A year ago I don’t think anyone could have predicted that Nintendo would be the undisputed heavyweight of this year’s E3 conference, but that’s exactly how things have turned out. Sony’s biggest announcement was a $100 dollar price drop on the PS3 for Q4 and details on the 80GB PS3, with a commitment to have 120 games available by end of Fiscal (March 08), including what is supposed to be the last Metal Gear. Microsoft relied on franchise winners (and the highly anticipated Rock Band), news of a PC version of Gears of War, and details on their new relationship with Disney, as well as agreements with major studios to make films available on demand via Live. Oh, and hints of a Wii like controller sometime in the nearish future.
But Nintendo? Nintendo strolled in with three new peripherals (the zapper, a new steering wheel, and a fitness pad), firm ‘07 dates for Super Mario Galaxy, Metroid Prime 3, and Super Smash Bros (easily the three most anticipated titles for Nintendo fans), and sure-to-be hits like Mario Kart Wii (which comes bundled with the new steering wheel), and Wii Fit (which continues to deliver on the promise to make the Wii the console that you shan’t feel lazy about playing), along with the expansion of Wii Ware (wherein Nintendo will open up game downloads to independent developers for games like, say, Line Rider) and a new Mii channel. So basically, E3 was Nintendo’s opportunity to the industry that their Wii and DS lines would continue to print money for the foreseeable future.
Most of the gaming and tech blogs are bemoaning the scaled down, business serious version of E3, because as we all know, you can’t adequately excite the gaming press without 50K square feet of flashing lights, pounding bass, and 5000 soon-to-be-shame filled women dressed in as little as the PR firms can get away with. Personally, I think most of the belly-aching is due to the fact that, removed from the bread and circus of past E3’s, the industry was forced to confront the fact that gaming is indeed a business, and that’s just not always fun.