E3 and the winner is…

Microsoft relied on wow factor to open the show. Nothing wrong with that; celebrity appearances, the long-expected reveal of a new peripheral and fanboy-pleaser Kojima are not to be sniffed at.

However, already-established Rock Band aside, each of them (especially Natal, hidden behind closed doors) lacked any tangible product for us to really care about (or for retail to order) just yet.

On the other hand, there were 12 other very, very impressive 360 titles shown off – some exclusive, some shared with PS3. But after six months where it has released only one key product – and a Halo spin-off at that – these merely redressed the status quo rather than drove the company forward, it seemed.

Only in this industry could Nintendo’s line-up be branded average or boring, as it was by some.

Despite the oddly robotic presentation, two Mario games, an add-on of 2009’s best-seller, an imminent sequel to Wii Sports, plus as many hardcore pleasers as new titles were perfectly pitched.

Vague and wacky, the Vitality Sensor reminded us Nintendo has diverse tastes. Remember: it was that attitude that fuelled record market growth.

Yet third parties only got a sniff of the action, a blink-and-you-miss-it moment in the spotlight. That seems to fly in the face of Nintendo’s assertion that it doesn’t dominate its platforms…

So it was Sony which really made the biggest progress. Yes, keen readers of MCVUK.com knew the PSPgo and Motion Sensor were coming, but these were still real statements of intent. And they’re real products, arriving in stores soon.

The confident two-hour PlayStation showcase can be misread as showing off, but the commitment to exclusives and internal development, plus the brave reveal of the first digital-only games device impressed.

So, I guess that makes Sony the ‘winner’. Well, not exactly. (Or rather: yep, I’m copping out.)

Instead, I reckon the real victors of E3 were outside contenders. Namely Activision and Ubisoft. One the classic American corporate goliath, with franchises galore; the other a French fancy with wild ideas for the almost unpronounceable ‘confluence’ – merging of game and film. Together, they demoed some of the most varied but at the same time triple-A product at the show – and some of the most hotly awaited games full stop.

Given E3 is a software showcase, that’s surely what counts the most.

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