Post e3 Press Conferences, XBOX wins
05/16/2001 7:30:00 PM MDT Albuquerque, Nm
By Dustin D. Brand; Owner AMO
e3 for Microsoft is just beginning, so how did all the press conferences go?
It's now 3:07 am on the 17th and I've slept 3 hours in 3 days. So yes, it's been an exciting last couple of days.
MICROSOFT XBOX - 8:30am PDT
Microsoft opened e3 right up with the first press conference first thing in the morning (Pacific Time 8:30am). It is now 3:30pm MDT and I'll wrap up for you how each press conference went.
Microsoft wasted no time letting go in smooth well planned sentences the Release date of the XBOX this fall - November 08, 2001. The outspoken Robbie Bach then wasted no time introducing Lorne Lanning, team leader of what is Munch's Oddysee...
Lorne Lanning, head Munch's Oddysee team leader led the pack of XBOX wolves going straight into a full IN REAL TIME game play experience that is Munch and Abe. The Oddworld Munch and Abe work hard to save was changed from foggy and desolite to clear and pristine showcaseing the power of the XBOX in real time. Lorne explored the Munch and Abe Oddworld...this was 15 minutes of pure adult gameplay joy, as an observer of course (can't wait to get my hands on it).
Next came Halo, yes in real time, no time was wasted, and he began to play. Sound was amazing, graphics too, with gunfire and grenades all over the place with your team members voices interacting all the way through. This 2 was 15 minutes of Glory Gaming Glory. Yes g3. Can you say Halo LAN party?
Wasting no more time, Microsoft team Bungie with Halo gave the floor to what is Dead or Alive 3, and about a 5 minute IN REAL TIME on the XBOX demo of DOA3, the third of the XBOX exclusives shown this morning... Straight from JAPAN, Lead DOA3 developer led us straight into in incredibly impressive DOA3 demo. Once this demo was finished, the crowd, including myself was in even more awe than the 2 before (as you could tell by the applause). People were really getting excited. We all laughed once the demo had finished and the translator for (Itagaki-san) said, see it works pretty good, and I'm really proud of it. As humble as he was, DOA3 will definitly appeal to the Japanese market, as well as american with tons of martial arts, and a great japanime feel to it that no one can hate. The motion blur in DOA3 is outstanding. Yet another must have title for the XBOX. Keep in mind, it's only been 45 minutes since the press conference started right on time.
Robbie Bach is back, now here comes Capcom, announcing their partnership with Microsoft. Capcom's Shinji Mikami (from JAPAN) with a translator wasted no time announceing 3 more Exclusive titles for the XBOX, these just from Capcom. See a pattern here...good, very observant. Over 80 XBOX exclusive titles have been announced thus far. In walks Onimusha, completely redeisgned, and the first PS2 Million selling title, now exclusive to the XBOX. Ok that's big. Another good looking title now exclusive to the XBOX is Dino Crisis 3 and one more game "BRAIN-BOX" (code name and tentative title), an original robot simulation game also produced by Mikami.
Microsofts' Press Conference was one huge announcement after another, with many other titles shown. Another huge idea, which even a decade ago I entertained with more than 1 phone line and a Doom deathmatch partner on the other end, is now in game voice communication. With the advent of Broadband gaming, Microsoft unveiled the XBOX Communicator, a headset allowing in game voice communication with your teammates or opponents, true innovation once again with the XBOX.
Steven Speilburg even took time to record his words on the XBOX and his upcoming movie "A.I.", along with the XBOX being the exclusive platform to get the game's based on the movie.
Sega of America President Peter Moore came on stage and said that Microsoft was "an adversary turned REAL good friend" ...he also said "our 11 developer teams absolutely salivated at the hard drive for online content...", and he ended his speech with, "so, do I think Microsoft can do all of this? You bet your ass..." The head DOA3 developer also had some outspoken comments on the XBOX. He said "I know most of you underestimate a newcomer to this industry because it's so easy to do so...well I'm here to prove to you that the XBOX can do everything they say it can...there is no other system in existance that would allow me to see my vision of this game..."
Over all Microsofts' XBOX Press Conference was amazing. I left wanting more, and after SONY's presentation - even though it started late, I think MS could have gone a bit longer than their 1.5 hour conference. MS should have plenty of time with so many games at the show to make up for this, and me wanting more is a good thing.
NINTENDO Press Conference - 10:30am PDT
Peter Main, executive vice president of Nintendo America wasted no time in introducing Satoro Iwata, director of strategic planning for Nintendo. Satoro started the "Nintendo Difference" Presentation. I'd like to note that Peter Main was present at the XBOX conference this morning.
Satoro said in english (he needed no translator) "There is not much more developers can do to impress players only with pictures. The hardest thing is to entertain, there is too much focus on graphics over real entertainment." Satoro brought up a slide, part of the Nintendo Difference presentation showing a imaginary game box entitled "Mega Game". He went on to say, "see, what happens now is when a game company makes a great selling game they simply make a sequel." Leading to the next slide with a "Mega Game" box, next to another "Mega Game" box. "Before you know it, other companies are doing the same..." the next slide shows 6 "Mega Game" boxes, in a pyramid type structure...the crowd laughs...on to the next slide where there are 16 "Mega Game" boxes on the 2 screens on each side of Satoro.
"If that (keeps happening), the console business becomes a commodity business. There is no reason to choose one console over another, except price, it doesn't matter which machine you choose--they all play the same games." Satoro added.
Side note, Nintendo is as guilty as any other company in releasing new versions of the same franchise game, examples are Mario, Zelda, and many others. I found this very ironic, and quite contradictory in Nintendos' stance of being Different in this specific presentation. The Slide show was however extremely humorous hearing Satoro and his good english, and people laughed while knowing Nintendo was guilty of the very thing they were saying they were different from.
So, as far as myself, and most of the rest of the people watching the Nintendo Difference slide show presentation, all we could do was laugh at the state of the industry in general, everyone knowing just how guilty Nintendo is as well. Satoro is a funny guy though, and he did a GREAT job with the presentation, his job was done.
Without further ado, Miyamoto is introduced by Peter Main, and out walks Miyamoto, the crowd CHEERS! Here comes another funny guy, Miyamoto with his great sense of humor. Miyamoto wastes no time with too much chit chat and pulls out a "Luigi's Mansion" disc, places it in the GameCube waiting on stage for him, not the one he walked out with. The American next to him is with Nintendo of America, and speaks in English as Miyamoto switchs from English back to Japanese. The American beings to play Luigi's Mansion. Seting the scene saying that Luigi won a contest and won the mansion, but "Mario is missing", and Luigi has to rescue him from the ghosts in his mansion while a weird doctor helps him.
Armed with a vacuum cleaner on his back and a flashlight, Luigi looks like a member of the GhostBusters team. Who ya gonna call? LUIGI! The american player (not Miyamoto-he is not playing) shows us around the mansion, while Miyamoto speaks in Japanese. The american admits he isn't very good at the game yet, but manages to stun a few ghosts with the flashlight, then quickly suck them into the vacuum on Luigis back.
Nintendo brought back memories for me, and I wouldn't mind being 7 years old again. Unfortunatly for me, I do not fit into Nintendo's target demographic, and thus their games are not targeted at me. Nintendos' entire showcase, including Luigi and the like are still aimed at their stronghold in the little kids ages 6-12.
Another game litte kids might enough is "PIKMIN" where the kid can control ant-like plant characters on an alien planet where big bugs are out to eat you.
Over all, Nintendo did a great job differentiating themselves from SONY and Microsoft, but in doing so didn't let go of their strengths in the childrens game market. Peter Main, Ex. VP of Nintendo America, did say when asked about whether Nintendo thought that targeting the Children was an advantage...
"I think it's a wonderful advantage. You know people play with numbers and generalize this,
the truth of the matter is we havn't done so well with the 18-24yr olds in the past which
happens to be about 12-15% of the market.
We're going after that with a vengence this time...But most important we're going to
protect at any cost our wonderful heritage with young children, young teens their parents,
even old guys - you know that like to get into it...We're in the majority of the market or about
All of the industry data shows that the late teen-adult game players is not only the largest market of video game players now, but also the fastest growing. Ages 18-24 happens to be one age group demographic out of many representing late teen-adult game players, Nintendos' strength happens to be in the Children, and Peter said they'd protect that at any cost.
The GameCube is scheduled to launch 3 days before the XBOX in America on November 5th, and in Japan on September 14th this fall, 2001.
Nintendo GameBoy Advance is scheduled to be released June 13 here in America, and since it's launch over a month ago in Japan Nintendo has sold 1.6M units and 3.1M units of software.
Nintendo plans on releaseing the financial info regarding the price of the GameCube in a week at their financial conference.
Nintendo didn't announce the lowering of the GameCube specs at their press conference, but did make these additional lowered specs available afterwards.
Main memory bandwidth 3.2GB/s down to 2.6GB/s
Gekko to memory bandwidth 1.6 down to 1.3GB/s
Sound Processor 100mhz down to 80mhz
Texture read bandwidth from 12.8GB/s to 10.4GB/s
Sustainable latency from 5ns to 6.2ns
13GFLOPS to 10.5GFLOPS
While the original GameCube specs didn't touch the XBOX specs, now with these revised GameCube specs, the Microsoft XBOX has an even higher technical superiority. For example the XBOX has a sustained 76 GigaFlops vs. the now revised 10.5 GigaFlops for the GameCube. Nintendo did say too much concentration was being made on Graphics, so they did indirectly admit their graphics aren't the best.
SONY Press Conference - 1:30pm PDT
SONY was late due to technical difficulties in their presentation and they started more than 30 minutes late. Geez...
Most of SONY's presentation was in video form, showing plenty of full motion videos of their games, which looked great. Having Nintendo inbetween Microsoft and SONY really did emphasize the differences between Nintendo vs SONY and Microsoft.
"We see a convergence of entertainment--film, music, broadcasting," said Kaz Hirai, president of Sony Computer Entertainment of America. "We are obviously the brand for the living room."
Most of SONY's hardware addons were already known, the details were not. The hardware add-ons include a $40 combination Ethernet/modem adapter that will allow for broadband and dial-up Internet connections via any Internet service provider and a 40GB hard drive that will allow the PS2 to store just about any form of digital entertainment. Both are set to go on sale in November, right around the time Microsoft's XBOX launches.
SONY even showed an LCD screen, next to a keyboard and mouse, literally turning the PS2 into a mini-PC.
These functions tie into new partnerships with America Online, RealNetworks and Macromedia that will give the PS2 its own version of the Netscape browser, e-mail, instant messaging, and streaming audio and video capability, among other functions. This could also be considered a direct blow at Microsoft considering SONY is now teamed up with many of Microsoft's major competitors, while Microsoft themselves are competing with the PS2 with their superiror XBOX.
SONY said that they'd have playable online games by this holiday.
Over all, SONY's press conference was the most predicitable, with their come-back stance against Microsoft whom threatens to dethrone them.
Official XBOX Launch Date: November 8th, 2001 11/08/01
Official XBOX Price: $299.00 US Dollars
MORE News throughout the day on the XBOX, check back often.
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