Thursday, June 14, 2012

Caffeinated Thoughts on Nintendo's 2012 E3 Press Conference

Coffee Beans
     Nintendo's main E3 press conference was just over a week ago now. It was the first big showing for Nintendo's next home console, now officially named Wii U. A year had passed since Nintendo's initial showing of the console and some teaser trailers for it at E3 2011, but did another full year of development time for the console and games make much of a difference? Did that time allow Nintendo to bring the games and features for Wii U to their 2012 E3 to help sell the console before it's even available for sale?
     What did Nintendo show in their 2012 E3 press conference, and what coffee roast grade do I give it? Let's take a look!

The Brew
     Nintendo started their E3 conference by debuting Pikmin 3. While Pikmin 3 had originally been announced for the Wii, it will be able to use both the Wii Nunchuk with Wii MotionPlus controls, as well as the Wii U GamePad depending on how you want to play the game. Pikmin 3 will be the first in the series to make the jump to "high definition" graphics, and I can imagine this will help make the level of detail even better and the environment/setting for the game more realistic.
Rock Pikmin, growing a flower? Interesting.
     The next game Nintendo showed was New Super Mario Bros. U, and Reggie mentioned how the Wii U Gamepad will be used by possibly a 5th player to add additional blocks throughout the level to help players. Reggie did not mention whether the game will have any online multiplayer, and I was disappointed that information was not mentioned, or even hinted at. If I had to guess based on Nintendo's poor online service, I would guess right now that New Super Mario Bros. U will not feature online cooperative multiplayer, but I will be GLAD to be proven wrong on that guess.
     During this portion Reggie confirmed that the Wii U will be compatible with using two of the GamePads at once, and the news was received with audible cheers from the audience. It had been one of the rumors floating around before E3, with some saying it would and some saying it wouldn't be compatible with two GamePads at once.

     The third game Nintendo showed was a third party title (third game, third party? interesting!). The game was Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition. While I have only played a demo of the original Batman: Arkham Asylum and enjoyed the demo, it's kind of difficult for me to get excited about this game, because I own a PS3 and can get the game on that console, and probably for a lot cheaper than the Wii U version later this year. At least the Wii U is getting the game though, and I am glad to see the developers using the Wii U GamePad for some game-play elements. Scribblenauts Unlimited was shown next, and I wasn't that excited for it, because like Batman, it's not an "exclusive" and will be on the 3DS as well.
    Nintendo then showed a "sizzle" trailer with Darksiders II, Mass Effect 3, Tank! Tank! Tank!, TEKKN Tag Tournament 2, Trine 2: Director's Cut, Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge, and Aliens Colonial Marines.

     What do I think about those games in the order shown? Non-exclusive, non-exclusive, interesting but poor trailer choice, non-exclusive, port, port, and non-exclusive. Only one of the seven games is a Wii U "exclusive" that we know of right now, that being Tank! Tank! Tank!, which I think is somewhat unfortunate.
     Reggie then started talking about Wii Fit U. Let's just skip to the next!

     SiNG. Irony of ironies. I had not heard the song in the demo video for SiNG until they showed it at E3, then the very next day I saw a work related video...with the SAME EXACT SONG in it! Perhaps it's telling me I should buy this game day one?
     I will say, the best part about the trailer and game I thought was the use of the Wii U GamePad displaying the lyrics for the song. I really liked that, as I think it frees people up from facing just the tv for the lyrics if they don't know the song, and it appeared the font was easy to read so I wouldn't have to squint my eyes to read it from the television.

     Scott Moffitt then came out to talk about the 3DS and games for it, but complained about not having enough time to talk about the games and spent nearly a minute talking about the 3DS press conference the next day. A MINUTE. That's two 30 second game trailers. Three 20 second. Or even just one 1 minute trailer. You get the point? Complain about not enough time, and waste time complaining and promoting another conference?
     He started off talking about New Super Mario Bros. 2. He then showed Paper Mario: Sticker Star. I have never played a Paper Mario game, but I gotta say this one did get me interested, and in a console I don't even own yet. He ended with the three first party titles, talking about Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon. Like Paper Mario, I was impressed with what I saw for the game in the trailer, and I think it looks pretty well polished. Moffit ended his time with a "sizzle" trailer for the 3DS showing off third party games. The trailer started with Castlevania: Lord of Shadow - Mirror of Fate, then Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion, Scribblenauts Unlimited, and KINGDOM HEARTS 3D: Dream Drop Distance.

     Reggie was back now showing off LEGO City: Undercover. The game looks like a cool kid friendly "Grand Theft Auto" to me, which I don't find to be a bad thing if that's how it turns out. I thought the trailer was very weirdly pieced together though, with certain things happening apparently for humor that left me more puzzled as to what/why they were showing it, than actually laughing (perhaps I just missed the references they were using?). The trailer did end with a nice Nintendo fan throwout though, and Reggie also confirmed a different version of LEGO City is being developed for the 3DS and will release later this year as well.
LEGO Elvis? Check. LEGO T-Rex? Check.
     After the LEGO City: Undercover showing, Ubisoft took to the stage and started by showing off Just Dance 4, which uses the GamePad in a simple manner allowing a person to select dance moves for players. Then they showed a trailer for ZombiU, and before Ubisoft's representative left the stage, they used the game's software and Wii U GamePad to show Reggie in his true state. A zombie.

      They ended the Ubisoft conference with a sizzle trailer of Ubisoft Wii U games: Assassin's Creed III, Rabbids Land, YOURSHAPE Fitness Evolved 2013, Rayman Legends, SPORTS Connection, Marvel Avengers Battle for Earth. Rabbids Land and Rayman Legends are already on my "to watch" list, and possible day one purchases if we end up getting a Wii U for the Coffee House.

     Nintendo Land. Nearly the last 15 minutes of the conference. NEARLY 15 MINUTES. Nintendo Land just did not appeal to me from what I saw of it, and it definitely didn't make me think, "Wow, so this is the incredible game Nintendo has to show for the Wii U!" Sure, some of the ideas and mini-games they showed in it look interesting and probably will be fun, but I didn't think it was the game to end the conference with by any means.

Caffeinated Thoughts
     Overall, I give Nintendo's 2012 E3 press conference a "Light Roast" coffee grade. While they started strong with Pikmin 3, the middle of their conference could have used more exclusive Wii U games, and I thought ending the conference with Nintendo Land was a terrible choice, and not very "strong." Out of Microsoft, Sony, and the Nintendo E3 press conferences, I feel that Nintendo's is the only one that did not "Start Strong, Finish Strong".
     I thought Nintendo had the most to gain from a strong E3 press conference, but also the most to lose from a weak showing this year. If they originally overpriced the 3DS because of the strong reception at E3 in 2010, I really wonder if they won't lose money on the Wii U for the first time in a console's release for them, just to give it a price point that is very appealing to help move units.
     Before E3, I viewed Nintendo's E3 press conference as smelling coffee roasting in the morning, and thinking, "Coffee is brewing, and it will be awesome and get my day started right!" Only to get to the coffee pot, and realize the coffee that was brewed was decaffeinated. That is a fail.
     Bitter - Very few details of the Wii U's online service during the conference. No mention of friend code use. No mention of online multiplayer in New Super Mario Bros. U. No real mention of online anything, other than MiiVerse, which Reggie pretty much said won't be available at launch. No major exclusive game announcement, that wasn't really known about before the conference. No Project P-100 announcement or trailer during the conference. Terrible trailer portion shown for Tank! Tank! Tank!, not giving initial viewers a good idea of the actual game-play in it. Last, apparently the Nintendo Wii does not exist anymore to Nintendo, and they did not mention one single game for it during the conference (did I miss it? please tell me I did somehow). Which I thought was pathetic. I'll stop here for now.
     Sweet - Ubisoft and Warner Bros. getting stage time and showing Wii U support, even if some of the games they showed are going to be ports. ZombiU not only having a trailer that showed the Wii U GamePad being used in a wide variety of ways, but the presentation for the game ending by turning Reggie into the "zombie".

Questions
     Agree, or disagree? Do you think Nintendo did more harm, or good, for the Wii U with their E3 press conference? Was anything shown in Nintendo's official E3 press conference that made you decide 100% to try and buy the Wii U day one?

If you are interested in the Wii U, you can sign up on GameStop.com and Amazon.com right now to be notified when more information about the console becomes available to the retailers. Amazon.com's page link is below, and I will add GameStop's when I find it (doing a simple search didn't locate it just now for some reason):

9 comments:

  1. I don't think they did any real harm, but I think the Big N missed a golden opportunity to really put on a great show. The DS/3DS is selling really well, they had new hardware to show off, and... it just felt a bit half-baked across the board I guess. I really missed seeing more staple Nintendo franchises. On the one hand, it was nice to see a major player like Ubisoft showing solid support, but where were the Metroid, Zelda, Starfox announcements for the Wii U - or even a Metroid for 3DS?

    The Wii U was never going to be a first day buy for me - new consoles almost never are (I think the original PlayStation was the only console I ever bought right away), and there was nothing here to convince me otherwise personally.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Here are some decaffeinated thoughts as the coffee is still brewing:

    Agree with Chalgyr that it was a luke-warm offering that didn't tank, but didn't blow us away. We basically knew about most of the titles except for a few maybe like ZombiU. (which seemed cool) Everything was so mario-centric and maybe they were just trying to balance out last year's Zelda 25th focus.

    For me the MiiVerse was a surprise and I thought it had some cool features. I'm still not sure that they're able to 'bring it' with online as we've come to expect with other consoles and Steam. It's definitely not going to be a day one purchase, but probably will be at some point.

    I think the 3DS portion was pretty good as well even if they did burn up too much time talking. NSMB2 will probably be purchased along with Luigi's Mansion. Though Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion has me the most excited. Just seeing some screenshots didn't do it justice and I thought they did a great job talking about it.

    Nintendoland: I keep hearing from E3 attendees that it looked so 'meh', but ended up being very fun to actually play. Who knows, but I doubt anyone is going to be in line to buy this and expect it to be a pack-in.

    ReplyDelete
  3. "The DS/3DS is selling really well..."
    Not so sure about really well, after the latest NPD data.

    Let's not forget Wave Race, Geist, Excite (Bots or Trucks?), Eternal Darkness...

    "The Wii U was never going to be a first day buy for me..."
    We already know you are Beta testing the games, you don't have to try and fool us. Come November, you will have every single Wii U launch game, and early 2013 Wii U game releases reviewed.

    "I don't think they did any real harm..."
    I have more on this, probably an "overall" Wii U thought post, more on just the console than the conference.

    ReplyDelete
  4. "Here are some decaffeinated thoughts as the coffee is still brewing:"
    Are you saying, that you are somehow functioning, in the morning...without coffee? LIES!

    "Agree with Chalgyr that it was a luke-warm offering that didn't tank..."
    It didn't tank, simply because of Tank! Tank! Tank!...it was included in the title, and Nintendo knew they needed it. :)

    As for MiiVerse, like I mentioned, it looks interesting...but I seriously don't have any trust with Nintendo and online functionality. 2012, and 3DS owners can't even really communicate?

    As for NSMB2, are you going to purchase it a digital copy, or physical? Or, undecided?

    NintendoLand...not even going there! The reason it better be a pack-in? Because this guy aint paying $$$$ to get Carnival Games Wii U from Nintendo!

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  5. ROFL - That would be awesome, but considering all of the Wii backlog I have at the moment? Probably not. I'm going to need the next generation of systems just to catch up on the games I have but haven't had a chance to play yet.

    Rough life, I know - all these extra games I haven't gotten to play yet... ;)

    ReplyDelete
  6. E3 kinda means nothing

    Was the conference bad? Hell yes. Were the other ones any better? Not really

    The important thing are the games and hardware and price

    The wii u will have a solid price, great launch games and the controller works

    In fact the wii u has the best launch lineup in history

    stop pretending like ports and multiplats arent apart of launch lineups

    BUT

    scribblenauts was built on wii u, its not the same as the 3ds game

    ReplyDelete
  7. It is has outpaced the DS it's entire first year, but I think it will be interesting to see what actually happens moving forward and if they follow the DS/DS Lite/DSi pattern with remodels...which means one should be happening here soon if so.

    A 17% over a year ago sales increase is good, but considering the system is now $80 less than it was last May, and they introduced a new color for as well, it's not comparing apples to apples really.

    If the 3DS had not seen an $80 price drop, I think we may be able to look at this as more apples to apples, but the price cut was/is still a factor over the first year's sales for the game, especially the first few months before the price cut.
    Also, many retailers in May were offering $20 gift cards with 3DS purchases.

    I did just check for same-time sales of the original DS, but I couldn't find where the NPD showed the DS sales with the home consoles.

    Thanks for the comment on this! If you know of a good place for DS sales number by year/month, I would be interested at taking a look at them.

    ReplyDelete
  8. "scribblenauts was built on wii u, its not the same as the 3ds game"
    Are you talking about the "built from the ground up" comment? If the Wii U version has a decent amount different from the 3DS version, then I guess that would show the developers were doing a different version and not simply port.

    As for "stop pretending like ports and multiplats arent apart of launch lineups", I don't have a problem with ports and multiplats, as a matter of fact I hope the Wii U gets all the ports/multiplat games the systems have. BUT, I didn't find any of the ports/multiplat games they announced as really surprising, and I think Mass Effect 3 was the only one that I hadn't heard about before E3.

    "In fact the wii u has the best launch lineup in history"
    No Rogue Squadron. :(

    "The important thing are the games and hardware and price"
    Price will be a big factor, and reliability/functionality and ease of use of the hardware/ will be extremely important.
    Word-of-mouth and the experience can really help a system take off, as what happened with the Wii.

    As for, "E3 kinda means nothing".
    Michael Pachter would agree. :)
    Stockholders though? They thought otherwise immediately after the conference and showing.

    Thanks for stopping and the comments and feedback, it's greatly appreciated!

    ReplyDelete
  9. "LIES!"
    I wouldn't say 'functioning', more like awake, but barely moving.

    For NSMB2 I have no idea about digital vs physical. It's funny I have no problem buying 3DS or VC games where they're locked to my device, but hesitate some when I know the game is also retail. 99% of the time I don't take advantage of having a physical copy anyway.

    ReplyDelete

Keep the comments clean. Rated "E" for Everyone. :)

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