Wednesday, June 16, 2010


In the past, the coverage of E3 was something I really looked forward to. After this year, I can honestly say I'm not even remotely interested any more.

Take Microsoft's Press Conference for example. Last year I got excited when they showed off 'Project Natal', a new form of motion control based around a 3D camera.

This year, what was their big reveal? Exactly the same damn thing. Only now they showed how you could navigate the Dashboard and control the playback of your movies and music with gestures and your voice.

That's awesome and everything, but E3 used to be based around "Here's something cool you can buy and play with sometime in the next six to twelve months", and now it appears to be based around "Here's something cool you may be able to buy and play with at some point."

Sony did exactly the same thing with their new motion control…and it wouldn't surprise me if neither were released before the next E3 either.

I wouldn't mind so much if they actually used these press conferences to answer some obvious questions about the products. These are supposed to be press conferences not just live ads.

I mean, I'm still excited to play with Microsoft's offering (now called 'Kinect'), but I have some fairly obvious questions Microsoft didn't even attempt to answer.

For example, their tech works using a 3D camera. I can see that it works perfectly on a brightly lit stage, but how does it work in a dimly lit living room at night…you know, in the place 90% of us actually play games. How far from the camera do you need to be for it to work?

Most importantly, during the entire demo, I noticed the guy was really careful to keep his arms by his sides and his hands below his waist unless he was interacting with the Xbox. They didn't show or mention any obvious way to turn the gesture tracking off. Does that mean if I'm watching a movie and I reach for a drink, I'm going to fast forward the movie? If I'm playing a driving game without a controller like they showed last year, am I suddenly going to spear off the road if someone walks behind me?

Sure, these seem like pretty obvious things, and I'd like to assume there's a voice command or something to stop the cameras looking for commands…but it wouldn't be the first time that I've bought some really cool technology only to discover a fatal flaw that absolutely shouldn't have been there.

The only conference that wasn't too bad was Nintendo's, considering that last year their presentation appeared to be based around "We're rich as fuck and here's a ton of bollocks no gamer is going to be even remotely interested in." This year, tey revealed a lot of new games…but I have a question:

Nintendo, isn't it about time you released some new IP? There wasn't a single game you announced that wasn't a sequel. Don't get complacent. Zelda and Mario are only going to carry you so far.

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