Watching the Nintendo e3 keynote yesterday, it’s amazing that I’ve never realized sooner how much contempt the gaming industry has for it’s users. Most of the conference, beyond the glitz and excitement, is all just a big tease.
Imagine if at WWDC all the demos we saw of Lion on Monday were just artist renderings that looked wildly better than what the actual product was going to be. Or that iOS 5 was just a tech demo of the iPhone hardware, not something you could actually use. What if, upon introducing the amazing new features of iCloud, they announced that it was only shipping in two years, probably three.
This is the gamer’s reality. Console and game announcements made so far in advance that the product changes dramatically by time they actually appear on store shelves. At their keynote, Nintendo showcased a bunch of third party titles for it’s upcoming new console, Wii U, presumably to alleviate critiques that Nintendo continually lacks third party support. Turns out the game footage they showed were for Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 games!
Lucky for them, gamers, especially Nintendo fans, are sheepishly loyal and nostalgic. Announcing a new Mario and making a passing mention of Super Smash Brothers is all it took for them to ignore that the company just passed off another product as it’s own. No one cares that Nintendo they just announced a bunch of games mostly resembling games they already released in the past, adding a few marginal new features to justify charing the cost of a new game for what’s essentially an old one. Not too mention every game now has the words 3D tacked onto the box, regardless of whether people want that or not.
The Wii U is certainly an interesting concept, but it has so many lingering questions. Can you leave the room with it? How do you play games that were using Wii remotes on the television once you start playing on the Wii U? WHAT ACTUAL GAMES WILL YOU BE ABLE TO PLAY ON THIS AND WHAT DO THEY LOOK LIKE? Why buy a Wii now that you’ve announced the next console, over a year in advance? Wait, did they announce any new games for Wii other than another Zelda?
Unfortunately, whatever it’s potential may be, the Wii U is stuck existing in an industry that like films, is addicted to sequels and sure things 1, meaning we’re probably never going to see anything truly innovative or of substance on it. The gaming industry has long been overrun by PR and marketers who, unlike Apple, aren’t interested in creating products they want to use. They just want to have something that’ll get you to reveal your wallet to them.
Fortunately for Nintendo, with their customers who love being bamboozled into buying the same thing year after year, there’s no pressure to deliver anything really innovative anyways. Who’d want that over a new Mario game?
1. Brief List of Games announced or shown at e3, all platforms.
- Bioshock Infinite
- Infamous 2
- EA Sports Game 2012
- Resistance 3
- Ninja Gaiden 3
- Super Mario 3D
- Armored Core 5
- Final Fantasy XIII-2
- Dead Rising 2: Off the Record
- Lord of the Rings Online: Rise of Isengard
- Gears of War 3
- Assasin’s Creed: Revelations
- Deus Ex: Human Revolution
- Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3
- Zelda Skyward Sword
- Sonic Generations
- Soul Calibur 5
- Twisted Metal
- Resident Evil: Operation Racoon City
- WarHammer 40 000: Space Marine
- Street Figther X Tekken