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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Thoughts about E3 so far...

From Extremetech:

Heading into E3…

It's kind of frightening to think that, even though we've already been subjected to countless game announcements, trailers, promos, and promises, E3 hasn't really begun yet. The show floor opens tomorrow morning, and it's then that we'll get our hands on some of these games and get more in-depth demos where we can ask questions of the publishers and developers.

So who "won" the great Press Conference Battle of 2006? It's hard to say. Sony really didn't impress very many people. Most of the games they showed didn't seem all that compelling, and nothing real-time even came close to living up to the rendered videos from last year that were supposed to show what the PS3 will be able to do. The technology inside the box is exciting, but the price is a real problem. Given that the $500 model seems to lack Wi-Fi, HDMI, and memory card readers (features Sony has been crowing about for a year), the $600 price tag looks ever the more necessary—and scary. There will certainly be a scarcity of units for the first couple months, which means that most sales will come as bundles. Will anyone be able to get a PS3 and not spend $800 or more?

Nintendo has a hard sell. It's hard to show people a game and say "it's not about how it looks, it's about how it feels to play it." It may very well come out of E3 with more buzz than any other console manufacturer, but it will have to earn that with the playable demos on the show floor, not with the rhetoric from the press conference. And we still don't know the price or release date. If using the funky new controller is really that great, and the system sells for around $200, they could have a big winner on their hands. That's a lot of "ifs," though.

Microsoft had a great conference from the perspective of showing that its system, even though it beat the others to market by a year, is very much a next-generation experience. They kind of blew it by showing too many rendered marketing trailers and not enough real live gameplay. We expect to see rendered cinematics for games that are a year or more away, but those shipping this fall should have been live gameplay demos. The Live Anywhere announcement is absolutely fantastic news, and we can't wait to hear more specific details.

Stay tuned over the next couple days—we'll be updating several times a day with our own impressions of the games we see at the show. And be sure to check out 1up for up-to-the minute news, screenshots, trailers, etc.

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