Readers enjoy predictions. The proof is in the fact that, from the Oscars to E3 to World Cup Soccer, hundreds of inches of copy are devoted to visions of probable futures. It seems that we, as a species, simply can not wait to see what happens, whether for fun, profit or bragging rights.
Making predictions is easy, especially since folks very rarely hold the prognosticators into account the morning after. The end of the world has come and gone for Jehovah’s Witnesses numerous times, but the Watchtower building in Brooklyn doesn’t have any boards over the windows yet. However, in the interest of fairness, I think we should take a look at how my predictions for E3 stood up in the face of reality.
1. Most publishers will be making much ado over their various ill-conceived 3D offerings and stupidly expensive 3D hardware that few people asked for and even less people actually want.
Result: Mostly Correct!
Microsoft didn’t announce any 3D technology, but Sony is gambling big that it can force high end 3D TVs and glasses down the throats of (the likely mythological) consumers clamoring to play Killzone 3. This news should excite anyone who loves to squint at blurry graphics while wearing vise-tight futuristic glasses.
Meanwhile, Nintendo unveiled the 3DS, its forthcoming glasses free 3D hand-held system. I am not sure what is more surprising: that the 3DS actually works or that I really, really want one.
2. Multiplayer will be all the rage, yet again. Look out of Totally X-treme head-to-head modes announced for everything. Even Brain Age. Especially Brain Age.
Result: Kind of right!
Multiplayer was as omnipresent as cockroaches in a crack house, but I was surprised at how many novel takes on the game mode I saw and how open I was to playing them. I’ll get more specific on this when I go into my impressions of individual titles, but I really was glad to see multiplayer blossoming into something more than just endless variations on the head-to-head death match.
3. The motion controls that were announced last year will be re-announced this year, in the hopes that maybe now someone will take the PS3 motion lollipop/vibrator thing seriously.
Result: Right on the money!
Remember Project Natal, Microsoft’s hands-free motion control announced last year? It is now called Kinect, and while it is still an intriguing piece of technology in theory (see last year’s Milo demo), it is being utterly squandered in the name of general audience minigame crap.
Meanwhile, I do have to take the Playstation Dildo…er…Move seriously because its 1 to 1 tracking is actually dead accurate and a (cough) pleasure to use. Sony should be applauded for at least attempting to make the thing useful in games more complex than a ball-bouncing simulator, even if they are insane to think consumers are going to fork over a hundred bucks for one.
4. Valve will announce they were only kidding about delaying Portal 2.
I thought this was a gimme, but hey, that’s why I’m not reading palms on the boardwalk.
5. After three days of seeing a huge slate of big budget sequels I will be forced to conclude I should have gone to the Game Developers Conference instead.
Result: A little bit right, a little bit wrong.
There was indeed a huge slate of big budget sequels, but I actually think most of them displayed serious improvements and a genuine commitment from their developers. I still want to go to GDC, but that’s not going to stop me from going back to E3 next year.