So this week was the Electronic Entertainment Expo or E3. This is a return to form to the E3 of yesteryear. This is the first time since 2006 that it has been this big. After 2006 they experimented with a toned down E3 and with Microsoft Kinect, Sony Move and Nintendo 3DS (all pictured above) incoming with the next few months to year it was the perfect time to get back to the old school expo.
I am a fan of Nintendo, I admit that upfront but I am more broadly a gamer first and foremost with a great appreciation for the medium and what it is and the fun to be had through it. I think there is so much potential in the Slim Xbox 360 and Kinect with hands free gaming and voice recognition. Sony on the other hand seems to be throwing everything humanly possible into the PS3. From 3D games, motion controls with the Sony Move (their take on motion controls), Blue-Ray and so on when you look at the features it seems to come out on top but that perception means little to the public at large.
Now let’s talk about the 3DS, I will not get into specs but all hands-on reports I have read have shown that it works and works well without needing glasses. I believe that it uses the paralax barrier technique to produce the effect. It has layered LCD screen that sends a different image to each eye allowing your brand to recombine the image to provide depth. It is a handheld gaming device that has more inputs than you can imagine. It has buttons, a touch screen, an analog slide pad, gyroscopes and accelerometers, a mic and 3 cameras for 3D pics. It has so many options and with an upgrade in power I think the games will be a site to see and play. The line up for the device is stellar with all the big players on board from EA, Ubisoft, Capcom and Nintendo itself with it’s staple of IP and a return to form with Pit of Kid Icarus fame coming to lend a hand to the launch of Nintendo’s latest handheld.
3D is the new HD in many ways brought to life when Avatar landed late last year with a big push by TV manufacturers but the technology has a long way to go. With the 3DS there is a sweet spot where you can see the effect in full and a slider that allows you to increase the effect or to turn it off completely. Nintendo faces stiff competition with app stores more specifically the iPhone having many times the amount of gaming content for a fraction of the price and the flexibility of being on an always online device. The 3DS is backwards compatible with the entire DS library giving it a great catalogue from which to draw upon with the ability to also playback movies made in 3D.
In the handheld gaming space Nintendo focuses on battery life and price and compromises based on these elements. The iPhone is amazing but the batteries drain at a fast paced when doing anything graphics or processor intensive and Nintendo will keep this in mind. The 3D aspect is an element that will set it apart from the iPhone and help to keep it above the fray in that respect.
No pricing was announced at E3 but it will launch before the end of the fiscal year which ends in March 2011. These are questions yet to be answered and what games will be ready when the launch comes? I have many questions but I am excited by Nintendo offering 3D in a mass consumer device for the first time. Most of the demonstrations were based on the 3D effect with only a few playable demos being offered.
It was more of a showcase of the technology, so that everyone who saw it understood that it actually works. That is an amazing achievement I can’t wait to hear about their launch plans and when this baby is going to drop.