11 June, 2010

E3 Cometh

written by Blain Newport on Friday, 11 June, 2010

E3 is around the corner again. By this time next week, it'll all be over but the podcasting. It's time for a rundown of what to expect and to make some predictions.

Sony and Nintendo will have made their big 3D plays.

Sony believes that 3D will differentiate the PS3. I'm highly skeptical because the few people who have had hands on with the demo for Killzone 3 said the 3D bits failed to impress.

Nintendo will be unveiling the 3DS. Since most people incorrectly assumed the DS and Wii would flop, it feels like people are erring on the side of caution and not saying anything about the 3DS until they see it in action. I doubt 3D will go anywhere this generation. But as long as the 3DS is backwards compatible, it should sell.

Sony and Microsoft will have made their big motion control plays.

Impressions from early press events indicate that they're trying to sell a Wii-like experience for far more money. I foresee funny-sad press conferences followed by marketplace floundering.

There will be many exploitation games announced.

By that I mean games that use "mature" content in the most artless, blatant way possible. My suspicion is that in this bad economy the marketing people are desperate to outdo each other, to hardcore harder.

This may work out. Some pretty dubious games (Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude and Fear Effect spring to mind) managed to do well enough to have sequels this way. And some games sold above their genre expectations (Dragon Age) by doing this.

But those games stood out because they were being sold in a way other games weren't. If everybody does it at the same time, nobody stands out. Nobody's sales improve. And the public perception of the industry gets set back a decade or so.

I don't think it will be a good E3. But at least it probably won't be boring.

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