Wednesday, May 10, 2006

E3 Press Conferences... Impressions

I've finally absorbed all 5 or 6 hours of the big pre-E3 press conferences (via GameSpot's streams). I've come away feeling most excited by Ninendo. While I saw very little in terms of what I would consider to be next-gen gameplay from anybody, I did get the sense that Nintendo is most focused on broadening the market in a serious way. They also seemed to be enjoying themselves the most. Microsoft seemed to be focusing very much on what they are doing for gamers. And Sony, inexplicably, seemed to be presenting themselves as computer science gearheads. They showed tech demos and trumpeted the PS3's specs and widgets. It is for this reason that I think they will lose market share in this round.

What Microsoft and Nintendo seem to understand is that it's now all about what you do for people. Technology is only a means to an end. Sony seems to be stuck on the shiny newness of the Cell processor. And then there's the issue of price...

Of course, given the developer support for PS3 and Sony's own track record for putting out amazing games (witness Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, and God of War), I'm sure PS3 will still be a huge success. I just don't think that Sony can maintain its market dominance in the face of competition that is so clearly focused on making the consumer happy.

All in all, I think this is going to be a great generation for gamers. There will be a widening of the market that will only spur demand for innovation. At any price point, there will be a quality experience to be had, from the Wii at about $200 to the PS3 topping out at $600. Between Nintendo's indie-friendly stance and Xbox Live Arcade (not to mention PC), there will be plenty of opportunity for studios with something new and different to bring to the table, and the big boys (I'm looking at you EA) will continue to bring big budget sweetness to the hard-core masses.

I can't wait.


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