Sony unveiled the PSP Go, a motion controller, and a slew of impressive titles–including a new one from Rockstar, creators of the Grand Theft Auto franchise–during today’s E3 video game expo. While Nintendo, maker of the leading Wii console, failed to generate much enthusiasm at its press conference.
Nintendo had a tough act to follow, with lots of big news coming out of Microsoft’s Xbox 360 event yesterday. Nintendo showed Wii Motion Plus, an update to the existing controller. Wii Fit Plus, also an update. And Wii Sports Resort, an update to their popular sports title that adds archery and three-point basketball to the mix. In other words, not much new–even if the games will sell a gajillion copies.
Nintendo did reveal that several new DS games will include user-generated content that can be shared wirelessly or downloaded from the DSi store (including Wario Ware DYI and animation creator FlipNotes Studio). And the DSi will soon being able to upload photos to Facebook, continuing E3’s social media sharing trend.
The weirdest introduction was of a Wii Vitality Sensor: A plastic cap that goes over your finger to measure your pulse. But, unlike Microsoft’s grander Project Natal announcement, there were no demos or videos of games shown. It remains to be seen how developers could use it to enhance games.
Thankfully Nintendo also introduced two new Mario titles: Super Mario Galaxy 2 and New Super Mario Bros. for the Wii. And James Patterson’s Women’s Murder Club, which is a unique title catering to female gamers, looks promising. The real surprise was Metroid: Other M, a new title in the series that promises more story than any of the previous Metroid games. With Metroid, Nintendo closed with a bang, even if it was a staid showing overall.
Sony fared better at its presser. The diversity of games was impressive, featuring demos and new footage of anticipated titles including God of War 3, and the 256-player M.A.G., as well as surprise titles Final Fantasy XIV Online, Agent from Rockstar, and Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker for PlayStation Portable. The montage of videos was almost overwhelming, a barrage of exclusive and non-exclusive titles.
PlayStation Portable Go was unveiled, to the surprise of no one. Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Kaz Hirai called it, “The worst kept secret of E3.” All the leaked details were proven true, with an October 1 launch at $249. Kazunori Yamauchi introduced long-delayed Gran Turismo PSP, which would be released the same day as the PSP Go. The PSP will also support direct downloads of videos, rather than only from the PS3 or a PC, including content from new partners like Showtime, E!, and UFC.
Then Sony trotted out its new Motion Controller. Two developers came on stage and held little wands with glowing balls on the end which glowed different colors. The PlayStation Eye camera tracked the balls in three dimensions, and mimicked the movement on screen. They swung weapons, picked up objects, painted graffiti, and fought skeletons in a series of demos. But the tech felt unpolished compared to Microsoft’s Project Natal. The strange looking wands were referred to as, “Engineering Prototypes”–meaning we’re not likely to see them in stores this year.
But Sony overcame the awkwardness of the Motion Controller and rounded out with a good showing–even if they failed to announce the hoped for slim model PlayStation or even a price cut for the existing PS3.