With all three major game console manufacturers—Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft—launching their new platforms within a year of each other, its never been a more competitive time in the already cutthroat world of video and computer games. As they do every year, the major console manufacturers have staked out days just before the start of the E3 expo to hold massive press events, laying out their plans and doling out the Kool-Aid to anyone who will drink it.
Though these “press conferences” (and we use that term loosely, since members of the press dont get to ask questions) are carefully orchestrated, rose-colored views of each consoles potential and place in the world, they canoffer tasty nuggets of what the future has in store, provided you take each morsel with a big grain of salt.
Here, well summarize and analyze each of Sony, Nintendo, and Microsofts dueling E3 press conferences. Who came out on top, and will it even matter in the end?
Sony: Its all about us
You gotta love Sony. It doesnt even try to cover up its brazen hubris anymore. The company will spew out phrases like “the next generation doesnt start until we say it does,” and mean it. Dont be fooled: Though the PlayStation 3 looks great, it will compete head to head with the Xbox 360, which has already shipped, and what Sony had to show this year certainly didnt seem more “next generation-y” than what we saw on the 360.
The conference started out predictably, with the chief operating officer of Sony Computer Entertainment, Kaz Hirai, touting the massive success of the PlayStation 2 around the world—over 100 million systems sold, over 1 billion units of software (10:1 tie ratio after 6 years? Is that great?), the usual stuff. He tried to massage the PSP numbers to make it sound like a much bigger hit than it actually is, using tricks like quoting 17 million units shipped (not sold) and projecting another 12 million units shipped by the end of the fiscal year in March 2007.