Friday, June 8, 2012

Top Five Reasons E3 2012 Was Underwhelming

E3 2012 is finito. It is over. It is done. It is completed. It is-- well, you get the idea. However, while I usually come off as excited for the industry when an E3 concludes, I'm left this year with the complete opposite feeling. Would you like to know why? Sure thing. I have five major reasons why this E3 was less than spectacular. In fact, it downright was underwhelming.

5) The best press conference was Ubisoft's

That says it all, doesn't it? It says a lot when the best press conference at E3 2012 was that of Ubisoft, and even then it didn't give me much faith in the future of the industry. I don't care about Watch_Dogs as that isn't a game that excites me, and considering that is the most talked about game from the conference, that speaks volumes. At least there was Rayman Legends which showed a very entertaining demo of one of the faster paced levels in the game. The art style is lovely and the crazy gameplay was quite enticing. But for every Rayman Legends at the show, there were twenty Far Cry 3s, Splinter Cells, Assassin's Creed 3s, and Just Dance 4's that I just wasn't impressed by. Notice how all of those except Watch_Dogs are sequels. The state of the industry right now suffers from "sequelitis." Most games showcased at each conference was chock full of sequels to existing IPs. I'm very down on the gaming culture and industry right now, and E3 2012 didn't do me any favors.

4) Sony treated their Vita as a second-class citizen

Apparently Sony cut out a sizzle reel containing various Vita games at their E3 press conference due to time constraints. Perhaps they could have lowered the amount of time dedicated to Wonderbook (an interesting idea that doesn't look like it works all too well) by a little bit to fit the Vita offerings in. What was shown was confirmation of a new and exclusive Assassin's Creed and Call of Duty. But just not even giving Vita owners solace in the fact that Sony cares enough about the system to showcase its lineup at its own press conference is worrying to me. On the actual show floor the majority of titles are ports that are available on other systems. Are people really going to shell out $250+ on a platform that has games shared by its big brother, the PS3? I want to like the Vita. It has sexy hardware and potential, but if Sony and third-parties aren't even showcasing the system much at E3, why should I even care then? Maybe I'm just being overly negative. What do you think?

3) Near nonexistent Japanese support

I love Japanese games. I don't mean the "If I was trapped in a sealed room with a girl, I'd--" type games. I mean games like Monster Hunter, Resident Evil (which actually was at the show, to be fair), Final Fantasy, Tales of, Professor Layton, among other games. I don't like this generation because companies like Capcom and Konami tried way too hard to emulate Western gaming philosophies, giving their storied IPs to Western developers, and completely forgetting about their own design ideals. The lack of heavy Japanese presence at this year's E3 was quite disappointing. Are the majority of publishers waiting for the Tokyo Game Show? In any case, the pithy amount of offerings made me very sad as a gamer.

2) The Wii U's future isn't looking too bright right now

The supposed purpose of Nintendo's E3 2012 press conference was to get the world excited about the Wii U. Well, with the current state of message boards declaring Nintendo doomed, declaring them as DOA and going third-party, and saying that casuals left to smartphones and tablets so they will have no interest in a home console, it's fair to say that Nintendo failed. Even CNN wrote an article confusing the Wii U as merely an add-on to the current Wii. There isn't excitement for the console, and fans and haters alike seem to be glued to negative news while saying any article that is positive for the system is obviously a bribe from Nintendo. Seriously? That's almost as bad as the people who feel like Nintendo betrayed them. Yeah, a multimillion dollar corporation was your friend and cared about you. Not. People taking things so personally is just pathetic. Offense meant. And if you need more complaining about the third-party situation, see here. Regardless, there's still time to turn these around, but Nintendo definitely has a great uphill battle ahead of them. We just have to sit through angry fanboy rants, circle jerks like on NeoFAQs, and disingenuous "I have no interest in the Wii U now" posts from people who never cared about Nintendo's console in the first place for the next six years.

1) The realization that E3 is a hollow shell of what it once was

It seems that E3 is no longer a show that gamers should hotly anticipate. It is no longer Christmas for gamers. That should be obvious by how many publishers (such as Take Two) didn't show up and didn't show many games for most of the preexisting platforms. Why bother when they can set up their own shows, not compete with other companies for time and press, and do their own thing? The obvious lack of Japanese presence at E3 completely should have tipped people off that E3 is a shell of its former self. Microsoft and Nintendo doesn't even take it seriously anymore. Sony seems to be the only of the first-parties who still do, and even then their press conference was still graded with a C-. As for Nintendo, they now do their own thing like Nintendo Direct streaming presentations and their own conferences on their own time and dime. I wouldn't be surprised to see more publishers pull out of E3 next year while creating their own special events. There is nothing left to do but deal with it.


E3 2012 might go down as one of the worst in history. No hyperbole intended. It, as the top five title states, was entirely underwhelming. The theme of the show was ironically "Innovation Unveiled" yet what was unveiled was a copious amount of sequels (I know it's the end of a generation, but c'mon) and uninspired me-toos and ideas. The thought that next-gen only means more power and is not measured by new features or innovation sort of makes me wish we are coming close to another crash. (Digitally Downloaded has the same idea about a crash but for a totally different reason.) The same ideas are being passed off as new despite just being old ideas with a new coat of paint. E3 is regressing, and we are all just victims of it. It is our fault for hyping an event that the past has shown was changing in audience, meaning, and impact. I look forward to non-E3 events like Nintendo Directs, Vita Game Heavens, and Tokyo Game Shows. Because E3, something that I once could count on, is no longer serving that purpose anymore.

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