Thursday, June 9, 2011

In The News/On My Mind: E3 2011 Part 3 (3D and Vita)

If the Microsoft Press conference was "Get A Kinect", then the Sony Press conference can be summed up with "Get a 3DTV and a Move Bundle". Well, I'm selling the PS Vita short (and definitely the highlight of their show), but it makes for a nice intro.

The Playstation 3's software showing, while impressive (Uncharted 3 looks jaw-dropping from start to finish), is just as mediocre as the Microsoft showing: filled with sequels, HD remakes (God of War PSP and Ico/Shadow of Colossus), and, oddly enough, Infamous 2, a game that was released this week. The only real surprise was CCP's Dust 514, and even then, the FPS fatigue has set in so much that I'm not sure if I can bring myself to care. However, Bioshock Infinite looks just as interesting as before, and Sly Cooper Thieves in Time do look fresh and interesting. The heavy emphasis on 3D was so central to the presentation that at one point, Sony unveiled a 24" Playstation branded 3DTV for this. Frankly, the way Sony has behaved in the last year or so has made me feel very uncomfortable about not having a 3DTV, and not in a good way that makes me want to get one, but rather feeling like a second class citizen (which I guess is about the same for any XBox owners without a Kinect).

Playstation Move seems to be getting a big push, but I think even Sony realize they aren't too sure what to do with it. Shooters are obvious, and creating a bundle for Resistance 3 is a smart move (haha, get it), but telling us it's simple to play by dragging out Kobe Bryant (and having it fail on him) wasn't the best showcase of it. Medieval Moves: Deadmund’s Quest looks just as awkward as Fable: The Journey on Kinect, and it's becoming painfully obvious that despite both Sony and Microsoft saying that their technical solution is better (and on paper, they should be), their attempts of motion controls still leaves lots to be desired.

The NGP, or now known as the PS Vita, is the true star of the show. The price ($249/$299) is absolutely fantastic, and should make Nintendo worry about the 3DS's future right about now. Uncharted, Little Big Planet and Wipeout looks fantastic on it, as with the surprise announcement with Street Fighter X Tekken on the system. What's more interesting is the cross compatibility that seems to be a heavy component of all Vita games, essentially letter people take their PS3 games on the go (and vice versa).

For me though, one of the issues I think the Vita will face is still the same problem that the PSP had: Does this matter to your core audience? Is your Playstation home console fan likely to buy a portable system for the same game experience? It was a solid "no" on the PSP, and I have a hard time seeing it happen with the Vita. Sure, Uncharted Golden Abyss is a new title and comes with new story and gameplay, but outside of almost gimmicky touch based controls, is it any different than the home experience? One of the strong points of portable games have always been about pick up and play, and the best handheld titles are always designed with that in mind. While some have been betting on transferring the home console experience over, I'm not sure the market has wanted or needed such types of games.

Handheld systems have always been defined by a breakout title that highlights the system and it's difference to other platforms: the DS has Nintendogs; and the iOS devices have Angry Birds. I hope Sony can find something quickly before this system turns into another "downport machine".

No comments:

Post a Comment