The 2010 Electronics Entertainment Expo has come and gone and has left us with a plethora of information to sit and digest. The annual convention is one of the most exciting few days of the year for the video game industry, as companies from around the world converge on the Los Angeles Convention Center to peddle their wares and show off the future of gaming. AnalogHype.com had this year’s event covered across the board, from the showroom floor to the smorgasbord of press releases and game trailers that have weighed down our inboxes, and with time to sit down and take it all in, it’s time to go over what we really learned at this year’s show.
3D Is The Future Of Gaming – All three major platforms had a heavy emphasis on 3D gaming, with Nintendo even unleashing hardware specifically dedicated to it. I guess I get all the hype, but it’s not for me. I’ve played around with some stuff in 3D and it was cool, but I just can’t picture myself wearing those damn glasses every time I play. What makes it even worse is that just about every pair I have seen or tried on seem to think they are from Back To The Future. Ultra slim and all box looking. If I am going to wear 3D glasses, I want them aviator style, or better yet, like those glasses Bret the Hitman Hart used to give out to kids back in the 80’s. Totally covering every aspect of my peripheral vision. I don’t want any daylight. Maybe something like that is available, but I haven’t seen it. This technology may be a little ahead of its time, because the price of 3D TV’s is pretty astronomical, but I am sure it is a push in the right direction. With Nintendo’s 3DS, I know it is going to sell like hot cakes and I am totally down with the concept and all, I just can’t see myself getting into playing on a 4 inch screen when I am looking at a 60 inch beast sitting in my living room.
Everyone Wants That Sweet Casual Pie – While the hardcore gamer got more than their fair share of shine this week, the real target audience of this convention was the soccer moms and non-traditional gamers of the world. Nintendo continued their effort to push the market, and by unleashing the Kinect and Move respectively, Microsoft and Sony threw their hat in the ring in an attempt to start stealing a chunk of Nintendo’s market. What neither company seem to understand is the formula that has made Nintendo so successful: cost certainty. It doesn’t matter how many bells and whistles the Playstation 3 or XBox 360 come with, when you stack everything necessary together for those consoles to perform like a Wii, there is still a $250-300 difference in price. The casual market is not going to pay that unless some sleezy Best Buy sales person can sneak it in with a TV purchase.
Nintendo Doesn’t Give A Shit About You – And quite frankly, why should they? If someone can tell me why they need to pay attention to us hardcore gamers, I’d really like to know, because right now and over the last few years, Nintendo is making money hand over fist without us. Gamers are a funny breed, because we want to be the center of attention and have our every hope and dream catered to. Sure, they come across as unappreciative jerk-offs by forgetting the fact that it was this generation of gamers that gave them life in the 80’s and kept them alive when they had no answer for the Playstation, but their market is and always has been kids, and they are cashing in on that market to the max. There are some amazing characters and stories in the annals of Nintendo lineage, and I know I am right there with most people in wanting to see Zelda, Kid Icarus, Metroid and a few others get the type of articulation they deserve, but it’s just not going to happen because they haven’t been given a reason to make it happen. Can you imagine Zelda getting Final Fantasy 13 level graphics? Metroid gone Fallout 3? It’s amazing to think of the possibilities. Unfortunately, it’ll have to live on in our fantasies. I know I highlighted the massive price differences in the previous paragraph, but maybe things will change if Sony and Microsoft can actually make a dent in Nintendo’s demographic with their motion technology.
Microsoft Doesn’t Know How To Play With A Lead – The ultimate choke job of 2010 was turned in by Microsoft. The company has been able to surge to the lead of the HD console war in spite of the RROD plague that marred the XBox 360 early on, and that lead thus far has been pretty well deserved. Clearly there has been a lot of looking over their shoulder along the way, and they did themselves no favors with their showing at this year’s E3. In the past, Microsoft has been able to score major points with their conference and event, but this year, they totally jumped the shark. Now I can see where they may have thought putting on a show with Cirque du Soleil looked good on paper, but the execution played out like nothing more than a Billy Mays infomercial produced for MTV. LED Ponchos? Really? Whoring out the video game journalist for the sake of theatrics was probably not a good idea, and it made them the butt of many jokes for the rest of the convention. Making matters worse was their very lackluster showing during their conference. This was a year where a solid chunk of their campaign was not directed at the audience at this convention, and they did a very bad job of making us forget.
Playstation Plus Is A Total Joke – While just about everything Sony touched this week turned to gold, it is pretty tough to ignore this epic turd they dropped on their customers. Sony decided the time was right to get some of that sweet subscription service money from their currently non-paying customers, and quite frankly, I don’t blame them. I happily pay for my XBox Live and I have no interest in changing that any time soon. With pricing being the same, the differences between the paying and non-paying service levels on the Playstation Network just don’t seem worth the price of admission to me. Sure, a free PSN title every month sounds great in theory, but what if this month the game is awful? While they didn’t go into details on just how that part of the program would work, I can assure you that buyers will not be able to simply pick a game they can get for free every month. No way. Early access to demos? Look, companies aren’t going to stop releasing playable demoes, and if you REALLY need them a few days or even a week early, you deserve to get raped for $50. So maybe the fully playable demo before I buy feature is the one that will hook me in. Wait, you get a one hour time limit? What’s the point? I have already read people justifying this by saying that demoes are too scripted and to be able to actually be able to play what you are going to buy is awesome, but is it really worth paying money to have the option? I don’t think there is anything that an hour of gameplay can show me that any other demo couldn’t. So where is the appeal? They still haven’t given users game chat, so when I am playing my favorite first person shooter with my clan that rolls up to eight deep, the really still expect me to do it in silence? You would think that with a subscription based service, this would have been their number one focus with a bullet. But nope. Not Sony. And I haven’t even gotten into the most magical words of the whole announcement, that the content acquired while a member of the Playstation Plus program would be available to the user “as long as they are a member.” So you’re telling me that after a year of paying for this crap, that when I wake up and smell the coffee and realize it is a waste of money for what I am getting, that I am going to lose everything I paid for? Homey don’t play that. I have a feeling that this program is going to get off to a very rough start, and Playstation 3 owners are going to gradually see features that were previously free start moving into the paid subscription plan. Hey, it’s just business.
The Shooter Is Still King – I counted no less than 673 different shooter style IP’s announced and demonstrated over the course of the conference. There may have actually been more, but I stopped counting. First person, third person, I am sure there was even a fifth person shooter shown and I don’t even know what the hell that means. I think I even saw a Mario Brothers shooter from Nintendo. See, who said they don’t care about the hardcore gamers? It’s pretty clear that this genre of games is going to be smashed on the public for quite the distant future, so we might as well embrace it.
Everyone Disrespects Treyarch – Here is one that I just don’t get. It is my opinion that the best game shown all weekend was Call Of Duty: Black Ops. This was one of the few wins for the Microsoft press event. The graphics were beautiful, the gameplay seemed intense, and Treyarch really seems to be coming into their own as a Call Of Duty developer. Then I started to read the comments, and let’s be honest, these comments predate E3, it’s something I’ve been reading for a while. Most of them start with “but it’s fucking Treyarch.” Yeah, and? I hate to break it to you fanboys, but World At War slays the ever loving shit out of Modern Warfare 1 or 2. Yup, I just went there. Now I know you guys like your super automatic weapons and massive rocket launchers and AC130’s, but I will take the multiplayer in World At War over every single map pack that Infinity Ward is making you pay twice for. Give me my tanks any day. I understand the appeal of modern combat as opposed to another World War 2 game, but comparing apples to apples, I’m with Treyarch. I have fallen out of love with the Call Of Duty franchise, and I have nothing but confidence that Treyarch is going to be the one to draw me back in. And hey, all you Call Of Duty fanboys better hope so, because Infinity Ward isn’t going to be coming to save the day ever again. Embrace Treyarch, because they are the future of the franchise, and they have done everything in their power to deserve it.
Invading America Is The New Post-Apocalyptic – Get ready for it folks, because you’re going to start seeing a ton of games bringing the war stateside. It started with Modern Warfare 2, it continued with Battlefield: Bad Company 2, and it will carry on with a host of other games like Crysis 2, Homefront, Vanquish and Front Mission Evolved. There may have been a few others, but I stopped paying attention. That’s not to say there won’t still be an over-abundance of the post-apocalypse brought pushed on us, but a new trend is emerging, and it ends with America smoldering in ruins. It’s kind of funny actually, because I never thought I’d see a war fought in the parking lot of a Lumber Liquidators. Thanks Homefront.
Promises Are Already Being Broken – It takes a special kind of asshole to make a promise during your E3 press event and have it broken before you even get home from the conference. Such is life for Electronic Arts, who are the kings of screwing everything up in this industry. Their latest dose of epic failure came at the hands of the highly anticipated Medal Of Honor. One of their big announcements was for a special multiplayer beta that would be available on June 21st. Now I know what some of you are saying: “but Jay, it’s only June 18th.” I know! But they also promised everyone that had already preordered the game, along with Battlefield: Bad Company 2 VIP’s a special early entry into the demo on June 17th. Not only has the entire thing been a huge clusterfuck, but XBox 360 users have been locked out of the event completely, to the point where the June 21st beta start has been pushed back to an undisclosed time. Way to drop the ball EA. What was even most hysterical was the instant crash the website for their newly announced Gun Club received upon announcement. They let the URL hang on the screen for a few minutes, and instantaneously the entire internet tried to hit the site. While I can actually access the site itself now, I am still unable to log in three days later. Not a good week for a franchise trying to steal Call Of Duty’s crown.
But Wait, I Thought… – There was a lot of speculation amongst the internet community about games and platforms that may or may not be unveiled or shown off at this year’s convention that never saw the light of day. Elder Scrolls V? Nope. Grand Theft Auto 5? Negative. PSP2 and the WiiHD? Nada. It begs the question of where some of these rumors came from. Clearly once something gets mentioned on the internet, it is open season and from there, it can take a wild fire effect. Some bits of speculation got carried away and confusion ensued. Some companies didn’t even bother showing up. The one that boggles my mind is Rockstar. I realize that everyone pretty much knows about Red Dead Redemption at this point, but it boggles my mind that they were willing to pack their bags and fly cross country to Boston for PAX East, but couldn’t be bothered to drive two hours up the road to LA for the biggest press events of the year. Even if it was just one dude sitting on an empty bucket with a cardboard box full of fliers, I have to imagine any press is good press, right? And maybe they’re not ready to let the Grand Theft Auto 5 cat out of the bag yet, but didn’t Sony say they were working on Agent at last year’s E3? What is going on with Agent? I can’t even tell you how many people asked that question during the Sony chat. Hey, it’s their decision, and they will have to live with it, but I question their strategy on this one.
It’s Going To Be A Good Year –Even with all the stuff that didn’t happen, the stuff that did was pretty epic. With each trailer and press release and presentation that passed by, I watched imaginary dollar signs dance in my head while I tried to figure out just how the hell I am going to pay for all this stuff. I got excited for Star Wars: The Old Republic and The Force Unleashed II. Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood blew my mind. Sony’s press conference convinced me it was time to own a Playstation 3. Call Of Duty: Black Ops has me ready to step out of my self-imposed COD retirement. Some newer IP’s totally caught my eye, including Homefront, XCOM and Front Mission Evolved. Fallout: New Vegas has me contemplating giving the series another try. At the end of the day, there was something for everyone at E3, and while everyone tries to jockey for position between Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft, the end reality is that we the consumer are the true winners.
Nice Guys Finish Last – I feel bad for our own DJ Krome. He went out of his way to help some people, who will remain nameless, even though they put him through a lot of drama leading up to E3. A lot of people gave Krome advice to drop the extra room and move on from these people who had previously spent weeks either blasting him or flat out ignoring him. It was only when they realized that they were stuck in LA roomless that they came crawling back to Krome for help. I was very vocal about him doing the right thing and making sure they were taken care of, because no matter what he said, not going through with his word would look bad on everyone. So Krome did the right thing, got the extra room and that was that. It was explained that Krome and Keem were arriving in LA a day before them, and in order to get their discount, both rooms would have to be on the same bill and checked into together. That seems like… I don’t know, pretty Captain Obvious to me, but maybe I’m the asshole. Or maybe not, because this was agreed upon before anyone left for LA. So everyone gets to LA, the crew check in and grab the extra room and give the parties involved their key when they get there the next day. Apparently Krome had some of the money up front, but not all of it. The main culprit then spent the next few days completely ignoring and avoiding Krome and likely would have tried to duck out of town completely if not for the fact that the rooms were side by side. Long story short, the final bill came to $581. Krome was given $417 and told they would only be paying for the days they were there. This is bullshit. Now Krome is struggling to put together the last few dollars to check out, and still have enough money to hitch a cab to the airport, all while this broad and her crew are rolling out the excuse wagon as to why they can’t pay the full bill.
Krome is way too good a dude to make a big deal about this publically, but I’m not. In my short time as a member of this site, I have been absolutely blown away by the amount of jealousy and hatred that has been spewed towards Krome, and the fact that he has been capable of just letting it bounce off and hit the floor. The fact that Krome is currently standing in a hotel lobby trying to figure things out is unacceptable. If this group of people don’t have a job that affords them to be able to travel to E3 and take care of their business, they shouldn’t be there. Krome could have completely cut them off from the start, which anyone else wearing his shoes would have done, but he didn’t, because that is the type of person he is. The last time things started to get heated, we decided to take the high road and let it slide. No more. The gloves are off and we will not, I repeat, WILL NOT stand here and be disrespected like this anymore. The identities of the parties involved are going to remain anonymous for the time being. Not that it helps Krome now, but I EXPECT they will do the right thing and get Krome the money he is owed when they get home. If not… it’s clobberin’ time.
I hate to end this article on such a down note, but this had to be done. People need to be put on notice. The days of being Mr. Nice Guy are over. We conduct our business the right way, and we expect others to do the same. It’s getting harder and harder to take people at their word in this game, and that is truly unfortunate. We are a group of good people doing what we love and willing to bend over backwards to help anyone, regardless of how many times they have done us wrong. It makes it easier to sleep at night knowing you did the right thing, and as much as it sucks for Krome right now to be going through this situation, I want the world to know he did the right thing, and he flat out does not deserve to be treated like this. Adrian Pottinger is a good dude and I am privileged to call him my friend. I guess you live and you learn…
This review was originally written by me for analoghype.com.