Quick Notes: E3 Edition

E3 is currently being washed away by WWDC announcements, which basically sums up the whole show. Apple rules the planet. Granted, both Sony and Microsoft are mere months away from revealing their next consoles. Due to this, E3 was a dull event as the titans pretended it’s business as usual. Please disperse, nothing to see here.

Anyway–some notes:

Both Nintendo and Microsoft are trying to marginalize the tablet.

Nintendo’s Wii U and Microsoft’s Smart Glass initiatives are trying to present the tablet as some kind of second class citizen to the all important console.

This isn’t going to work. No amount of positioning will change the inevitable. As we’ve seen, iPad sales records shatter those of recent handheld consoles. The Vita and 3DS are canaries in the coal mine, foreshadowing a potential tablet future for even AAA gaming.

No New IPs By Any Means Necessary

The final year of a console cycle is a suicidal time to launch a new IP. Your $50 million investment in a new franchise will be eclipsed by next generation platforms in under a year. This year’s trick is to make brand new games under the monikers of old IPs.

It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but God of War: Ascension, Dead Space 3, and Resident Evil 6 might as well be entirely new games given how different they are from their predecessors. Sony’s heavily promoted PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale is a buffet of classic Sony IPs in a totally new game. Sort of a creative way to solve this problem.

Bethesda isn’t scared–they are launching the brilliant Dishonored this fall. I got a chance to play it and it’s a great stealth action game in the same vein as the Thief series. I dig it. I hope enough people buy it to keep this type of game alive.

Whistling by the Graveyard?

Aside from Disney, Major console publishers seemed to ignore the last 3 years of game trends with barely a hint of mobile or social products at their booths. On the platform side, Sony’s own statements prove they don’t understand the gravity of the situation. Although, Sony did allocate a lot of booth space to CCP’s f2p shooter, Dust 514.

Still, The HUGE presence of Wargaming.net, GREE, Crytek’s Warface and countless other f2p, mobile, and social startups is undeniable.

A lot of journalists are complaining that the relative lack of mobile and social at E3 means the show needs to change. Presenting at E3 is a needless expense for mobile social developers who don’t need to impress buyers or the press. They go directly to users. Zynga’s absence makes sense. They need to appeal directly to their revenue source–the players themselves. For this reason, PAX is the new conference you use to launch a game not trapped on a retailer’s shelf.

E3 Favorite Game: Metal Gear Rising. Platinum has never made a bad game. Metal Gear Rising looks beautiful and the slicing mechanic is a great hook. Although I managed to crash the 360 demo by cutting up a Metal Gear Ray into itty bitty pieces. Who thought it was possible to make Raiden actually cool?

E3 Missed Opportunity: Bohemia Interactive–They just don’t get it. The Day Z mod for ArmaII is the hottest new thing in PC games, yet their booth didn’t have a hint of it. Instead they were promoting Arma III and Carrier Command. Two games nobody cares about. Day Z is white hot and they should be capitalizing on the opportunity by turning it into a polished commercial product. They seem utterly clueless.

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