This weeks E3 was a glorious event celebrating what is now a very established, powerful and in our opinion joy giving industry. But some have noted that Sony seemed to stand in the shadow of Microsoft and Nintendo.
For the Microsoft Xbox 360, it quickly became the year Kinect appears to be coming of age and in to it’s own with now support spilling in to mainstream gaming title such as Mass Effect 3 and a Star Wars branded game. And they were not the only ones. Indeed, the Fall due upgraded dashboard with voice recognition, Live TV and greater Kinect interactivity alone was a major message behind what Microsoft see as the future of gaming.
Nintendo came out with that controller! The Wii U and it’s controller signals intent by Nintendo alongside being embraced by mainstream game titles alike to bring Nintendo in to the Living Room Hub game with features like video calls, touch screen drawing and a console which does not have to dominate the TV!
Sony indeed did bring out the new PS Vita which marked their next move forward in to portable gaming. But that is a market that is becoming increasingly competitive with even Apple getting in on the act through the impressively growing array of gaming titles for iOS devices and indeed reports today that AppleTV and an iOS device such as an iPad may start to even compete directly with the Wii U concept. Android and the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play are further diversifying the portable gaming market and creating some huge choices for the consumer. And the Nintendo 3DS!
Now a year in the games industry is not a great deal of time and next year it would not surprise any of us if Sony hit us all with a Playstation 4. But where will the PS4 fit with Kinect taking control of the no controller needed environment and Wii U bringing the interactive gaming experience with a motion control and multi view gaming to a new level (check out the golf shot from the Wii U promo video). Sony are capable of bringing something special that we can not think of but Xbox is catching up Sony for content on the Entertainment front outside of gaming (video playback, music hub, TV, social networking etc). They may feel (as hinted by the Playstation 3D gaming TV set they announced – which is pretty neat) that the future of gaming console wars is to be fought over the 3D market but I am not convinced this is going to universally catch on with movies and TV nevermind gaming. There is still resistance to having to wear a 3D pair of glasses to get the best experience. Sony still has the edge on Blu-Ray but is this a move to protect their investment in the format? Downloads and content streaming are increasingly where the market is moving.
And while Sony are looking at the PS4, Microsoft will surely already be looking ahead too. Where this will all take us, we will have to wait and see, but it is hard to see where the PS will catch up and indeed overtake the Xbox.
Next years E3 will certainly be very interesting!