E3 2007: Who Won the Press Event (Console) War?

Russ Pitts | 12 Jul 2007 05:29
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The real world translation of Microsoft's press conference is this: "When you buy a 360 this year to play Halo 3, you'll be walking home with the best value in gaming consoles." And honestly, that's not a bad message.

Nintendo, for their part, stayed the course, making practically no waves and breaking absolutely no new ground. And really, who can blame them?

They've currently got the two hottest selling game devices on the planet (the Wii and the DS) and every game they have in development is "in demand." Practically the only thing they can do to ruin the game for themselves at this point is voluntarily step out of the race, and that's just not going to happen.

The momentum Nintendo has accumulated thus far by marketing to the other 90% and polishing their games and hardware until the gleam is easily enough to propel them to the number one spot this round, and may, in the long term, prove as earthshaking as their achievements with the NES console. Not bad for last round's number three. And their press event reflected this reality.

The Wii Fit demo was the only "news" to come out of the event, per se, and even that time was essentially wasted. Wii Fit is guaranteed to be profiled on every major media outlet that covers games, and will be the hottest selling game this holiday season. Hotter even than Halo 3.

Translation of Nintendo's press event: "How awesome is Nintendo? So awesome."

And then there's Sony.

The company has been hemorrhaging money and exclusives at a rate that seems unsustainable to all but the most delusional observer, and the sales of their PS3 have been abysmal. It's quite a feather in their cap that the PS2 continues to be such a beacon of longevity, but when you're the market leader, and your old product continues to outsell the new, you have problems.

The PS3 is a technically impressive device, and Sony appears committed to pushing the envelope with the technology and services. Unfortunately it all appears to be too little too late.

Playstation Network? Microsoft beat you to the punch, and is doing it better than you are.

Motion control? Nintendo nailed it - you didn't.

Handheld? The PSP is a fun, little device, but the emphasis on console-quality experiences in a smaller package has cost you. Nintendo's device, which focuses on original, innovative experiences, is just plain more fun to have in the house.

If Sony's story were a VH1 "Behind the Music" special, this would be the part where we'd say "And then, everything started falling apart." And then go to commercial.

Tretton and Co. were appropriately contrite on stage, and the lavish spread of food and free booze accompanying the posh arcade setup next door to the event stage was almost enough to make me forget I had other places to be, and other companies to see. Almost.

Translation of Sony's event: "Please, please stay here in Culver City with us. We used to have something good. Ike loves you. Ike is the only one who loves you."

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