AftEr3: Press Conference Ponderings

Speaking of Nintendo’s press conference, this year’s was the first major first-party E3 press conference that I have attended. Some thoughts on the experience.

  • Nintendo was the only console manufacturer whose press conference I could get into. I’ve already blogged about the problems others allegedly had getting in to Sony’s conference, and I hear that invites for Microsoft’s big press party were limited to only a few people from a few publications (though anyone with MTV got all the basic info.). Nintendo’s seemed comparatively easy to enter — give a business card, get a blue ticket for your swag (more on this later) and go on in, no need to even check against a list. Does this speak to Nintendo’s comparatively more desperate need for coverage compared to the other two console makers?
  • The conference itself started at 9:47 a.m., long after the 9 a.m. planned start time and even after an announcer said it would start “in five minutes” at 9:25. Announcements from the fire marshall explained that the delay was to make sure a clear path was available through the standing room only crowd in case of a disaster. I have to say, even after the throngs were moved closer to the walls, I felt that if a fire broke out, we were all doomed.
  • The conference started out with some nice talk about Nintendo’s history and philosophy from Nintendo marketing head Reggie Fils-Aime. Reggie had some fighting words for Sony in regards to the PSP vs. DS battle, but nothing nearing the infamous “kicking ass and taking names” line that introduced him to the world at last year’s conference (more on that in a later post, I hope).
  • The Elektroplankton demo was very impressive, but upon reflection, Nintendo’s claim that every bit of sound there came directly from the game was a little suspect. I wonder exactly how much of that performance was actually running on the DS and how fooled the gathered press was by all the razzle dazzle (my guess for both answers is “not much”).
  • Nintendo reiterated its previously announced relationship with GameSpy to provide online gameplay for Nintendo DS titles, making them the first media outlet mentioned in the press conference (but not the last). These sorts of mentions are one of the perks of being on both the editorial and infrastructure sides of the gaming industry, I suppose.
  • Reggie stressed that Nintendogs got a perfect score from Famitsu. The audience remained reverently silent. Do most of these people know what Famitsu is? Do they know how hard it is to get a perfect score there? Do they care?
  • Reggie also mentioned that the game has “the game blogs panting and slobbering,” a reference no doubt to The Puppy Times. Does one blog constitute a groundswell of support? Have I missed all the other gaming blogs that have panted and slobbered for the game? Is this yet another sign that blogging about games is becoming a rising force in the media landscape? Discuss!
  • The crowd seemed pretty stunned when the Revolution was actually shown. Guess they hadn’t read their USA Today that morning.
  • One brave soul actually booed when Nintendo revealed that the Revolution would have digital rights management support. A one-word editorial in a press conference where no skeptical questions or non-Nintendo opinions were given any voice. I love it!
  • There was an audible sound of remorse from the audience when it was revealed that Nintendo wouldn’t be showing the controller today. I think part of the appeal of these conferences for the press is being able to say you were there when this or that mega-announcement was made. Looks like we’ll have to wait a little longer for this one.
  • The crowd went a little crazy when Nintendo revealed that 20 years of old Nintendo games would be downloadable on the Revolution. First of all, this fact had already been revealed by USA Today for anyone who did some light morning web surfing, so the level of surprise was surprising. Secondly, it was near impossible to tell how much of this enthusiasm was real. Two people in Nintendo shirts were sitting behind me at the conference, whooping very loudly throughout the presentation, often at inopportune times. I talked to them after the conference was over and they confirmed that they were being paid by Nintendo (Nintendo of Canada, specifically) to sit there and cheer on their employers. From the sounds of it, other pockets of paid supporters were dotting the audience, trying to drum up support at key moments in the conference. It’s a surprisingly effective strategy… if people are cheering all around you, it feels somewhat uncomfortable if you’re not at least clapping or showing some sign of interest. In this way Nintendo can cause what might be a stoic, cynical audience to become a welcoming, cheering one for chump change. Then again, maybe the audience is just filled with enough Nintendo fanboys to achieve this effect anyway. But if that’s the case, why were there paid supporters sitting right behind me?
  • Near the end of the presentation, Nintendo’s president Satoru Iwata told the assembled press that we could “begin to make educated guesses on game experiences” based on the limited information about revolution features given that day. Way to encourage baseless speculation, Nintendo. I think Nintendo is hoping the press’ “educated guesses” will generate a lot of baseless hype for the Revolution based on features Nintendo didn’t even have to come up with or deliver. So get guessing, everyone! I’ll start you off: “Maybe the next Mario game will allow you to play all the levels of the previous game that you download, except now they’ll be in full 3D and you can use all the items from all the games and the controller will smell like mushrooms.” Your turn!
  • Nintendo’s show ended an hour after it started, and the assembled crowd rushed out to be the first to post their Zelda: Twilight Princess videos on eBay.

All in all, it was a fun conference to attend, though I have little basis for comparison. What did you guys think of the big three’s press conference doings this year?

5 thoughts on “AftEr3: Press Conference Ponderings

  1. 1)Nintendo2)Sony3)MicrosoftAt least nintendo’s presentation was short and to the point, and they actually showed something.Sony revealed an ugly system that no one will be able to afford to own or make games for. Not to mention what the system “could” do.Microsoft showed good stuff but it was incredibly boring and showed nothing we haven’t already seen.

  2. I suspect the comparitive ease of getting into each press conference was directly proportional to the amount of press wanting access.Sony and Microsoft are much, much bigger than Nintendo, overall, because they’re not “just” game companies. So what they do has much greater importance to many more people.

  3. I had the dismay of viewing the conferences the only way i could have, on G4 (ugh).. only thing i have to say there is i could have done with out their witty comentary, i can render my own thoughts on the showing of the systems with out them making fun of half the crap that was said. any way.. i think it all fell like this in order of importance and just plain goodness from the best to worstNintendo- Now all the Tina wood buiness aside, nintendogs does and will apeal to an american market, the market is becoming more japanese over time then we thing due to Anime and other sources becoming so popular. and let us not forget once many americans huddled over tomegotchi just like the japanese did, this is essentailly the same thing.The showing of the revolution and the little info that was given about it.. it seems nintendo knows people play their games because of their childhood memories of them and now they want to play up and sell that back to people. nintendo might have also looked at how many people out there play their old games on emulators and figured they had something there. not much else to say about the system though, if you go by nintendos train of thought they will release all the info after the other 2 big systems come out (or some times shortly before they do) and drop the ball some how like with the cube. But i myself still bought a cube for games like Zelda and such so nintendo’s plan is working any way, besides i think it has possibly the best graphics of all three systems out now (look at RE4). The big one for me was the Zelda movie. I nearly pee’d myself watching it. Amazing isnt even a word for it even if it is yet to reason that it’s to good to be true, but i have faith it’s every thing it seems to be. I’m not sure i’d say that super small gameboy is something to even mention but i’m sure somehow nintendo has something there. Sony- With the promise that the Killzone 2 movie was actual game play untweaked for showing at the show. This actually seemed to be the only real gusto that sony had but it was enough for me and alot of people i know. looking back on it this is the only thing i can actually remmeber from sony’s camp. Mircosoft- Nothing.. While yes its all very exciting i have no intrest in have the stuff mentioned in the confrence. i mean they are litterally making it a computer experiance and not a gaming one. I dont know about any of you out there but i have a computer that works fine, and even if i wanted another one it would be a laptop not a console. I think it’s noble of them to think of people other then gamers but i doubt someone is going to shell out the dough they are going to want us to pay to do the few things other then gaming the system does. they say they feel the Xbox is a system that is to nessled in a “hardcore” gamer nich and this is their fix to get more people into it. What they really need to do is take the time to actually go and get a library of games, I’m possitive this will make them seem less hardcore. The PS2 for example has every kind of game you can probably think of, hell even a game where you can be a masquito, Xbox has maybe a 1/4 of that kind of library and almost none of the games end up being any good, the ones that are good/exceptional end up being the Halo’s and Kotor’s that brought the system it’s fame in the first place… In my very small opinion it wasnt a good showing for Microsoft, it made me want to beat my head in with a shovel honestly.

  4. Lets start with:Sony: The first and most shocking conference.Good: PS3 announcement. Killzone video (if its real time). Lots of real time demos.Bad: Very little to none PSP talk. Horrible PS3 design. Killzone demo (if its pre-rendered). Horrible design (bommerang controller and spiderman text logo). And some boring speeches.Final Rating: A- (Just on the PS3 announcement alone)Microsoft: A company that had the ball and dropped it… twice.Good: At least they have 360 games on the show floor.Bad: The conference itself. “Cool” people on the back of the stage???J Alard, I always say that J is the reason I don’t have an Xbox now. And with this conf. you can see why.Final Rating: F (They have the MTV special and they blew it. And even at E3 they blew it. Velocity Girl can go to hell.)Nintendo: They always have the last word.Good: Revolution announcement, Zelda, Nintendogs, and games games games.Bad: Lack of Revolution info. Some Boring speeches. Not as shoching as last year conf.Final Rating: B+ (Not bad by any means but not surprising as Sony. But you have to give credit that at least they talk about all their active systems)

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