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Dee Yun: (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2008-07-18 11:45:20
The three console manufacturers made their obligatory, and utterly muted and untriumphant, E3 presentations earlier in the week.
To nobody's surprise, they announced that the next Animal Crossing is on the way. That's terrific, but considering how awful third party Wii games tend to be, I was hoping there were more top tier first party titles in the works.
Nintendo's essentially "won" this console generation, with insurmountable sales figures that show no signs of abating. With that ascendancy, they've been smug and condescending. To my surprise, Nintendo announced the Wii MotionPlus, an add-on that promises true one-for-one motion controls. Nobody was asking for this. I constantly bitched about the lack of it, but I never thought they'd deliver. Points to them for essentially apologizing and trying to make up for it.
But I have my reservations. One-for-one motion was something implicitly promised when Nintendo first started to tout their motion controls. At least, that's what we all envisioned, and Nintendo did nothing to correct us. The phrase "one-for-one" didn't even exist until we needed a way to describe what we were missing. All of us geeked out over the prospect of a Jedi lightsaber game, but what we got was a jittery stick-waggling experience that could only discern the broadest of gross motor movements. Should I renew my enthusiasm? I dunno; I'm weary of hoping for the Wii to fulfill its potential.
Patch 2.41 brought meaningful functionality to the PlayStation 3, as long as developers deign to implement those features. The system's supposed savior, Metal Gear Solid 4, came and went with a small bump in sales. Seems everyone that intended on purchasing MGS4 had already bought the hardware in advance.
They gave the same message they've been banging for the past two years: "the good stuff is coming". Again, it was all info we already had. LittleBigPlanet is on the way, and someday we'll have God of War 3. And good fucking gracious, if they give just one more presentation of Home I'll lose all interest whatsoever. It's well past time to deliver. Their conference was so anemic that they actually spent time on budget re-release titles and PS2 products.
Sony have exhausted just about all of the currency of their mighty brand name. There was a time when the Walkman was more powerful than the iPod is now, and the PlayStation is in danger of being similarly supplanted. I absolutely love mine as a Blu-Ray player, but it's losing credibility as a "must own" console. Even longtime stalwart partner Square-Enix has announced that Final Fantasy XIII will also be released on the Xbox 360.
I was mildly concerned about the future of the Xbox 360 after the unreal holiday season of Halo 3, Mass Effect, and BioShock exclusives (on top of cross-platform Orange Box and Call of Duty 4). It seemed like Microsoft had shot its load all in one go, but I'm sure I'll be excited when the release dates for Gears of War 2 and Fable 2 close in.
An overhaul of Xbox Live is coming, which I didn't particularly need. It seems to be a response to Nintendo's success (copying their avatar system) and Sony's revamp, but I'd rather they just made their already excellent system free. Their price cut is fairly important news, as the 360 is now the same price as the technologically inferior Wii, and a full $100 less than the PlayStation 3.
What did get me all hot and bothered is their official announcement that they've partnered with Netflix. As a subscriber to both Xbox Live and Netflix, I am quite pleased at the prospect of integration. Not having to wait for the turnaround of mailing DVDs is exactly what I've been waiting for. Toss in flying cars and the future is here. They'd better offer high definition films in their offerings.
Now Playing - Company of Heroes (PC)
Xbox Live/PSN Gamertag - Vawce