Every year during the calm after the storm known as E3, the video gaming world debates about which major corporation had the best showing at E3. Here at Gaming Bolt, we’re not in the business of promoting fanboyism by declaring a winner, but we can tell you where we think Microsoft and Sony succeeded and where they failed. Below you will find our top 5 successes and top 5 failures for each of the two companies. From there we’ll let you decide for yourself who was the most impressive at E3 ’09.
Top 5 Successes
- Project Natal – This was possibly one of the most exciting and revolutionary announcments made at E3 this year. With features such as voice and body recognition coupled with controller-less play, Project Natal could really change the face of gaming. See our page on Project Natal for more info on the revolutionary motion-sensing camera.
- Metal Gear Solid: Rising – The Microsoft rep said it best when stating that the Xbox 360 was missing one franchise that would make it a complete system. That franchise is Metal Gear Solid. With the announcement that the franchise was coming to the 360, Sony fanboys across the world moaned in protest. The new game is rumored to follow the events in MGS5 and will star everybody’s favorite cyborg ninja, Raiden.
- Halo: Reach – This one took us all by surprise and was certainly a well-kept secret. Details on the game are few, but one thing’s for certain – any game with “Halo” in the title is destined to sell well.
- Instant On 1080p Netflix – For all the Xbox 360 users wanting an HD video player, look no further. You have one already. With “Instant On”, 360 owners no longer have to wait for their favorite movies and TV shows to download. With one click of the controller, these can be watched instantly and in the highest resolution possible. This makes the Xbox 360 an even more impressive multimedia machine.
- Twitter and Facebook – Sure, gamers aren’t notoriouos for being socialites, but who doesn’t have a Facebook or Twitter account? No one. The features shown during the E3 demo were quite impressive and seemlessly integrate Facebook and Xbox Live accounts and avatars right on the dashboard. Another cool feature is the ability to take in-game screenshots and post them directly to your Facebook page. Some hardcore gamers may not be a fan of these new features, but they certainly appeal to a broad base of consumers.
Top 5 Failures
- Not enough new exclusives – Here are the new exclusives announced by Microsoft that aren’t sequels – Shadow Complex and Joy Ride. One we know nothing about and the other is a free to play avatar racer. The only exclusive sequels announced were Halo: Reach, Left 4 Dead 2, and Crackdown 2. That’s just not going to cut it.
- Not enough new IPs – ONE new IP – Shadow Complex. We know little to nothing about it. Also not cutting it. Gaming is about the games. We want more games.
- No live demo of “Milo” – The possibility of interactive AI like that proposed by the Milo character is intriguing to say the least, but let’s face it – the video we saw could have been scripted. The woman could have not done a thing, while Milo carried on the conversation all by his lonesome. As exciting as Project Natal is, the AI aspect of something like Milo needs to be seen in real time to be believed. Not to mention there was no release date given, so this project may not be seen in stores for years to come.
- No handheld – In the days leading up to E3, rumors swirled that Microsoft would be announceing a video game enabled Zune handheld. In a market where Sony and even moreso Nintendo have seen large profits with their portable gaming devices, Microsoft looked poised to make a splash into the pool of handhelds. E3 came and went, but with no mention of the rumored handheld. So much for that. For now.
- Nothing Original – Microsoft is infamous for stealing ideas and games. Well… maybe not stealing… but buying. Microsoft has proven time and time again that everyone has a price. Whether it’s Square Enix with Final Fantasy or Konami with Metal Gear Solid, Microsoft finds a way for other companies’ exclusives to become multi-plat. Every year at E3, one of Microsoft biggest announcements is that they stole away yet another exclusive from Sony. This year was no different. Even Microsoft’s Project Natal has elements eerily similar to early games released for the Playstation Eye. It would be great to see Microsoft develop blockbuster franchises of their own. Other than Halo.
Top 5 Successes
- 1:1 Motion Control via Playstation Eye -With the best-selling Wii and now the Xbox 360 both boasting motion control abilities, it was almost a necessity for Sony to bring the same or comparable abilities to it’s system. Although the motion control system demoed at E3 was at an early stage in development, the precision it showed was quite impressive. The precision shown in this short demo was already superior to the Wii’s motion controls as well as those shown in the Project Natal demo. Not only that, but it was said to be ready for release in 2010. Let’s hope that’s true.
- PS3 and PSP Game Lineups – Gaming is about the games. Sony’s show was filled with new IPs, exclusives, and blockbuster sequels for both the PS3 and the PSP. For the PSP – Grand Turismo PSP, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, LittleBigPlanet, Motorstorm, SOCOM, and Resident Evil. Exclusively on the PS3 – Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, MAG, White Knight Chronicles, Heavy Rain, Fat Princess, DC Universe, Ratchet and Clank: A Crack in Time, Agent, Final Fantasy XIV, ModNation Racers, Last Guardian, and Gran Turismo 5. Gamers want games. Sony delivered the games at E3 ’09.
- New AND Exclusive Games – Sony showed us four new AND PS3 exclusive games at their news conference – Rockstar’s Agent, Final Fantasy XIV, ModNation Racers, and Last Guardian. From the demos shown and the companies making these four games, they all look to be AAA titles. Big name games for a big name show. Sony brought the games.
- Final Fantasy XIV – The Final Fantasy series is a system seller. At last year’s E3, Microsoft dealt Sony a big blow in announcing that the formerly Sony exclusive, Final Fantasy XIII, would be available for the Xbox 360. Sony fired back this year by announcing the Final Fantasy XIV would be available as a console exclusive on the PS3. The humorous part being that Final Fantasy XIII hasn’t even been released yet.
Top 5 Failures
- Metal Gear Solid: Rising – Metal Gear Solid is by far the biggest exclusive franchise for Sony and the Playstation brand. Wait a second… let me rephrase that…. Metal Gear Solid WAS Sony’s biggest exclusive franchise. Microsoft announced that the next Metal Gear Solid game, Rising, would be released on its console. This wasn’t a huge surprise, but it’s definitely a big blow to the Playstation brand.
- PSP Go Leak – In the week leading up to E3, a leaked Qore video prematurely let the world know that the PSP Go was going to be announced at E3. This ruined Sony’s chances of surprising ANYONE with this announcement, thus dampening the impact of Sony’s conference. Not to mention that the new PSP has been complained about by many fans for not having a second analog stick.
- No Price Drop – Ever since the PS3 launched, the biggest complaint about the system has been the price. Of the three current generation platforms, the Playstation 3 is the most expensive, and Sony seems committed to keeping the PS3 at the $399 price point. One can only imagine how many more systems would be moved if Sony dropped the price. Coming into E3, a price drop seemed imminent. No such price drop occurred. Not a good move by Sony.
- No new firmware features – Firmware updates allow the PS3 to be future proof to an extent. New updates bring new features and new reasons to buy a PS3. Sony’s conference was void of any new firmware updates. Although the PSP gained the ability to access the PSN’s video store directly, the PS3 itself gained no new features. Adding a significant update would have helped Sony gain a step or two on its competition. This didn’t happen.
- Gran Turismo 5 – A cornerstone of Sony’s games throughout the years has been the Gran Turismo franchise. It has continually been the best racing game on the market – that is WHEN it’s on the market. E3 ’09 marks the 4th straight E3 that we have been teased by videos of Gran Turismo 5, yet we still have no release date. Sony gamers are starving for this title, and E3 would have been a great time to finally give us a date to mark on our calendars. This too didn’t happen.
So, after an E3 that brought back the extravagance and excitement that we had been missing the past couple years, are we left with a winner? Maybe, maybe not. With the amount of exciting games and features announced throughout this week, we at Gaming Bolt agree that the gamers came out on top this time. Whether you’re an Xbox 360 fan, a Playstation 3 fan, or even both, E3 ’09 has reassured us that the future of gaming is as bright as ever.
Tell us what you thought of E3 below in the comments section!