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E3 Press Conferences: 5 Questions

So yesterday and today were the press conferences / media summits / whatever they are for Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony (in that order). As to be expected, I followed along with all the live-blogging, checked out the audio/video feeds later on, and read as much as I could possibly read.

After having a little bit of time to reflect on everything that’s been said and shown, I came up with five major questions I wanted to put out there… more so as rhetorical questions than anything else.

Question #5: What’s with Nintendo and all the mini-accessories?
Seriously, what’s going on? First we had Wii Play and the extra remote… that made perfect sense. Mario Kart Wii came with the little plastic wheel that really doesn’t do anything beyond hold it upright for you and I can’t figure out how on Earth Jeff is able to play that way and win. Then came WiI Fit and the balance board. Next comes Animal Crossing with the WiiSpeak and Wii Sports Resort with the Wii MotionPlus. Is this all calculated on Nintendo’s part, combined with how well the Wii version of Guitar Hero III (with, obviously, its own required peripheral) has done? Is it how they’re able to complement their enthusiast+mainstream media attention? What’s so special about this generation? While it’s true that they’ve done similar things in the past (look at the NES era with things like the U-Force, NES Advantage, etc.)… something seems different about today, and it’s irritating me that I can’t see through them.

Question #4: How well-integrated will this 360/Netflix setup be?
The main gamertag on our 360 is my own, which is set up for Gold. The Netflix account is under the woman’s name, whose 360 gamertag is only Silver. How tightly integrated is this going to be? Will I be able to tie our household’s existing Gold gamertag to our household’s existing Netflix account? So long as there’s not someone sitting there literally checking each name against each name against each gamertag and so on and so forth… it should be OK. I don’t see why it wouldn’t be…

Question #3: How did FUNimation get to be so big with the gaming companies?
If you know anything about my main gig, you’ll know why I’m asking this. How weird was it to see FUNimation’s name right up there with all the big movie companies for Sony’s video service rollout? We’ve discussed FUNimation’s rise in the domestic anime industry in great detail over on Daizenshuu EX (both in the general website updates and our podcast), so I’ll leave the rest of the discussion for over there.

Question #2: How will “Animal Crossing” evolve and innovate?
The biggest complaint we had about the “first” and “second” games (yes, I understand there was an N64 game in Japan) was that once you paid off your mortgage to Mr. Sleezebag Nook… there simply wasn’t much else to do. Sure, you could make sure you got all of the fruit trees, you could talk to your neighbors, and you could catch all the fish… but there was hardly enough “end-game” content (can you even call it that with this series?) to keep us around for a ridiculous amount of time. So Nintendo, are you going to just re-release the same game yet again? We already know we’ll be able to talk to each other with the new WiiSpeak, and it sounds like there will be a good amount of group-based communication available to us… but what are we actually going to be able to / have to DO? We’ll just have to wait for more information on the game…!

Question #1: Is backwards compatibility dead?
Sony had announced that come September, the current 40 GB will be discontinued in favor of a reversioned 80 GB, which itself will take on the same feature-set as the current 40 GB… which, if you’re playing along at home, means you lose your PS2 backwards compatibility for good. Nintendo did not mention Virtual Console at all (OK, fine… that’s paid emulation), Microsoft did not mention Xbox Originals at all (OK, fine… that’s also paid emulation, but at least you can still pop those discs in if you have them), and Sony is pulling PS2 backwards compatibility entirely.

What do you think about this? Is backwards compatibility still relevant? Does anyone really care? As you may have heard at the end of our first podcast episode, our topic for episode numero dos is going to be just that… backwards compatibility. We definitely have a lot to say on the matter, but we’re eager to get your thoughts in ahead of time so we can share them on the show.

6 Comments

  1. This might have been in one of my many feeds in Google Reader today and I just missed it but…how did you get a/v feeds for the press conferences? I watched them on G4. Are they on G4 On Demand already?

    I think backwards compatibility is pretty much dead, yes. I really don’t want it to be dead, though. I still play PS1 and PS2 games! I sold my PS1 soon after I got my PS2 (which is something I regret to this day); imagine if the PS2 didn’t have backwards compatibility. I wouldn’t have been able to play FFVII again! (on a console, at least).

    So yeah…I really really really don’t want backwards compat. to go away. And if it does…well @#$%. I guess I’ll have to keep all of my consoles and have to plug ’em in whenever I want to play an old-gen game. :-

    -Jaime/KB

  2. William Harris

    July 16, 2008 at 10:35 am

    So far this E3 has been lame as hell. There really weren’t any surprises and that always makes for a boring E3. Besides stuff we already knew about what surprising game is coming out ? Nothing. Just RE5 and Final Fantasy XIII. Pathetic. I’m really disappointed in Nintendo too.

  3. About the Wii Motion Plus, it seems like a really big change (wrists) to split up the user base on. It was mentioned on the 1up podcast, but how will developers make games that take advantage of this when they know not every Wii owner will have the add-on? It would be easier to just ignore it.

    As far as backwards-compatibility goes, it sucks that Sony is phasing it out. I wonder how much of a strain it would be on production costs to just add software-BC to the 40 gig. But its sad that we started with a perfect 60 gig with BC, but we are ending up with an 80gig without BC.

    Also, the inclusion of Funimation made me smile. Sony knows gamers and anime fans usually overlap, its such a good idea to bring in one of the biggest US anime companies.

  4. At first I was excited about the “price cut”, but it took me awhile to realize it’s just the 40 gig… with 80 gigs! If I wanted a gimped PS3 with 80 gigs I would have bought the 40 gig and replaced the hard drive! If they are saying that the current 80 gig is being phased out as well… I don’t know if I would still want a PS3 without some kind of BC…

  5. This E3 was truly a letdown. There was so much expectation and speculation. None of it happened. The big three had such good chances to show somethings fans would really want. Microsoft was trying to hard to be Nintendo with their whole redesign of the 360 interface. Nintendo had like one game that somewhat appeals to the the core demographic (Animal Crossing?).Sony seemed to have the best show, they actually had games for both groups of gamers. I’m a Nintendo fanboy so, me saying that about Sony surprises me.

  6. Does Virtual Console really count as backwards compatability? You’re not actually playing your old game cartridges on the Wii, you’re buying ROMs of said games to play on Wii.

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