Nintendo Blinked? Understanding what really happened at E3 2012
- By: CM Boots-Faubert
- Posted 10th Jun 2012
There is a tradition in the realm of games journalism with respect to the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) that shapes coverage of the event; in the weeks leading up to the big show a great deal of speculation takes place as games journos take out and polish their crystal balls (many of which have been in storage since the previous year's Expo) whereupon they offer sage advice on what will happen, what will be revealed, and who will come out "the winner" this year. As you might expect while many of them get it right or close enough, more than a few do not, but largely thanks to the more accurate follow-in coverage we forget about that bit.
As the countdown shrinks to mere days, the accuracy of these "predictions" transitions from vague and general to much more specific -- largely as the result of pre-E3 press releases and a firmer idea of what will actually be trotted out by the various entities whose voices -- for that one all-too-brief week in the year -- become the clarion call and navigational chart for the rapidly approaching gaming season.
Once the event arrives it may seem reasonable to assume that the facts -- and the impact they have -- will instantly grow clear and, naturally, point the way not only to where the world of video games and gaming is headed but also provide a more certain notion of what will be arriving and when. In theory -- as the week progresses -- it seems reasonable that a better idea of just where each studio and game stands in the virtual tug-of-war for attention that takes place at the show (or that most gamers imagine takes place) will lead to useful assessment and a constant stream of information that is both enlightening and intriguing and, as each studio lays out its new games and their strategies, offer clarity in the brief glimpses that they provide the attendees and, as a result, the gaming public as they consume the information that flows like a wildly out-of-control fire hose direct from the show floor.
The reality is something different however, and in fact the most useful information (and a more accurate interpretation of what was seen and experienced at the show) only begins to appear now, in the weeks that directly follow the show, as the games journos make their way home, returning to their respective bull pens at their publications, finally able to carefully review the notes that they made, the observations that they recorded, and the substance of the interviews conducted, distilling that information into an easier to understand more readily studied big picture format.
The addition of Internet Explorer and SmartGlass means that surfing the web on your TV will never be easier?
Interpreting the first Surprise of E3 2012
Going into this year's E3 it was an established and accepted fact that there would be no major next-generation console announcements, since both Sony and Microsoft (for different reasons) chose to delay opening the promotional process for their next-gen consoles, preferring to focus attention upon the current generation and the games and peripherals that are their current tactical strength, which distills down to the Move and Kinect respectively, though to be fair Sony was sharing its focus with its "new" Vita mobile gaming platform.
That being the case, it was widely anticipated that the games themselves would be the major focus of the show, and that Nintendo would garner the lion's share of the next-gen attention, with their announced plan to reveal the upcoming lineup for game titles for the Wii U and focus a bit more attention on the hardware that combined with the new Wii U is meant to change the way that gamers game...
Now for a bit of pointed digression and a history lesson of sorts that nicely illustrates what actually happened on the morning of Monday, June 4, 2012 when E3 2012 unofficially opened...
Hop into the Wayback Machine and set it for forty years before World War I (you know, the War to End All Wars?) broke out, and zip into the study of Field Marshal Helmuth Karl Bernhard Graf von Moltke, the Chief of Staff of the Prussian Army, who is regarded as one of the great strategists of the latter 19th century, and who is credited with conceiving what was at that time the new and more modern method of directing armies in the field, as well as battle tactics that are still considered SOP today.
Historians prefer to append the qualification "the Elder" to his name so as not to confuse him with his nephew, Helmuth Johann Ludwig von Moltke, commander of the German Army at the outbreak of World War I, and not the master tactician and strategist we are talking about here... Still with us? Good.
One stand-out kudo to Graf von Moltke's credit was that he was among the first influential military strategists to realize the great defensive power of modern firearms, and there is a long list of other firsts as well, but we don't need to go any further down that path since you now know who he was and what he did, so we can cut to the chase and offer you his two most famously quoted (and often miss-quoted) pearls of wisdom: "No plan of operations extends with certainty beyond the first encounter with the enemy's main strength" (or "no plan survives contact with the enemy") and "Strategy is a system of expedients."