By Vamien McKalin | Jun 21, 2012 09:00 AM EDT
E3 2012 has come to an end. The top three conferences from Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo are over and now is the time to determine who won, and who made a complete mockery of the show. Compared to E3 2011, this year's show was a lot better as all three came out gunning with exciting new announcements, along with some cringe-worthy onstage performances that nearly forced us on more than one occasion to stop watching.
The conference would have been so much better if both Microsoft and Sony announced their next generation of consoles. However, that wasn't to be the case and so it appears we will have to wait until E3 2013 for that.
Microsoft: Not many new exclusive titles
We never expected Microsoft to focus a lot on blockbuster exclusive titles and new IP at E3 2012, the company's record of accomplishment has proven that it doesn't need to. The Xbox 360 is the top selling gaming console in the world because of Kinect, and exclusive DLC contents from third party titles. Considering the next generation Xbox will be out some time in 2013, Microsoft is able to take the risk on focusing on the entertainment aspect of the console, which turned out to be the best thing about Microsoft's E3 conference.
Announcements like IE9 for the 360, SmartGlass, and Xbox Music were monumental. Yes, Microsoft should have talked a little bit more about games, but at a conference where Halo 4, Resident Evil 6, Tomb Raider and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 took center stage, we doubt any new title from the company could stand up against such a line up.
IE9 for the Xbox 360 is something many of us have been expecting for a long time now. We've seen browsers in other video game consoles such as the PS3 and Google TV devices. However, all failed to make browsing on the TV a worthy experience. Microsoft seem to have broken this barrier with the demonstration of how IE9 on the 360 works, and from what we can tell, it could very well end up being the most useful.
SmartGlass was another big announcement, which if done correctly could undermine the Nintendo Wii-U. SmartGlass is an application that turns your smartphone or tablet into another controller for a game, a remote control or another screen for your TV plus a lot more. What's great is Microsoft plans on making the SmartGlass app available for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and Windows desktop.
When it comes to games, there weren't many at the Microsoft conference. However, the showcasing of Halo 4 and the first gameplay demo of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 should be enough for Xbox 360 gamers. On the casual side of things, Kinect took center stage as Microsoft continues to churn out new content for its top selling peripheral.
Sony: The Last of Us and a ton of trailers
Unlike the Microsoft conference, Sony focused mostly on games, which is the strong point of the PlayStation 3. The best part was the highlighting of The Last of Us gameplay that left us in awe. The game is brutal and looks extremely stunning in graphics and animation. The enemy AI in this game is easily the best we have ever seen in a video game, and this could be what really sets The Last of Us apart from other survival horror games.
Next up, Quantic Dream's Beyond: Two Souls. Quantic Dream is the developer behind Heavy Rain for the PlayStation 3, a game that centers around four characters who are all set out to find the Origami Killer. Beyond: Two Souls is different when it comes down to the story aspect of things. However, the gameplay is expected to be the same, which is mainly quick time events, no real gameplay elements.
Apart from the above-mentioned games, there wasn't anything particular exciting about the Sony press conference. Games like God of War: Accession was on show but the demo wasn't explosive. What we saw was the same God of War, only this one has multiplayer, what a way to spoil a good single player franchise.
The most disappointing thing about Sony's press conference is the lack of anything PlayStation Vita related. It's as if the company has already given up the fight, leaving those who bought the Vita in a state of confusion. Did you buy a Vita? You may wish you never did if this is the treatment Sony is giving to its handheld console.
Nintendo: Wii-U, 3DS, Pikmin 3
Nintendo is slowly gearing up to be the first out of the next generation gates with the Wii-U. We haven't seen much content for the console at previous video game related shows. However, at E3 2012, Nintendo opened the flood gates but unfortunately, the company didn't get our collective juices flowing. The only game from Nintendo that had us going was Pikmin 3. Believe us, this game is gorgeous beyond belief.
Shigeru Miyamoto kicked things off with demo gameplay of Pikmin 3, showing off the game's impressive visuals and new Pikmin creatures along with some new enemies. On the contrary, that wasn't enough to give Nintendo the edge, and we say this because the Pikmin 3 announcement is the best part of the Nintendo conference. Everything else was pure yawnage.
No doubt, the Wii-U is an impressive console with some neat features, especially the new innovative controller, but where are the interesting contents? We saw just only a few. Mario made its debut for the Wii-U, awesome, but Zelda was nowhere in sight. The third party games shown were mainly games that were already released on current generation consoles, which leave us to wonder if the developers will take the Wii-U seriously or just abandon the machine like they did with the Wii.
This might come as a surprise to many, so brace yourselves. The winner of E3 2012 in our eyes, is Microsoft, like it or not. The company didn't focus on one or a few aspects of the Xbox 360. It showed off new triple A games, titles for Xbox Live Arcade, Kinect games, contents for Xbox Live like IE9, SmartGlass and additional Kinect features. Video game consoles are not all about games anymore; these devices are complete media-hubs and should be treated as such.
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