Now that E3 2011 is upon us, fangs bared, pulse rifles hot, and golf clubs swinging, it’s a good time to look at what E3 2010 brought us and what innovations from last year we should see gaming companies build on this year.
Oh the Microsoft front, Kinect came out during E3 2010, born out of rumors of Project Natal into the magnificent device it is today. It didn’t take long for this amazing peripheral to literally take the world by storm once the homebrew community discovered the vast animation and interface software built in—Microsoft wisely bowed to the power of their fan community and has reaped the rewards. As it has charmed both the basic gamer consumer market, the living-room casual player market, and the geek hacker community, the Kinect alongside the Xbox 360 has positioned itself to develop in every direction at E3 2011.
At the Microsoft Keynote Press Event we saw the advent of voice recognition usage in Mass Effect 3, use for a new Microsoft entertainment venue that will bring movies and vide through Xbox LIVE and use voice command, and even introduction of voice in a golf game. We’ve seen a lot of what the Kinect can do for tracking movements of players in its field of view, but voice command has been rather underwhelming until now.
At E3 2010, Nintendo revealed its intent to produce the 3DS—their 3D handheld gaming console. That has seen a bit of a rocky start in the Western markets, after taking Japan and the Eastern markets without much of a fight, that and the earthquake and tsunami cut deeply into their yearly revenues for the third year in a row.
Nintendo will need a big announcement to recapture the attention and adulation of its fans in order to reinvigorate its fading markets… I allude to, of course, Nintendo’s hints and allegations at a successor to the Wii appearing at this year’s E3.
Sony’s day at E3 2010 unfortunately hinged on the Move, which was subsequently overshadowed by the Microsoft Kinect. They did reveal and release amazingly powerful games like Portal 2, but it wasn’t enough to actually give them a foothold for a look back. This year, they will have to take the lead with the release of their Next Generation Portable (NGP), which has been tentatively rumored to be the “PS Vita” alongside their surprisingly adept smartphone-gaming-platform the Xperia PLAY.
But none of this is really what we’re looking forward to out of Sony.
No, whatever happened or didn’t happen to them at E3 2010 takes a back seat to the takedown of the PlayStation Network by hackers that lasted nearly a month and has cut deeply into the credibility of both the service and the company. Now that Sony has a huge press event to stand up and speak at, we expect them to have something to say about how they handled that debacle, possibly including what they intend to do to prevent it in the future—and all this while they’re still under fire from other hacker groups.
E3 2011 welcome to our abode, we expect great things from you.