Today was a big day for tech and gaming nerds. Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) kicked off and the big Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) press conferences were held. For a lot of people, it was a good day.
Unless you’re a Microsoft fan.
The unveiling of the xBox One (a name I still can’t wrap my head around) wasn’t smooth a couple weeks back. Lots of controversy around it, such as restrictions on used games, 24-hour online check-ins and Kinect being mandatory. No doubt the NSA revelations from last week sent the haters into overdrive.
Well, their conference at E3 was not great. In the kindest words possible, it was underwhelming. In the harshest, it was exactly what the critics of the new system were looking for to justify their hatred. I’ve never been a console wars guy – I liked them all, I just happened to be a Nintendo and Sony fan, but I didn’t chastise others for their taste in Microsoft – but today I found myself wondering why you would be an xBox fan.
It’s not like they’re losing fans. I know several who have already pledged paychecks to the cause. But if today’s press conference was anything to go by… You might actually want to pay rent instead, friends.
Sony, however… It was a shock. Their press conference started as I was afraid it would: buzzwords, social media and the touting of non-gaming services. But once they blew through that, it was on like something akin to Donkey Kong that wouldn’t land them in court over theft of intellectual property. Beautiful games were shown, both gameplay and cinematic trailers unleashed.
For me, seeing Kingdom Hearts 3 and Batman: Arkham Origins made me need a new pair of pants.
For the former, a trailer showing the evolution of the series, followed by a quick gameplay teaser simply announcing the game was in development. If you know anything about me, you know I am intensely devoted to the series and, like others, I’ve been waiting for word on the next main story installment. Now we have confirmation and I had such a nerd high seeing it that I couldn’t drive.
For the Batman game, a couple of things, first and foremost being Black Mask, a villain who doesn’t get near the love he needs sometimes from fans. A big crime lord in Gotham, he has apparently hired three baddies – Deadshot, Deathstroke and Bane – to kill Batman for a $50,000,000 reward. The downside, however, is the lack of Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill as Batman and Joker, respectively. I was expecting it, but still… it made me a bit sad.
Sony’s big win came with announcing a price for the unit. The cheapest will be $399. The cheapest xBox One unit is $499. It’s going to be a big deal, I think.
Now, Apple did something today I had been waiting to see hints of: a redesign of the iOS. iOS 7 is apparently going to be completely redone to the point that it’s almost unrecognizable… but a lot prettier. Functionality doesn’t seem to have been sacrificed. In fact, it seems a lot more improved. Also a big deal for Apple, the announcement of a new Mac Book Pro, which looks sleek as all get out and incredibly sexy. My one regret is that I haven’t won the Powerball yet.