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What Did We Learn at E3?

The 2012 E3 has come and gone, and what was left behind is mostly calendar counting until the 2013 E3.

Sure, Halo4 looked great, as did many of the other games previewed during the week (Watch Dogs!).  What everyone really wants to know is when they can shell out their hard earned cash on a next-gen console and use  that “old” PS3 or Xbox360 as a paperweight.  Unfortunately, neither Sony or Microsoft dropped any hints at what’s to come in hardware and left all of that up to Nintendo and their new console due later this year, the “Wii U”.

 

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 07:  Nintendo exhibitor...

The “Wii U” in many ways simply catches Nintendo up to places their competitors have been for some time, starting with high def.  Yes, you will finally play your favorite games from Nintendo in 1080p, and you will be able to control those games with not only the controllers from your old Wii, but new controllers too – including the new Gamepad.  The Gamepad is a large, tablet like controller with thumb sized analog joysticks in the upper corners and a screen in the middle.  The screen allows for interactive gaming – one thing on your TV while something related is on the controller’s screen – and you can even use it as a separate gaming device all together when you aren’t around your TV.  The happy surprise they announced was that the Wii U would support two Gamepads at the same time, something rumored leading up to the show that would not happen.

Just as Nintendo thought they would own the show since they were showing off the only new nextgen console, Microsoft stole a whole lot of thunder by unveiling something called “Smart Glass“… This isn’t a new piece of hardware, but instead, most ingeniously, an app you will download onto handheld devices you already own.  Smartphones and tablets alike will be used with Smart Glass to not only provide interactive gaming functions, but also interactive video content and video streaming.  You can watch Game of Thrones and use the app to pull up information about the characters, maps, etc.  I wasn’t clear on if this is an automated process of the app knowing what you’re watching because you told it, or if you’re running the video via the app – but it was impressive that Microsoft used the power of existing hardware instead of introducing a new accessory.

Sony was the quietest of the three companies largely pimping upcoming games (‘Last Of Us’ looked very nice) and working very hard to breathe life into the Vita handheld device.  Sony has a lot of problems right now, and their stock price is showing it.

While there was a lot of beautiful preview videos, trailers and demos of some upcoming games, everyone knew that what the 2012 E3 really was going to be is exactly what it ended up being – a holdover to 2013.

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E3 Is Happening This Week

Its the week video gamers wait for all year – with birthdays and Christmas as exceptions – E3 is happening out on the west coast.

The big news is that Nintendo has already pulled a fast one by releasing a “pre-direct” video (gotta love Japanese literalness) with the company president showing off their new gaming console, the Nintendo U.

As for Sony and Microsoft, do not expect much – or anything at all – about next gen consoles.  A Playstation4 or Xbox720 are most likely a year out, but maybe one or both of them might try to squirt water on Nintendo’s week by at least sneaking something about what is in store. I won’t try and do too much predicting as there are many, far better, sites that are already doing this for you.  But there is some obvious ground to cover.

Microsoft:  Halo4.  That’s going to be the big one.  After that it will be trying to mine a game that really takes the Kinect to the next level.  Microsoft’s motion controller is very nice and very high tech, but it just hasn’t landed THAT game which captures the general public and hard core gamers alike.  There probably will be XboxLive developments, and theres some talk about a multi-platform app that will allow users to stream video content from a smartphone/tablet to the Xbox360, ala Apple’s Airplay.

Sony: The big machine has some serious work to do with Vita.  The newest handheld device is struggling in sales and Sony has a lot invested in it.  Sony will probably spend a lot of their time showing off how Vita can be a cross platform gaming device/controller in the same vein as the new Nintendo U Game pad.  While we will most likely see exciting new titles for the Playstation3, a lot of time will be spent showing off the new games coming for the Vita – giving people a reason to spend the money on the pricey device.

Games:  Look out for Call of Duty: Black Ops2, Dead Space 3, FIFA13, Star Trek: The Game – and there is a buzz that a sneak peek of Grand Theft Auto V will appear this week as well.

The outstanding Guysgirl.com will have live coverage of each of the big three’s presentations, and you should go follow her and talk games with her.

 

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