E3: Frequently Asked Questions

So E3 is wrapping up and tomorrow promises to be extremely dead news-wise. I figured now would be a good time to share random thoughts on various subjects. I’ve either heard some of these questions, or thought them myself, so I’ll ramble a bit on each.

Should Nintendo drop the 3DS price?

Sony’s price points for the Vita kicked up a lot of speculation about a 3DS price drop, since the lower of the SKUs matches the price. I doubt Nintendo is too worried about it, to be honest. The Vita is still several months away from launch. A 3DS price drop right now, with or without the Vita, would be admitting defeat.

People seem to think the 3DS is some kind of abject failure, and I disagree. It had a weak launch. I’m betting the Vita will too. But it’s a unique system that hasn’t even gone through its first holiday season yet. If it makes it through this Christmas and loses to the Vita on a monthly basis — if the Vita is even out this year in the US — then they can think about a price drop next spring. Right now, it’s premature.

Frankly, the Vita looks like it’s repeating the problems from the PSP. I’m not convinced it will be a success.

Did Microsoft make a compelling case for Kinect?

I’m not really in the market for a Kinect, but the games this year seemed a good deal more interesting than previous offerings. I’ll wait on reviews for things like the Star Wars game. The added functionality to existing titles didn’t excite me much. I can’t imagine giving voice commands in Mass Effect 3. One interview implied using it to navigate the planetary map, though, and that could be nice.

How does Nintendo market the Wii U?

Nintendo needs to show off the unique aspects of the system, starting with the ability to play remotely. Kids playing a fully-featured game while their parents watch TV, or a grown man going to bed and continuing his game there would be a great start. Showing off the games from other systems running on Wii U with whatever added functions they have would go after the hardcore. Then show the party applications. It’s a kitchen sink device, so it should be marketed like one.

Where was Move?

I suppose Move exists and it was mentioned off-hand for a few games, including one incredibly boring demo, but Sony just seemed to drop this for the most part. If Sony is putting this little effort into continuing Move’s momentum, I can’t see it showing up at all in a year’s time.

What’s a good price for Wii U?

I think Nintendo could price it aggressively at $300, but it’s doubtful. When you add in the cost of the tablet controller, they’d be too close to breaking even. I think they’d still make a profit, but Nintendo prefers to make a larger profit margin than that. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it hit at $350, but I think $400 would be pressing it too far.

Will Battlefield 3 dethrone MW3?

No. It might deserve to, but it’s not going to.

Did Nintendo get the hardcore back?

We’ll have to see. Right now the “hardcore” are looking for every nit-picky thing they can complain about, like the inclusion of one tablet, not up-rezzing Wii graphics, etc. But software wins gamers, and once we start seeing multiplatform releases come to Wii U with added functionality, it will win some people over. Of course, that all depends on the system having decent online functions. Some Achievement analog couldn’t hurt either. Developers are already building them into the games, so including them in ports should be easy.

  • It’s not surprising that Nintendo is investigating multi-tablet play, but it still sounds like you can’t buy them in stores. I doubt people want to pay $75-100 for a controller anyway. People seem to be misinterpreting what Miyamoto meant when he said it would be hard to imitate, though. I figured he meant that the system is custom-built around the concept, and retrofitting it would be difficult.
  • Crap. Now I have to get Assassin’s Creed Revelations at GameStop.
  • Holding BG&E2 to the next generation isn’t the way to win friends, but if it represents their vision better I don’t mind.
  • I’m not sure why Sega wants two Sonic games to compete with each other, but I guess I’m not the one making the decisions.
  • WayForward? Sold.
  • Don’t care. Not sure why people do.
  • I’ll probably have played ME3 by the time the Wii U comes out, but hopefully EA makes some kind of original Mass Effect game. I can definitely see it fitting the console.
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