Now that E3 2011 is firmly behind us, let’s take a look at the highlights and most notable announcements from Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony.
Microsoft focused their attention this year on games which will support Kinect. Going forward Xbox 360 owners will have access to many more Kinect enabled games. Hardcore gamers will likely resist Kinect style gaming, but for the casual gamer it’s likely to have broader appeal. Running up to the 2011 holiday season there will be an extensive array of titles for Xbox which use Kinect, so if you’re a fan then keep your eyes open.
Keeping on the Kinect theme, Kinect Fun Labs is a new feature being added immediately for Xbox users with Kinect. The Kinect Fun Labs allows you to create your own avatar. You can scan your face, clothes and abstract objects to create a 3D image.
Other announcements from Microsoft include additions to the software and Xbox Live. Soon YouTube will be available on Xbox Live. In addition, all search will be done through Bing. In coordination with Bing, Microsoft has added voice recognition which will make navigation more straight forward by simply speaking your search criteria then Bing gathers the information whether the results are from the web, video, games, tv, movies, etc. More content is coming to Xbox Live including the UFC which was announced by UFC President Dana White at E3.
Oh and did we mention Halo 4? Attendee’s were treated to a short trailer shown at the end of the Microsoft presentation. The bigger news is a confirmed trilogy which means a Halo 5 & 6 as well.
The announcement of the Wii U is the top story for Nintendo this year. Their new hardware is a combination stay-at-home console and portable gaming device. The footnote being that the Wii U portable part of the console is a mobile controller only (as of now) to the extent its range can achieve away from the main unit. You can read our article, ‘Nintendo Highlights – E3 2011‘, in full to get more details.
Aside from the Wii U announcement, there was Zelda. This year marks the 25th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda and there is a game for every one of Nintendo’s current platforms. The Wii will host the latest incantation of the series called Skyward Sword which is scheduled for release before the end of 2011. Zelda wasn’t the only game announced at E3 this year, there are many other titles on the list, including some more hardcore type options for gamers. Titles such as Battlefield 3, Ninja Gaiden III and Aliens: Colonial Marines are all projected to be released for the Wii U.
Vita was announced as Sony’s next step in handheld gaming devices. The Vita will start at $249 for the wi-fi version and $299 which operates with wi-fi and 3G connectivity. AT&T will handle the mobile access for Sony’s Vita. As of now there are no details on plan cost or if there will be contractual obligations. The Vita is slated to be released prior to the 2011 holiday season. The Vita will boast a 5” OLED touchscreen.
The other item of note from Sony was their new gaming TV. The HDTV can be used to connect an existing PS3 and have gamers multi-play with each other on the same screen. The unique technology part of the equation is the way players view the screen. Each player sees a unique image on the screen depicting their gameplay. The technique is accomplished by using separate sets of glasses for each player. The 24” display used in the demo displayed the feature effectively.
Winners and Losers
It’s hard to say that anyone won or lost this year at E3. Each had their own upsides but also had some disappointments. Here’s a roundup of our take on the announcements this year.
Sony had a plus with the announcement of the Vita and the price point was looked upon positively. On the downside, Sony failed to announce improvements to PlayStation Network (PSN) and some of the more sought after games were missing. Titles such as Metal Gear and God of War were glaring omissions while Final Fantasy XIII-2 was barely a blip on the radar.
Microsoft improved some Xbox Live features and while not wildly impressive has to be seen as a positive. They continue to push forward Xbox Live and in that respect progress is good. The addition of voice recognition and Bing search are improvements but to what extent is yet unknown. Bing search might be beneficial and voice recognition is likely to be hit or miss with gamers. Live TV is definitely a plus but the lack of US partners ultimately makes this feature mute until Microsoft can get content providers on board. Adding the UFC is a small but good start.
Nintendo‘s E3 2011 will either be remembered for the fantastic announcement of the Wii U or an utter disaster on the next console version from the once proud ruler of the gaming world. The Wii U is intriguing and frankly there isn’t much more to say than that. Until the full range or at least an extended range of possibilities are seen in use, the Wii U will continue to be obscure. As of right now, we’re not sure what to make of it other than it’s extremely convenient. When it comes to games, Nintendo will wow us with Zelda no doubt and surely there will be a lot of other fun games. With the addition of some more hardcore titles, Nintendo is moving in the right direction but there is still much work to be done.
All in all, no real excitement, no surprises and no jaw-dropping announcements. No winners, no losers just an even amount of news from each. After all the dust has settled we’d like to think that next year is likely to be much more meaningful.
What About the Games?
For those of you wondering solely about games. There are a lot! Many, many titles are on our radar and there will be no shortage of gameplay hours in the months to come. Below are some titles which we are most looking forward to. We’d love to hear which games you’re anticipating the most, let us know in the comments.
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
- Ninja Gaiden III (Playstation 3, Wii U, Xbox 360)
- Assassin’s Creed: Revelations (PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
- Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier (PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
- Aliens: Colonial Marines (PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
- The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii)
- Batman: Askham City (PC, PlayStation 3, Wii U, Xbox 360)
- Final Fantasy XIII-2 (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
- Fable: The Journey (Xbox 360)
- Halo 4 (Xbox 360)
Your Thoughts and Comments
What are your thoughts on E3 2011? Did anything surprise, excite or disappoint you? Let us know in the comments.
Nintendo clearly stole this year’s E3 event. While Microsoft showcased everything people had already seen, and Sony revealed things people had already guessed, Nintendo not only once again reinvented gaming with the Wii U’s second screen, but had one of E3’s biggest gaming fan moments by opening their conference with the full Zelda orchestra and a 25th Anniversary symphony.
Great thoughts Ben. Here’s to hoping Nintendo’s Wii U lives up to the expectations!