E3 2012 Big Three Retrospective (Or, What Do Gamers Want From Games?)

After sitting in two chatrooms, a few threads, and my Twitter feed during these last two days of E3 (and pre-E3) conferences and seeing 90% hatred for everything, I’m starting to wonder what the gaming community expects from the console manufacturers these days.

Sony and Microsoft show hardware and apps: everyone wanted more games. Nintendo shows games: they’re boring Mario and casual games, show more hardcore games. But wait, didn’t the earlier conferences show some games typically touted as AAA or hardcore? Oh no, those are brown shooting games, we don’t want those, show other games. Sports? Nope. I think the biggest cheers I saw were for Rayman Legends (which got flak for having gimmicks with that one Bit.Trip Runner-esque stage).

So what the hell do gamers want? Maybe the expectations are too high these days, but do people really expect a Mario AND a Zelda AND a Metroid AND something new at a Nintendo system launch? What more can you squeeze out of the PS3 and 360 at this point in the lifecycle? And it’s expected that companies will play it safe with sequels to proven franchises. Those Call of Duty games are gonna be bought by the fans no matter how much everyone else hates them.

Maybe the communities I’m in skew too niche in terms of the kinds of games we play. But JRPGs typically don’t rear their heads at E3, especially at the video conferences, unless Square-Enix has something major (Atlus did email out a few good announcements, though). Even then, you probably won’t be seeing any new titles from the smaller Japanese companies revealed here.

Do gamers want to be pleased by everything shown at the conferences? I’d assume so, since as soon as the Wii Fit U and other “casual gimmick” games showed on the stream, the chat exploded in “NOOOO”s. I’ll have to say when my mom played Wii Fit, she loved it to the point where she considered buying a second system for herself. Another friend of mine loved playing Just Dance with her classmates. Nintendo tapped into a market that helped them with the Wii, and it’d be stupid if they completely abandoned it. And after all, we can’t predict the future. We don’t know the price of the Wii U or its games, or even a solid launch date. We can’t see a year from now what games will be out.

Where does that leave Sony and Microsoft? My personal belief is they’re in a weird spot right now. There’s some more high-selling sequels due out, but even if they claim a ten year lifecycle, they’re obviously getting ready to reveal their next consoles sometime in 2013. Until then, seeing them keep carrying the games their main users play is just fine. The social integration I honestly don’t care about, but it seems EVERY device, not just game consoles, is heading in that direction.

After all of this, is the question in the post title answered? No, not at all, because I still don’t know what gamers want these days. The platforming kings that dominated the 90s are said to be too casual and played out now, but the shooters that are dominating the 00s and 10s are getting old and are more of a war to who can make the most realistic textures and models. Sports games are for sports fans, exercise and singing games are for grandma, and RPGs are for weeaboos and people are sick of their numbers invading other games.

So then tell me, what do you want? What else can they give you?

E3 2009: Microsoft vs Nintendo vs Sony

After not caring about E3 for a few years, I decided to watch the three big press conferences this year. Well, I’m quite glad I did! Here’s what I thought:

Microsoft: I’m a bit biased against them because I don’t and never have owned any of their consoles. But the games they showed off were quite pretty, even if they seemed to be all sequels (but that was a running trend in all three conferences, I think). So I really didn’t care about the games since I won’t buy any. Now, Project Natal, on the other hand, was pretty damn amazing. It’ll be interesting to see if it does anything to the younger/older crowd when it’s released, which I don’t think it will be before next E3. This one kept me pretty interested the whole time, though I’d look away during the games

Nintendo: Oooooo, Nintendo. I love Nintendo. Mostly. LOTS of stuff about Wii Fit, Wii Sports Resort…the casual things that I’m meh about. My mom likes this kind of stuff though, even though she doesn’t want to spend $90 on Wii Fit. Now THEY had games I cared about! New Super Mario Bros. Wii looks fun (I’ve never played the DS version), especially with multiplayer available. And the Koopalings are back AND apparently the Yoshi’s make SMW-style Yoshi noises :3 Super Mario Galaxy 2 is a maybe, considering that it’s only 90% new levels and looks like a SMG expansion pack. Metroid: Other M looks BEAUTIFUL, and I’ve only played one Metroid game (Zero Mission) DS games…well, Golden Sun DS is an INSTANT preorder for me. I swore they were talking about Dragon Quest until they said “6 years” and then I was like “hmmm”. … >> << EEEEEEE YES SO EXCITED. Uh…lol vitality thing, my mom found that a bit scary, and…that's about it.

Sony: To be honest, I was falling asleep at this point (haven’t been feeling well recently) and I had to leave before the end to deliever some meds to my friend. They started with boring numbers, but I was happy that they acknowledged the PS2’s existence 🙂 PSP Go wasn’t anything new, but LOL $250 PRICE TAG. It’s the new “five-hundred ninety-nine US dollars”! Feeling sorry for the Yerps that have to pay 250 Euros, too. Final Fantasy XIII and The Last Guardian look DAMN pretty, and I want them because it’s so pretty. Final Fantasy XIV was out of left field and actually looks like a fantasy game…but it’s Online. And that sucks. Wonder what’ll happen to FF11 when that’s released? Sony also had some new motion controller thing that I didn’t catch much of, apparently it looks like a dildo? I guess motion controls are the new big thing that every company wants to do, since the Wii did it and the Wii prints money.

Overall? Tech-wise it’s Microsoft > Nintendo > Sony. Game-wise it’s Nintendo > Sony > Microsoft.