There’s really not much else to say about this past week’s E3. Penny Arcade perhaps put it best here.

After all the shock and calamity of this last week, I think the thing that I walked away with the most is the realization that as much I love video games, ultimately and in the end, it’s business. Not that I wasn’t aware of that, having worked in the industry as long as I did, but some companies also tend to be good in catering to their fans as well. Capcom’s one, Square-Enix is another, and as I said, Nintendo is its own beast now.

Square-Enix showed that with its multi-platform announcement of Final Fantasy XIII. Same as they left Nintendo to go where the technology could best suit their vision, Square is sharing the love on the 360 quite simply due to the significantly higher user base of the North American 360 gamer over the PS3. It’s hard to get excited over the PS3 still (for me), simply because this year’s conference, while games were announced, it was all “coming soon” videos that had little emphasis on gameplay.

Nintendo, since their infamous conference, have been backpedaling seemingly in shock from journalist and fan criticism. Since their Tuesday outing, they quickly made sure to point out post-haste that a Pikmin sequel is coming, the Mario and Zelda teams are hard at work on something, and it should have been understood that Nintendo never intended to showcase their “gamer” games anymore, instead choosing E3 from here on out to highlight “casual” titles. They could have saved themselves a lot of grief if they had simply stated their intent before or during their conference. Now everything they say just seems to be on the defensive (the ever-smiling Reggie looked absolutely flustered by the dissension in a recent interview on GameTrailers), and of course, the fact that they intendo to make their “Core” franchises more “user friendly” means that we’ll likely be seeing Metroidz Alien Raising games, Kid Icarus Crosswords, and Punch-Out!! Fashion Designer.

Nintendo is a business. They know their bread and butter almost rests solely in their “Wii Whatever” series now, as these simple near tech-demo titles have captured a gaming audience for them that, if it hasn’t surpassed the legion of regular Nintendo fans by now, it’s only a matter of time. Their “core” frachises can’t sell like these titles, which I don’t understand why, but while it’s not likely going to mean the end of Mario and company, I think we’re going to start seeing a lot more simple adventure outings from Link, Samus and Pikachu, evolving to the point where we no longer recognize them, either. I think Mario Kart‘s broken “you can’t hold first place very long as we’ll pelt you with power-ups until you’re last place” AI is the first sign of this eventual transition. At least Capcom, Sega, Lucasarts, and EA are still trying to put out titles that aren’t dumbed down to reach everybody, because trying that approach means you’re going to end up not pleasing the masses regardless. I think the worst part of it is was just simply feeling like your childhood friend who has always been around to indulge your sense of fun and fantasy escapism suddenly turns to you and says to grow up. They don’t care about you anymore.

Microsoft’s presentation seemed to be an attempt to reach every possible demographic, and to their credit, they seemed to have appropriate titles to cover their claims. There’s a lot of good XBLA stuff coming down the pipeline, and the 1st and 3rd party support looks to provide several titles to play with for the next few months. Of course, there were the absence of a few titles that I would have liked to have learned more about, I got to preview a few titles that looked fun to play with my friends and on my own.

E3 was one of my most favorite gaming memories, and still remains so, but the show in its current incarnation is a mere shell of what it used to be. It’s too late in the year, a lot of publishers have pulled support and involvement, and it just lacks the enthusiasm the previous shows had. I think in their attempt to mature the show made it a little too business-like and professional for it’s own good, and if they can’t revise the format, then it’s time to retire E3. I’ve learned more on the internet through the year regarding the gaming industry than anything E3 showcased in its entirety. Funny thing is, there was a time when it was the other way around.

Poor E3. Hopefully, you’ll regain your footing next year. You seem a little at loss of an identity these days.

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