Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Can Nintendo Win E3?

With the video game industry's biggest trade show, The Electronic Entertainment Expo, just a week away, the rumor mill is abuzz. After dominating game console sales for approximately 3 & 1/2 years, Nintendo's "little white box that could" will be directly challenged by Microsoft and Sony's own motion control devices. Adding further fuel to the fire, Steve Jobs' recent proclamation that the iPone is a gaming device, doesn't enhance things for Nintendo's popular, but aging DS portable. We're left to ask, will Zelda and the rumored glasses-free 3-D portable be enough to keep their strangle hold on the console race?

After 2 consecutive years of lackluster presentations including 2008's "Wii Music" debacle, Nintendo may come out swinging. The recent May release of "Super Mario Galaxy 2" marks the rare third appearance of a main Mario entry in a single console's lifespan. This hasn't happened since the days of the NES, so I suspect Nintendo has a few tricks up their sleeve. Furthermore, the company has only used an hour for previous E3 presentations so the move to 2 hours hints to something big. A far-fetched prediction would be a new hi-def console, but with the Wii still making money hand over fist, its unlikely. Instead, expect the 2nd half of the year to be loaded with huge titles from popular franchises including Zelda, possibly a Star Fox reboot, or even a new Donkey Kong game. We may see new peripherals or better yet, a practical use for The Vitality Sensor. Maybe an operating system overhaul that streamlines shopping and a better integrated online experience. The latter is wishful thinking, but with Apple in their cross hairs, you never know.

On the portable front, it's completely feasible that the 3DS, the codename for the DS successor, could steal the show. The system promises 3D visuals without the need for glasses, and if anything, the blockbuster "Avatar" has proven that people love their 3D. Although not much is known, popular website IGN has stated that anonymous developers claim the system is as powerful as the PS3 and 360. It will be interesting to see if this holds true considering Nintendo's choices with the Wii's tech.

At any rate, we will find out the future and possible fates of all three companies in just a few days. Nintendo will be streaming their entire presentation online at It begins at 9 AM Pacific time on Tuesday, June 15th. I'll be closely watching. Hopefully, you will too.

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