Trending Topics from E3 2009

I’m really proud that I finally got this one written up. The full thing is at NfamousGamers but I posted a larger-than-normal clip below.

e3trends-1

Now that we’ve had a while to wrap our heads around what went down at E3 I thought I’d chime in with a few of the trends I noticed from the show. This is by no means empirical proof, just some things that made me go hmmmm as we head towards 2010.

Motion Control or Nintendo Wins
They may have already won from a shear sales point of view but 2009 is officially the year when Nintendo broke Sony and Microsoft. Both companies, once devout supporters of the “hardcore” audience were fumbling all over their respective stages to flaunt the next level of… motion controls. Congratulations Nintendo, you’ve won it all. Just like the Wii there will no doubt be plenty of games for the core audience that use both Project Natal and Sony’s motion control (please, give it a name already!) but both demos were clearly aimed at a much wider audience, especially Natal.

2010 is going to be the banner year for motion control whether Natal and Sony’s tech make it to store shelves or not. E3 was just the opening salvo in what will become the new ‘we’ve got more bits than you’ technology arms race that has supplanted the time honored war of ‘we’ve got the next new console’ that would normally be happening around this time. It’s actually a good thing as new console announcements at this economic standpoint would probably be a death sentence for The Big Three. Instead they’re relying on less-expensive peripherals to help refresh the current generation of hardware by offering new experiences.

What I wonder about is if all three very unique motion controllers will be any easier to cross-develop for. Porting from the Wii to Xbox 360 requires a lot of controller re-programming but will gyroscopic input be any easier to translate to Natal’s motion tracking camera? Will a game on the Wii feel better than one played with Sony’s tech or will Natal’s “nothing to hold” interface feel the most natural and responsive? We could soon see a return to the days of console exclusives simply because of the disparity between technology.

Proprietary Plastic Peripheral Peril
Motion controls may make our familiar button-riddled controllers obsolete one day but it doesn’t look like game-specific peripherals are going away any time soon. For impact I’ll simply list all the peripherals we heard about at E3 and let you try figure out how you’d store them all in your home.

  • Project Natal camera
  • Wii MotionPlus
  • Wii Vitality Sensor
  • Sony’s Motion Wand/Controller
  • Ubisoft’s Your Shape camera
  • Tony Hawk Ride’s Skateboard
  • The Beatles: Rock Band’s FOUR instruments
  • Squeeballs GameTrak Freedom Wand for Xbox

But wait, there’s even more stuff at NfamousGamers!