E3 2012 Nintendo's Show To Lose
Despite hundreds of potential hits from a plethora of companies, attendees still hope for a little Mario magic.
Next week's Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles promises to be the biggest show yet, with a variety of publishers and developers pushing the year's coolest-looking games, and per usual, there are plenty of intriguing storylines. Can mobile make a serious impact? Will Sony and/or Microsoft showcase snippets of next generation footage? Will Valve yank the curtain (finally) off Half-Life 3? Can Activision dominate the first-person shooting category with Call of Duty: Black Ops 2? Journalists and finance gurus will debate these questions long after the show concludes, and for great reason, but for us, it's almost completely about Nintendo, and quite frankly, E3 is the company's event to lose.
Microsoft and Sony fanatics can ramble on about those respective companies and throw out words like PlayStation 4, Xbox 720 and The Last of Us, but the bottom line is this: Nintendo always generates the most buzz before its annual press conference, simply because the world holds the Japanese publisher to a much-higher standard. It did, after all, practically rescue the video game industry single-handedly in the mid 80s, after Atari and others contributed to the infamous crash, while also serving as the backbone to an untold number of childhoods. That said, and considering Nintendo's track record of robotic operating buddies, dual-screen gadgets and lucrative franchises, most people tend to dream big when it comes to E3 and go nuts when President Satoru Iwata hits the stage; unlike its competitors, Mario and Co. don't need to pay actors to cheer.
Just look at Wii U. Those aforementioned consoles may not materialize until the following year. Meanwhile, Nintendo's system is here today, with a launch set for fall, and already, we can't help but indulge ourselves in speculation. Will the tablet controller feature haptics technology? Can players connect more than one controller to the system? Does the machine run Android? Will Rockstar bring Grand Theft Auto 5 to the device? What about Mario? Has Nintendo learned its lesson from the 3DS launch by making its franchise plumber top dog?
It's the same with 3DS. Now that Sony's PlayStation Vita is available, does Nintendo have a plan to rub the dual stick portable in the dirt? Will we see another price cut? A redesign? And while they're at it, how about release dates for Paper Mario 3DS and Animal Crossing?
If we had to guess, no, Wii U won't benefit from haptics, and you'll be able to use just two tablet controllers instead of four. Ah, and you can bank on seeing those 3DS titles in time for the holidays.
Of course, everyone always waits for the surprise, that big reveal that reinforces Nintendo's dominance as the greatest video game publisher of all time, whether its Zelda Wii U, Metroid 3DS or holograms (because we're still holding out for holograms).
That's really the deciding factor in Nintendo's chance to win E3; the potential for the unexpected, normally unveiled by Mario's creator, Shigeru Miyamoto. Most years, the publisher simply fails to meet the intense hype. That doesn't mean, however, that we don't fall for it every single year.