Ridge Racer, Assassin`s Creed, Professor Layton and some more. Of course, Nintendo is not the only one pushing 3d gaming – Sony presented their approach which includes a tv set for 2000$+ and wearing glasses. For now, it seems like Nintendo made again the right move in terms of hardware development.