Sony, Nintendo come out swinging at E3

A preview of the video game

A preview of the video game "Destiny" is shown during a Sony Computer Entertainment America media briefing before the opening day of the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, at the Memorial Sports Arena in Los Angeles, June 9, 2014. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Steve Tilley, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:58 PM ET

LOS ANGELES – There’s a special competition played each year among the major stakeholders at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, the gargantuan video game trade show held each year in Los Angeles.

It goes something like: “We have this. They don’t.”

While E3 hosts several dozen video game developers and publishers, many eyes are on the so-called Big Three – Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo – as they wage a battle for consumers’ loyalty, trotting out games (or exclusive content for otherwise non-exclusive games) that can’t be found on their competitors’ systems.

After Microsoft kicked off E3 by unveiling a roster of upcoming Xbox One titles for 2014 and 2015, Monday night and Tuesday morning saw Sony and Nintendo staging their own unveilings – a massive, high-tech press conference in the Los Angeles Memorial Arena for Sony, and a whimsical online-only video presentation for Nintendo – in a bid to convince gamers that their hardware and games are all anyone could want.

Sony made a splash with the revelation that the much-anticipated sci-fi shooter Destiny, by the creators of Halo, will come to the PlayStation 4 first in the form of a free “first look” demo, running this Thursday through Sunday. When the game launches in October, it will be available as a bundle with a new, white-coloured version of the PlayStation 4 console.

Sony announced that its game streaming service PlayStation Now will make a trial run debut in the U.S. and Canada beginning July 31, and that PlayStation Vita TV – now rebranded as PlayStation TV, although essentially still a non-portable version of the Vita – will come out this holiday season for $99.

Only a handful of fully exclusive PS4 games were unveiled, but they ran the gamut from the family-friendly LittleBigPlanet 3, in which burlap hero Sackboy will be joined by three new characters, to the dark and violent games Bloodborne and Let It Die.

After showing off games that will arrive on both Microsoft and Sony’s consoles but contain PS4-exclusive components, including Batman: Arkham Knight and the made-in-Canada Far Cry 4, Sony capped its E3 press conference with a brief trailer for next year’s PS4 exclusive Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, driving home the fact that just as 2015 will be a big year for movies, it will also be a massive year for gaming.

Nintendo, meanwhile, played directly to its devoted fanbase with a lighthearted online digital event that included Robot Chicken-style segments, developer interviews and Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Amis and Nintendo president and CEO Satoru Iwata duking it out in a real-life take on Super Smash Bros.

Nintendo’s big revelations included the upcoming release of Amiibo, a set of plastic character figurines that will interact with Nintendo games, beginning with this year’s Super Smash Bros. and Mario Kart 8. While it’s clearly lifting a page from Activision’s Skylanders and Disney Infinity, it seems a natural fit for Nintendo’s history and audience.

Some of Nintendo’s second-string characters will be getting a turn in the spotlight, with the Wii U game Yoshi’s Wooly World coming in 2015 and Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker releasing this holiday season. Also on tap are a pair of new Pokemon games, the action games Bayonetta 2 and Hyrule Warriors and Mario Maker, a Wii U game that will allow players to build their own Super Mario Bros. levels.

But Nintendo’s big reveal was a new and as-yet untitled The Legend of Zelda game for 2015, set in a sprawling open world that players can explore at will.

Also in the early stages of production is a new version of Star Fox, last seen on the Nintendo 64 in 1997.

“There’s never been a better time to play games on Nintendo platforms,” said Fils-Aime.

Translation: We have this. They don’t.


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