E3 Predictions


Every one else does one of these, so why not me? E3 sits 4 days away from the opening festivities and it’s time to shoot the breeze with uber predictions of winners and losers.

I’ve been told I am way too critical by a few people in the industry and that my writings are misleading. So I am going to try a new approach and start with the positive. Although I don’t know per say who is going to come ahead at the end of the day some things within the industry now are just a given. And they’re sort of positive, I guess.

Nintendo will continue to count its dollars on the biggest gamble/payoff ever in the history of the industry even if all its remaining software titles are the latest cheerleading game. Reggie could come on stage next week and say our biggest holiday title is a horse racing sim and start to strip and Wii sales won’t bat an eyelash. I actually do think when Nintendo takes the stage they’ll pound their own chests regarding sales for a good long while and in typical Nintendo fashion rehash the next iteration of a first party franchise or two and go forward. When the formula sure as hell isn’t broken, why try and fix it? “Winning” E3 isn’t what keeps their brass awake at night. In fact, I am not sure why Nintendo bothers to show up. Probably because everyone else is and they’ll try to shock and awe the industry.

The most interesting battle is obviously between Microsoft and Sony. As you’ll recall now 6+ months ago on this site I said this would be Sony’s year and thus far it has been. Metal Gear Solid 4 is the game of the generation and I don’t see anything on the horizon that is really going to change that.

There’s a simple philosophy in business, competition, sports, and even life. Don’t be a reactionary, make stuff happen yourself. Losers react to what comes at them by emulation. Winners are emulated. What I see out of Microsoft in easy to find rumors is as reactionary as it gets. Waggle motes and a home clone. I hope for their sake, it’s all untrue. If it is, it’s pretty embarrassing.

The last thing you want to do as a product is to lose and compromise the identity you’ve spent so much money and time on building. I have news for the folks at Microsoft if true: You are NOT Nintendo. Your audience which is over 10 million strong does not give a crap about motion controls. Motion controls are not going to entice a new audience (in this case let’s face it, young children) to ask mom and dad for a 360 this holiday. The Xbox has become pretty stagnant thus far in 2008 and it’s a sequels rush come the holiday. I am really excited for is Fable 2 and that’s mostly because I love Peter Molyneux’s vision and think on a console from this generation his original vision of Fable is achievable. Gears 2 has to this point looked too much like Gears 1 for my taste. I’m not sold on either Too Human or Banjo. Maybe the Bungie crew will announce Halo 4, but who knows.

Sony has a bunch of momentum coming into E3. But, still have a lot to prove during next week’s show that his holiday they will have a sustainable lineup. I’d like to see Killzone 2, Little Big Planet, GT5, Socom, and a slew of other games. Plus, Blu ray has caught on as the de facto next gen movie format so there is a lot of value in a PS3. Especially if they drop the price on the hardware. I am interested to see how Home is shaping up after all this time and if Sony really was able to pull off the lofty expectations they created a year ago.

I predict Nintendo to have a pretty even keel E3, nothing all that shocking will be announced at this point. Microsoft I think has punched themselves out and need some new IP to revitalize the software lineup. Sony is now in a position to offer the most interesting games and features of all three consoles and should they capitalize on it, will be in the driver’s seat easily for the foreseeable future.

(A quick aside, it’s pretty sad to think that the once mighty show that captivated such a wide audience and so many people now has its vitality and use in question. The short story is that the ESA has proven their incompetence over the last two years with the new E3 and a lot of companies who once showed up to E3 have pulled out. Add to that the draconian rules in place (which you PR companies now use as a crutch as an excuse to restrict access even though it’s obvious it’s nearly total bullshit) and you have the glitz and glamor turned into what a lot of people view as a pretty boring show. But anyway, I’ll have a lot more to say about that once it’s over next week.)

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