The unspoken truths of E3 2009

E3 is an explosion of information, and if you’re at its epicenter you’re likely to be momentarily blinded by the brilliant flash of gaming dynamite. But as the smoke clears and the debris falls back to Earth, the smoggy LA landscape becomes littered with questions. Now that we’ve had some time to pick through the remains of E3’s decadence, here’s what we’ve deduced.

Exclusive announcement deals are silly

Console exclusives are silly on their own, but even sillier are exclusive announcements. You must have noticed that Metal Gear Solid: Rising was announced at Microsoft’s conference, but despite being multiplatform, wasn’t even acknowledged by Sony. As was The Beatles: Rock Band. Sony, on the other hand, got a big Assassin’s Creed II trailer, while Microsoft ignored the game’s entire existence.

Above: Exclusive game? No. Exclusive announcement? Stupid

It makes sense to distribute gameplay footage to different conferences – no one wants to see the same presentation twice, but the fact that Microsoft and Sony didn’t even make reference to any of the multiplatform games showcased at their rival’s conferences suggests that backroom deals were made. We can’t say for sure whether or not money exchanged hands for these exclusive announcements, but it’s not as if the industry is above it.

Sony’s crowd was unusually raucous

Roughly the same group of writers and editors attend each conference, so when the crowd reacts with only moderate enthusiasm to the biggest announcements from Microsoft and Nintendo, but goes absolutely ape-shit over every tiny bit of PS3 news (not PSP, the crowd was quiet for that), we get a bit suspicious.

The Uncharted 2 demo was amazing, but did every little glance at the landscape warrant cheering and uncontrollable applause? Again, we can’t say for sure that there were plants in the audience, but it’s not as if Sony hasn’t pulled silly “guerilla marketing” stunts before.

Above: This should be the look on the face of anyone covering all three conferences – beaten, tired, and ready to be cynical

Before the “bias train” rolls in to toot its angry horn at us, we wouldn’t put it above Microsoft or Nintendo to pull the same crap – we just happened to notice it at Sony’s conference the most. Maybe it was just the mimosas served beforehand.

Everyone is jumping on the “me too!” motion-control train, they know it’s shameless, and they don’t care

Microsoft and Sony might not admit that they saw Nintendo’s success, decided they wanted a piece of the pie, and then immediately began developing their own motion control systems, but that’s exactly what happened. And they don’t care how much we’ve criticized Nintendo for abandoning its diehard fans, and they don’t care whether or not you can actually make entertaining, deep games using this technology, and they don’t care if their systems become flooded with awful, gimmicky games. In fact, they’re totally cool with all of that, as long as they can print money.

It doesn’t mean they aren’t trying. Project Natal has promise, though we’re still not sure that it can replace the relaxing feeling of sitting back with a regular, old-school controller. Sony’s glowing balls look impressive as well, but again, with all this technology, very few seem to be asking, “Uh, hey, does anyone really want to stand in front of their TV and swing this thing around?”

Above: The future of gaming?

You’d think Wii’s success has already answered that question, but it really hasn’t. Nintendo marketed Wii brilliantly - so brilliantly that I had to get one for my mom for her birthday. Guess what’s collecting dust?

Above: Hint – it’s this

So is motion control the wave of the future? Maybe, but they’ll have to find a way to make it more than just a gimmick, and that’s not what they care about right now – right now they care about making sure the bandwagon doesn’t leave without them.

Ever want to see the bottom of your avatar’s foot? BAM! Yeah, that’s gaming.

The PS3 could always access Facebook and Twitter

The integration of Facebook and Twitter was a good move for Microsoft - these services will be used. Hey, sometimes the laptop is across the room, the 360’s already on…so why not see who’s eating Shabu Shabu or “OMG had a crazy day! Lol!” as long as you don’t have to get up?

But of course, the PS3 already has a web browser. Unfortunately, Sony hasn’t been great about marketing all of the PS3’s features, and the UI isn’t the most intuitive. The PS3 is powerful, and it does a helluva lot, but because it isn’t being promoted as a user-friendly entertainment device, Microsoft gets cheers for announcing support for something the PS3 could do all along. This industry is more and more about marketing.

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  • jar-head - June 16, 2009 4:20 a.m.

    GR is the future of game, Everything. how abotu htat?
  • MoonPig - June 15, 2009 11:10 a.m.

    imo, E3 should be in coventry in the UK. also, motion control sucks, real games FTW
  • Demonflare - June 13, 2009 2:03 p.m.

    Nothing but bam
  • NanoElite666 - June 13, 2009 3:32 a.m.

    @NeoKef: Nice Megadeth reference there. \m/
  • mertor3190 - June 12, 2009 9:41 p.m.

    Man they should have E3 in San Diego, SO THAT I CAN ACTUALLY GO. and oh yeah i didnt knew MGS Rising wasn exclusive. cool
  • ELpork - June 12, 2009 7:07 p.m.

    Ugh.... The sad part is that the only way "I" could see Burnout revenge with the new 360 motion..... thing was threw Jimmy fallen...... why?
  • Ravenbom - June 12, 2009 4:01 p.m.

    I thought there was a 10 year deal to keep E3 in LA at the Staples Center? I don't think it's going to move to SF anytime soon. Especially when the Staples Center and Downtown LA really want that business. Plus, I think E3 is supposed to garner mainstream press, more so than games journalism, and they're all based out of LA.
  • Urbansamuri47 - June 12, 2009 3:01 p.m.

    i dont care about all this motion stuff. what ever happened to the aspect of acctual games??? i wanna see more games and less bs. nintendo inperticular. i was one of its biggest fans and now i feel like i was traded out along with the rest of the die hards for just more money and press. come on, isnt E3 supposed to be about what new titles are gonna be coming out?
  • DrRock - June 12, 2009 1:05 p.m.

    That pic of Brett is hilarious. He's totally got the hundred yard stare that soldiers get in the battlefield.
  • The_Lurcher - June 12, 2009 10:59 a.m.

    Ok I understand that that your annoyed how microsoft, sony and nintendo neglected their Third party freinds this year. However with thing's like Nintendo's conference if they had shown their 3rf party games it would end up being ten minuites of people exclaiming "PARTY" and "IMAGINE" and possibly a few pictures of Ferne Cotton
  • NipplesTheSuperHippo - June 12, 2009 4:30 a.m.

    BAM . . . there it is! It will never get old. Just like Spikey headed Wii music guy who waits for cheers and never gets them, giant monster crab/lobster thing . . . that was real 0.o, and RIGE RACERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!
  • AntistaIsTheLight - June 12, 2009 4:23 a.m.

    @Samuel:While the Wii does have a browser,well...It sucks.Also,speaking of Wii,can YOU see the bottom of a MII's shoe?No,i thought not.
  • nik41507 - June 12, 2009 2:46 a.m.

  • nik41507 - June 12, 2009 2:46 a.m.

    really. picking on LA
  • NeoKef - June 12, 2009 2:30 a.m.

    Wii sells...but whose buying? People who like trends, that's who. Motion control does nothing but collect dust to my friends who aren't hardcore gamers.
  • NanoElite666 - June 12, 2009 2:06 a.m.

    I can think of one multi-platform game that had a multi-conference showing, and that was Final Fantasy XIII at both Microsoft's and Sony's shows. Other than that, nada...
  • Spybreak8 - June 12, 2009 2 a.m.

    Sony's motion control demo with 2 guys with glowing dildos made me really laugh.
  • thor0997 - June 12, 2009 12:35 a.m.

    Yea motion control is going to be the new live action video. Cool trend then rapid fall.
  • georgeguy - June 12, 2009 12:04 a.m.

    @fionnoh but it cost money now doesnt it?
  • GamesRadarTylerWilde - June 11, 2009 11:36 p.m.

    "Disregarding the ball wand, hadn't Sony been working on motion control for many, many years prior to the Sixaxis? And wasn't the Sixaxis technically released before the Wiimote?" @Sabatos Sure, Microsoft has been working on it too. But you don't think it's interesting that a year after the Wii, Microsoft comes out at E3 and says, "OH SHIT AVATARS YALL!" and two years after both Microsoft and Sony go "LOOKATOURMOTIONCONTROLS!!!!!" No? Doesn't matter when they started working on them, what matters is that now is the time they've decided to embrace them as the future of gaming.

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