Friday, April 9, 2010

E3 '10 Predictions : Hardware : 9 Weeks To Go

As foreshadowed in my previous post on the Xbox 360 Slim, here are my predictions for E3 hardware. I'm not doing software here - I may do that later - but right now, I'm focusing on the three major companies and what they'll be bringing to the table.

First off to bat is Nintendo, purely because they hold a special place in my heart; they're the Apple of the game industry. Nintendo, this year, will focus on the handheld lineup. Nintendo of Japan just announced today Pokémon Black and White versions for the DS, and that's a good reason why Nintendo would focus on portable hardware. Oh, and the fact the Japanese press pressured (pun somewhat intended) NOJ into revealing the 3DS much earlier than anticipated.

With the cat out of the bag, Nintendo let everyone know they're releasing it, and a formal announcement will be made at E3 this year. Nintendo is never one to reveal multiple lines of hardware in one showing, so this year will be dedicated to the 3DS, showing it, and any software that devs - be it Nintendo themselves or a close, third-party dev, like Ubisoft - have been churning out since Nintendo let them in on the secret.

There won't be a mention on the Wii HD, as I believe they won't even bother with that until TGS or maybe even Leipzig, at the earliest. Nintendo should be keen on making a better version of the Wii, as Sony has the PS3 Slim, and the aforementioned rumors of the Xbox 360 Slim are creeping up faster than Gonoherpesyphilitis after your return from your 2-week long vay-cay in Amsterdam.
This year would be the first time in five years Microsoft has talked hardware, and when I say "hardware," I don't mean an accessory that gives it new life (Project Natal). I'm talking about a brand new effing console. Putting to rest the rumors that have been circling for a while now, Microsoft will finally unveil the Xbox 360 Slim, with the purported motherboard image leak as the motherboard. No Memory Units, a built-in hard drive, and USB sticks as the portable storage solution. On-board Wi-Fi would help, but knowing them, I doubt it. The motherboard image does have an odd silver box in the corner, which even mystifies Ben Heck; it could be the rear USB spot, it could be Wi-Fi (albeit, an odd looking Wi-Fi antenna). Blu-ray is another no-go, as they'll be stubborn as a fucking mule and keep touting DVD as the better format. A self-loading disc slot (ala Wii, PS3, MacBooks for the past 6 years, and just about any laptop you'll find nowadays) will show up, helping curb issues of disc read errors and a multitude of problems seen with trays.

Helping their Slim announcement, they'll bring WinMo7 into the mix, and show off Xbox Live integration across a WinMo7-enabled device, a PC and the the 360, using the Slim as their system of choice. And what device will they be using to show off WinMo7 to a group of gamers who probably could care less about a cell phone? None other than the Zune HD2, sporting WinMo7 and running everything the phone-versions of WM7 does, minus the whole phone part. Seeing a less costly way to get their mobile Achievement fix, working hand-in-hand with a new console, plus more Natal hooplah, Microsoft should get their shit together now and get ready to woo all of us.

Oh, Sony. Where would the community be without ye? Your overzealous attitude towards your competitors - and even yourself - as brought forthwith a dazzling spectacle of gamers as a whole lashing out at your asshole-ish nature. Yet, if it weren't for Kevin Butler's awesome man-smile that gets us so riled up that we, without hesitation, finally go out and buy a PS3 - after the hardware revision, mind you - and start liking you, despite trying to entice us with Sterile White-painted rooms and those fucking creepy babies, we'd still hate you.

Seriously, Sony, what the fuck was with that original campaign? Were you trying to scare us into buying a PS3?

I divert. This year, Sony is riding the - at last - success of their 4-year old system, that has gotten it's company standard facelift, and they can finally talk some mild shit, considering all of their franchises have finally seen the light of day on their system. Coming from the previous gen, Sony's finally giving gamer's multiple reasons to buy a PS3. So what's next?

The only front that Sony has left would be the portable market. The PSP is doing horrid. Sales are down, interest in the PSPgo does not exist, and yet, they try to sell us on it by giving us ports and rehashed of old games, with a gem here, there and over there. The only way to get us interested in the system would to finally unveil the actual PSP 2. This little guy would be Sony's saving grace, if they actually did the right things. Leave the UMD drive in, and somehow cram in a small flash drive capable of storing several gigs worth of data; it's very possible to have a small device that packs a punch and still have moving parts, you just need to think of it. The flip-out design of the PSPgo is intriguing, but it's not enough to get me to buy one. If you really want to get people to buy one, add the one thing that we've been yelling at you for since you started talking about the PSP-1000; a second analog nub. Actually, eff that, make it an actual stick. Make them retractable, so we can easily store our system without worry about damage. Take into consideration the PSPgo's design. As it closes, internal mechanisms would cause the nubs to retract into the system, allowing the screen to slide over and protect them. Done (Ed. note: holy shit, I've spent more time on Sony's section than both Nintendo and Microsoft combined. Coincidence? Hell no.)

E3 2010 can shape up to be the year of the hardware, but if it's up to the companies at hand, they sure as shit better get something going, rather than sit on their Hoppity-Hops all day..