Alec and I spent the last week in sunny, sunny LA at E3, the video game press hoedown. And we got some press! Specifically, there is a kick ass article on Joystiq by one Alexander Sliwinski reviewing our game, and there is another awesome piece onSBS at PlayStation LifeStyle, courtesy of Josh Fernandes. Rock on!
But you already know about our game if you’re here, and this year had a heavy focus on new gaming hardware, so let’s talk about the stars of the show: the PlayStation Move, the Microsoft Kinect, and the Nintendo 3DS (by the way, how hilarious are the models pretending to use the systems in those links?). I’ve seen a lot of articles and comments around the interwebs claiming that Nintendo “won” the show (if such a thing is possible) with their 3DS, and that the Move and Kinect had a weaker showing. I personally don’t agree with this assessment, as I think that the unveiling of new hardware by Sony and Microsoft shows a shift in their marketing strategies.
Both the Kinect and Move are designed to compete with Nintendo, but in different ways. The XBox is currently a system for “hardcore” gamers, guys who have grown up playing games and still want to spend lots of time with new titles. This reputation may have caused it to do well with men but the system trails with women, especially behind the popular Wii. MS has recently been trying to broaden the scope of who the system appeals to with the addition of Netflix and Facebook to the system, and the Kinect will go even further in this direction. The games coming out on the Kinect aren’t designed for hardcore gamers, they’re designed for their girlfriends, wives, or non-gaming friends. These people think Halo and GTA4 look stupid but might be willing to give a dancing or fitness game a shot. And bridging the gap between gamer and non-gamer can be incredibly important in a home where there are such disparate views on gaming. So think of the Kinect as a “gateway controller” for older non-gamers living with hardcore gamers.
The Move, on the other hand, is designed to capture the hearts and minds of kids. It is a shiny, easily approachable controller for the PS3, complete with a beautiful colored light ball on top. Of the games I saw demoed at E3 a majority were aimed at small children and had child actors playing the games in the trailers. I think that Sony has a long term strategy in mind with the Move wherein they hook small children with the controller now and get them to be PlayStation gamers for life. Look at Nintendo – they have an insanely loyal customer base of fanatics who remembered and loved playing the NES and SNES as children. Sony wants to duplicate that loyalty with the next generation of gamers, and the Move is a salvo designed to hook these children. And with the cheap price point of the controller they just might be able to do it.
I curious how much of an impact the 3DS will ultimately have. There are a lot of DSes out there, and though the 3DS has some cool new features I wonder how quick fans will be to trade in their older version for a new one. Then again people regularly upgrade their iPods, and it doesn’t pay to bet against Nintendo so I’m going to guess that it will turn out to be a hit.
Ultimately I’m incredibly excited about all of these systems and can’t wait to play with them all. It’s going to be a good year for gamers, old and new alike.