As media and buyers got hands on time with the upcoming console and debated the WWE-like theatrics of the Sony and Microsoft press conferences, the company was holding top secret meetings with developers and publishers, showing off a virtual reality headset for the PS4 and drumming up support for it.
The long drought of mediocre titles would be replaced with a steady stream of AAA hits. Nintendo would roll out the first next-generation console system. And Microsoft and Sony would battle the Wii U with the best tool at their disposal: A price cut.
Then came Wednesday’s pre-TGS Sony press conference – and all hell broke loose.
There are a lot of people looking to bury the PS Vita these days. Sales haven’t exactly been blockbuster and the software lineup to date has been so-so, at best.
Even Sony itself has sent some mixed signals. At its pre-E3 press conference in June, the company promised 60 new Vita games this year – then only showcased three over the next hour-and-a-half. Despite that, Sony is telling investors it expects to sell 10 million units this fiscal year (which ends March 31, 2013), largely on the strength of its holiday lineup (which includes PlayStation All Stars: Battle Royale, Assassin’s Creed 3: Liberation and Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified).
There are good E3 performances and there are great E3 performances. In 2012, Nintendo had neither.
While it will be a few months before the public gets its say about the Wii U, few (including Nintendo) would argue that the company showed off the console in the best light possible at this year’s industry trade show.
Microsoft’s confirmation this week that it will offer the Xbox 360 for just $99 (with a $15 per month Xbox Live subscription) was a bit anti-climatic after the news leaked last week. But spoiled surprises don’t necessarily negate a move’s impact.
With Microsoft’s announcement that it has no plans to even mention its next generation console system at this year’s E3, the annual video game trade show has gotten a bit less interesting.
It is, in some ways, a confusing decision. While no one expected the next Xbox to come out this year, publishers traditionally begin beating the drum for new systems about 18 months out – and there’s no indication Microsoft has pushed the system to 2014. Also, with the company talking to developers now, the specs for the device have leaked out faster than water through a colander.