No, no, no. Don't be confused by the "QuickPeek" in the title. This has got nothing to do with the weekly QuickPeeks we offer you guys. This one's the E3 2009 edition. As in, this is a quick look-back at the things that happened, things that were said, things that would have been better off had it actually occurred -- basically a trip back down memory lane -- on the big 3's E3 2008 experience.
Yes, there were a lot of "major" announcements made on games, some more shocking than others (the biggest thunder-stealer for me would have to be FFXIII on Xbox 360). But we'll have a lot more fun detailing that in next week's issue. For the one we have today, we'll be focusing on the hardware announcements, rumors, and catfights among the industry heads. Drama can't get any more real than that. And then we'll see where we're at now. Come full circle, cos it's time for another E3.
Dear loyal readers, occasional passersby, and resident fanboys and flamers, allow me to officially welcome you all to QJ's E3 2009 coverage.
Okay, now here's how this Special Edition will go. We'll remind you what Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft dished out - corporate / hardware wise - from last year's E3 and link you back to the original article for an actual refresher. And then we look at what they've come up so far this year, running up to E3 2009, the "No Swine Flu Can Stop Us Evar" version. Oink.
Close-up in 3, 2, 1...
Nintendo's E3 presentation followed a day after Microsoft's on July 15, 2008, at 9:00AM, a few hours ahead of Sony's. Like Microsoft's presentation, they have a couple of new hardware goods in store for its loyal patrons. But more than the promised -- and eventually delivered goods -- what you'll have to admire is how this company has quietly, yet steadfastly, pursued and achieved its set goals, with as little fanfare (read: drama) as possible.
The first on the list was the accelerator peripheral for the DS. At that time, the buzz was that it will be primarily used for the Tony Hawk game on the handheld. It was also here that word first got official on a "newer, slimmed down" version of the DS.
We all know that turned out to be the DSi later on, that which I can safely say is the reason why DS sales skyrocketed even further past all other platforms. As for the accelerometer, well, we haven't heard anything about it ever since. Of course it's possible we could have just missed it, or it really was just meant to be an unofficial buzz that never really transition to actuality.
Link: DS gets accelerometer, and a newer, slimmed down DS redesign?
The other main item on the hardware list is the WiiSpeak, the microphone peripheral for Animal Crossing. Yes, it offers the voice chat feature, as well as other interactivity features, such as sending messages to real world cellphones.
The beauty of this peripheral was most probably downplayed by the fact that it was thought to be released only with Animal Crossing. However, Nintendo later on released specifics for standalone price details and features. And come November of 2008, they let out the promise that the WiiSpeak Channel will be arriving the following month, completely severing it exclusive affiliation and use with AC.
Link: Animal Crossing to have microphone peripheral, WiiSpeak
Link: More Wii Speak specifics: standalone price details, features
Link: Downloadable Wii Speak Channel coming in December
Looking back, the biggest highlight of the Nintendo press con last year was the segment on their hardware numbers. See, when the Wii launched, naysayers were proclaiming that the Wii is just a fad and that after a while, the sales will surely go down.
But almost a year after the launch, at the time of E3 '08, Nintendo revealed that they were consistently dishing out 700,000 Wii consoles a month. As for their handheld, the DS was raking in 200,000 units sold -- and thats every week. These pronouncements will prove significant as the year progressed, and the fiscal year ended, as you will see later on.
Link: Nintendo churning out 700k Wiis a month, 200k DSs a week
But then there was the "threat" of the new "gaming handheld" in town, the iPhone. Even before Sony took to the stage, they were already reacting, pumping up their energy, boldly and confidently stating that the DS is the one that should be worried about iPhone, not the PSP.
Nintendo allowed the E3 rush to settle down first before responding to that claim. A week later, Satoru Iwata addressed the statement of Koller and reiterated that the iPhone is no threat to the DS.
Later that year, the DSi was launched in Japan, and then following a North American release in April of this year, re-sparking the interest of young and young-at-heart gamers alike for the original touch screen handheld.
Again, why is this significant in our E3 '08 year of Nintendo?
Link: Koller says DS, not PSP, should be worrying about iPhone
Link: Nintendo CEO says iPhone not a threat to DS
This is why. Just as the fiscal year of 2008 came to a close, the NPD US April statistics came out, and with an astounding sales figure for the Nintendo hardwares, particularly 1 million DS sales. The Wii came in second in the list, with 340,000 units sold.
At this junction, it should be noted that the PSP folks have stopped referring back to that now in-your-faced Koller statement, as the DS continues to soar past the whole lot of them, as if it was in no competition with them, because hey, it's now in a league of its own.
Link: NPD US April shows astounding 1 million DS sales, slams sales of all other
Link: The big 3 respond to April NPD results
If you did find the Nintendo E3 '08 year a bit lacking in innovations in hardware features, as presented in that E3, it's clear that they did make up for it in flair they provided at the event and beyond.
This year, we're yet again seeing a very placid Nintendo, but we're quite certain they're not just resting snugly on their laurels (or counting their gold bars from their hardware sales). We're expecting a splash from them this year, alright. But we'll save that for the next E3 2009: QuickPeek Edition, the predictions version.