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All That Glitters: E3 Fails
Man, I love E3. The glitz, the AAA announcements, and the trailers. Oh, the trailers. This year’s E3 may have been short on blockbuster surprises, but one thing is certain: some announcements never fail to fail. Here’s a look at some of this year’s stories that didn’t exactly go over as planned.
Sony’s Wonderbook: Wonderbook doesn’t exactly look like a terrible idea, but I’m not sure what the market for it is. The trailer asks you to imagine what it would like to watch an interactive story that is being controlled by you. I’m not sure what exactly differentiates that from any other video game, except for the fact that you have and large and unwieldy plastic mat in front of you. Sony is hoping they can capture some love from the Potterphile crowd with the new J.K. Rowling-written title Book of Spells, but a single glitch filled demo did little to inspire confidence.
I think Wonderbook could be a genuinely good idea, but I don’t believe Sony will figure out how to use it correctly. Bastion showed the wonders a good narrator can do for a game, and if they can provide a steady supply of quality books at an affordable price, they may have something here, but trust me, they won’t.
Microsoft’s SmartGlass: I don’t feel like I have a perfect grasp on what SmartGlass is, but I know it’s not for me. Opening up new avenues to integrate with my Xbox is cool, but I’m worried that Microsoft is forgetting their core audience here. I enjoy a lot of the features my Xbox provides to me, but see no reason (and have no desire) to be connected to it 24/7. Add in the underwhelming demonstrations of how it could integrate into a game, and I don’t see developers chomping at the bit to add SmartGlass functionality to their games.
It took Microsoft a few years to copy Nintendo’s last big innovation (motion control). Is SmartGlass an early jump at trying to emulate the Wii U’s tablet-based gameplay, or an honest attempt at adding some cohesion to our gaming experience?
Angry Birds: This is making headlines everywhere, but I would like to put a stop to it right now. Sure, Angry Birds is a fun little distraction on the go, but who really cares to play this from home? Of course Activision couldn’t resist a chance to cash in on the Angry Birds name, but this is no Fruit Ninja Kinect. I don’t see a console version of Angry Birds blowing up the sales charts like they seem to think it will, but I’ve been wrong before.
Nintendo’s Wii U Launch Window: I’m not sure Nintendo knows what exactly a launch window is. Spokesman Reggie Fils-Aime announced that the launch window for the Wii U would be “longer than normal”, but saying a thing doesn’t make it true. The Wii U will live or die by its software, and this rather flimsy way of saying that software is going to take a while to materialize isn’t the way to go. Don’t insult us Reggie.
This does make me wonder what exactly is the time frame for the early Wii U games. What exactly will I be able to play the day I pick up my Wii U. Maybe instead of pre-posturing about these unfortunate ideas, they could give us some concrete information about what we can expect to see.
What announcements did you find less than buzzworthy? Didn’t care for Sing? Don’t like Tomb Raider’s new direction? What are your fails from this year’s E3?