Thursday, 14 May 2009

E3 piece, written for Platform Nation

(This is my submission to a gaming website.  The subject had to be E3.  Wish my post luck as it wings its way over the Atlantic.)

The internet hasn’t quite killed E3 yet but it is starting to feel like it’s only a matter of time from this side of the pond.  E3 used to be about big, triple A titles being announced, but these days anything interesting is usually out in the public domain long before the Expo.  So is there anything to get excited about this year?

Yes, maybe and no.

Presumably this will be the first opportunity for game journalists to get their hands on Activision’s DJ Hero.  The peripheral, which just to prove the point was leaked on twitter, looks interesting, but gameplay is hardly going to be ground breaking.

E3 could be a great opportunity for Sony to re-launch the PSP, and with their slightly limp attempt at an i-Pod Touch just hitting the shelves the much owned but little used hand held needs a good year for the Japanese behemoth.  Little Big Planet Portable could be a huge title, will E3 see Sony let journalist get a hands on? 

Sony could do with a big show after Microsoft’s shock Final Fantasy announcement last year.  It was just a shame that the biggest announcement from E3 last year was a game we already knew was coming, was coming out on more than one console.      

E3 should be a celebration of the medium we love, not a battle royal between Microsoft and Sony. 

Generally it seems, at least from these shores, Nintendo behave them selves.  Because they operate so far outside of the ‘big boys’ radar they can quietly get on with bringing us new titles and making ridiculous money from their unique machine.  However, last year they also managed to disappoint.  No new Zelda game and a largely ill received demo of Wii Music.  Can they bring something new to E3 to truly get us excited?  To be honest it seems unlikely.

The year ahead has plenty to get gamers enthralled about.  The trouble is we already know what most of what 2009 holds.  And 2010 for that matter.  The industry has changed but more importantly so has the way we communicate and shows like E3 are in danger of seeming antiquated.  We need a show that puts gaming at its centre and not competition at its heart.  A show that welcomes innovation and the growing maturity of gaming.  Let us hope that is what we get.