All of the major E3 keynotes from Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony are over. While 2009 is now officially the year of motion controls, there's still something missing. Here's what we expected to see at E3, but didn't.
The financiapocalypse has yielded no price cuts for ailing gamers from Sony, Nintendo or Microsoft. A PS3 still hurts at $400, a real Xbox costs $300 (with downloadable retail games on the way, you need that hard drive), and a Wii still costs $250. Not to mention the true price of owning these consoles—
$60 $80 for a complete Wiimote (can't forget MotionPlus, which Miyamoto said yesterday could be required for the next Wii Zelda), $50 a year for Xbox Live—also remains unchanged. This is undoubtedly part and parcel of this generation's extended lifespan, but parts and manufacturing prices have fallen, so they're all presumably recouping more money than ever on their consoles. If they're serious about picking up new gamers, they need to make it affordable.
Sony inevitably slenderizes every console, and the PS3 is an effin' monster. The PSP Go shows they're still very much on board on the shrink ray as a way to generate sales. The PS3 costs them less than ever to make—just think how much more they'd save if they didn't have to pay for all of that extra plastic? (OK, maybe they'd have to pay more for the smaller guts.) But we've seen possible branding for it, just maybe. Are they saving it for motion controls?
Zune, Zune, Zune
We really expected more ZuneHD to be a part of Microsoft's E3 keynote, given the barebone announcement that left us parched for more details. ZuneHD wasn't mentioned once.
Also, Microsoft promised "at E3 next week, attendees will see firsthand how Zune integrates into Xbox LIVE to create a game-changing entertainment experience." Um, we must've missed that. Zune Video Marketplace moved onto Xbox Live was all we caught. When we asked Xbox Live's Marc Whitten yesterday where Zune audio was, he pointed at Last.fm. And about what we can expect from deeper Zune integration, we got a more or less canned response that they'll be continuing to grow the service and move toward more integration. Not very satisfying.
Nearly three years later, and one year after being assured the project is still alive, Microsoft's Live Anywhere—the service that'll let you tap into Live from anywhere—is still nowhere. Which is absolutely baffling, given everything Microsoft's added to the Live service since the New Xbox Experience and all of the "cloud" work they've been doing. Live Anywhere fits perfectly with all of that. There's really no good explanation for why Live Anywhere is still MIA.
But we asked Whitten where it was, just for good measure. He said they're focusing on the living-room experience here at E3, and since that extends onto other devices, it's for another time and place. Ooooookay. Maybe when we see that deeper Zune integration?
A Bigger, Better Wii Balance Board and More Wii MotionPlus Games
While Nintendo didn't fail to come through with a new piece of potentially gimmicky hardware (notice they didn't even have a game to go with it, and Miyamoto himself was vague on WTF it's for), Wii Fit Plus is the same old Wii Fit from a hardware perspective. We hoped a Wii Fit Plus would come with a Balance Board Plus—a smarter board that's even bigger for people who don't have Japan-sized feet. It's one new hardware peripheral we wouldn't have minded one bit.
A year after announcing the Wii MotionPlus, the game pickins for it still look a bit slim. Nintendo announced a handful of titles yesterday that'll make use of it, like Sega's Virtua Tennis 2009 and the new Tiger Woods Golf from EA (which'll have it bundled) but it's disappointing they didn't have more to show at this stage of the game. During yesterday's Q&A, Miyamoto said that it might be required for the next Zelda on Wii, depending on how widely it's adopted—so whether we see it used in more games may very well be dependent on how well it does with the initial load of titles. So it's odd there isn't well, more of them to start to really get the ball rolling.
So that's what we really missed at E3—well, all that and Hulu. What did you guys really hope to see?