Video: E3 2011 Impressions

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E3 2011: Nevermind who won…the question is: "Where are we going?"

I realized I’d been on Twitter way too long when I started fuming on this one, single tweet that read: “Hands down, Sony won this year’s E3.” What is that…36 characters? Hardly worth losing a night’s sleep over. Yet there I was…just absolutely incensed and wondering what gave that person the right to say such a thing.

I watched all three media presentations from Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo. But honestly, who cares who wins in E3 anymore?

These presentations ran like the Academy Awards. Different game developers got up on stage, read their cheesy lines, showed the videos, and filled the remaining, awkward silence with a “joke” or two before the eerie woman with the answering-machine voice introduced the next guest. Rinse and repeat. That’s what these presentations are.

Of course, the audience is mostly interested in the products, and I’m not sure what to make of most of those this year. Microsoft largely focused on Kinect, and, specifically, voice recognition. I don’t have an Xbox 360, so I might not be seeing the entire picture here…but why should video-game experiences be based on voice-controlled menu navigation or gestured-driven gun construction? Like Adam Sessler had previously said in his soapbox podcast, why is gaming constantly trying to push the envelope to where it doesn’t need to be pushed?

Same thing with Sony’s presentation, where they pushed 3D in a very big way. Every 10 minutes or so, they told the audience to “please put on your 3D glasses now.” They’re even releasing a PlayStation branded 3D television. Yet in all of the gameplay videos and demonstrations, I have yet to see any evidence why 3D gaming is a must-have instead of a nice-to-have.

And then there are the hardware announcements:

  • The PlayStation Vita. It’s basically a Wifi and 3G enabled PSP, but with better graphics, a touch screen, front and back camera, and…a rear touch pad? Again, Sony has failed to answer why I need a rear touch pad. To make the mountains go higher? How is that taking gameplay to the next level?
  • Nintendo announced the successor to Wii, named the WiiU; except, is it really a successor? Or is the new controller the only feature? This device has a 6.2″ screen, which provides players with a place to view secondary information or allows them to switch the output from T.V. to controller. But why does any of that matter if I can’t use the controller as a portable, iPad-like device? And just who asked for these very features? Why should we care?

These presentations are like watching Lost. Instead of providing answers, I’m left with more questions. “Who won E3 this year?” I honestly don’t care because I’m too busy trying to find out where these E3 presentations are taking us.

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Why I'm Not Feeling Sony's Welcome Back Program

Sony has finally unveiled its Welcome Back program to make up for the month they took down the PlayStation Network (PSN) after being hacked, with millions of user data and credit card information stolen.

PlayStation Network Logo

Sony’s Welcome Back program includes two free game downloads and a 30-day trial with PlayStation Plus. The offer is definitely nice, but I just don’t know how I feel about it. In a way it reminded me of how Microsoft lost the antitrust lawsuit in 2006 and ended up passing out free PCs and discounts of their own software to public schools. It’s less of a settlement than it is a way to shove their products down people’s throats.

I’m sure I’m just being cynical. I’m sure a lot of people who use PSN regularly are thrilled to receiving free games as well as a free test drive to Sony’s premium online service. I’m just not one of them, even though my personal data was stolen just the same.

So what does it take for me to get back to the Sony bandwagon? I don’t know, maybe a hug and a card?

The main issue for me is that I simply don’t know if I can trust Sony again. The fact that they’re still getting hacked means I’m still wary of again having my information stolen. It’s nice they’re passing out free Burnol, but it doesn’t mean I’m not afraid of being burned again.

I haven’t turned on my PlayStation 3 since the day I heard about the hack, and their Welcome Back program isn’t so tempting for me to hastily update the console anytime soon. I still love you Sony, but let’s take a step back and just see what happens, okay?

What about you? Are you happy with Sony’s Welcome Back program? Or did you expect more from Sony?