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Nintendo Brings the Heat, Can Sony Compete?

June 15, 2010 Written by Sebastian Moss

Nintendo is the oldest hardware maker still producing consoles in the industry, and their Wii console and DS handheld have dominated the games market since they launched. However, in recent years Nintendo’s E3 conference has been rather lacking, with the company trying to appeal to the casual market, despite the gaming event being primarily focused on core games. This year, Nintendo has changed all that, bringing “games for everyone”, as well as a new 3D DS, which is sure to strengthen their foothold in the casual, handheld and core market. With Sony eyeing up the motion controller industry, and with their PSP already flagging behind the DS, can Sony hope to compete at this year’s E3?

The Core

Dusting off your Wii:

Zelda: When the Wii was first released gamers worldwide flocked to buy the machine, and for many this was due to one game – Zelda: Twilight Princess. Once fans had completed the game they were left with dreadfully little to play, and soon the Wii became little more than a white lump under gamer’s TVs. Now, Nintendo has announced Zelda: Skyward Sword, which will use the motion plus, supposedly giving it near life-like sword fighting.

GoldenEye: The remake to the greatest first person shooter ever? Sold. While it may not be made by Rare, and will be running on the Wii rather than on a powerful HD console, casual gamers and core gamers alike should be tripping over themselves to get this game.

Epic Mickey: Warren Spector’s crazy masterpiece, at first it may sound like a children’s game – and they will certainly love it – but the sheer history, as well as the great level design will make it a must have for everyone who grew up on Disney.

Kirby’s Epic Yarn/Donkey Kong Country Returns: Luckily for Nintendo, when many of us were young, we played on their consoles. Utilising their rich heritage of IPs has always been a successful move for the company, but this year they are taking it to the next level. Many gamers lived on a diet of Kirby and Donkey Kong, and these games – each providing a different take on the franchises we loved, will most certainly be successful for Nintendo.

The Casual:

Like it or not, but Sony would love to have a piece of the casual market pie, its massive, and very lucrative. Microsoft is also after this market with Kinect, but Nintendo aren’t going down without a fight:

Mario Sports Mix: Sure Mario may be selling out, appearing in every possible game combination ever, but the fact is the games are made well, and more importantly, they sell.

Just Dance 2: Not exactly the average gamers cup of tea, but the first game was a surprise success on the Wii, and now its sequel will be exclusive to the console.

Handheld:

Sure, the PSP has played second fiddle to the DS since its release, but with rumors of a PSP2, as well as a fresh batch of games like GoW coming to the PSP, but Nintendo’s 3DS looks set to crush any attempt made by Sony.

3DS:

3D Games: Reggie Fils-Aime (President and COO of Nintendo of America)  made it very clear that the 3DS would not use glasses to show 3D, in fact he went on to attack 3D glasses and how unfashionable they are. Currently the PS3 is the only 3D gaming console, and it requires 3D.

Kid Icarus: Again, a famous franchise of yesteryear, highly anticipated and often rumored, the game will appeal to old-school gamers and newcomers alike, as they take to the skies in 3D.

Metal Gear Solid: We love to think of Metal Gear as a PlayStation franchise, MGS4 was one of the highest selling games ever on the PS3, and the recently released Peace Walker is a terrific PSP game. However, with Kojima appearing on Microsoft’s show twice in as many years, it is getting harder and harder to argue the case. Now he’s bringing MGS to the 3DS, details are scarce, but it’ll certainly be a hit among core gamers.

Resident Evil: Apparently there’s a PSP game in the works, but little has been shown of the game, what is known, however, is that the most successful horror franchise in the world is coming to 3DS.

Assassin’s Creed: Assassin’s Creed Bloodlines wasn’t very good on the PSP, but perhaps the 3DS version of the franchise will be better, either way, it’ll sell well.

Splinter Cell: The last game came exclusively to the 360 earlier this year, and was a huge hit among core gamers, will they be swayed by this portable offering?

Saints Row: GTA Chinatown Wars was a sales disappointment on the DS, but it was a great game, will Saints Row be able to sell well and be a great game? Only time will tell.

Kingdom Hearts: More Disney love, one that will certainly make millions of gamers happy.

3D Movies: 3D movies will be coming to the handheld, Sony’s UMD movies may have flopped but the 3D aspect of these movies is sure to make them a massive hit. Nintendo has effectively revolutionised the portable movie market.

With Sony’s conference only a few hours away will they be able to best Nintendo at E3?

The Core:

Already confirmed for the show are Killzone 3, Infamous 2, LittleBigPlanet, GoW: Ghost of Sparta, Dead Space 2 and more. Sony has the core game front covered, but lacks the any games which share the killer appeal of Nintendo’s franchises. With games such as Resistance 3 and Twisted Metal heavily rumored to be shown, Sony can still win core gamers hearts.

The Casual:

PlayStation Move will be receiving motion compatible games such as Move Party and The Shoot, which are sure to make core and casual gamers very happy. However, as yet Sony hasn’t shown a killer game, or lineup of games that will be able to tear away Wii owners from their consoles. What’s more, the majority of Wii games announced are set for Fall 2010, the same time as Move.

The Handheld:

The PSP may have sold over 50 million times, but compared to the DS it has a rather small market share. Due to piracy and other problems the software sales of the handheld have been disappointing, and last year’s PSP Go has failed to ship many units at all. Can Sony make the PSP important? Probably not, even with a bunch of new games the 3D aspect of the 3DS will make it the must have gadget. However, will there be a PSP2, or a PSPhone? These are heavily rumored, with many industry analysts speculating that this will happen. 3D is unlikely, but a touch screen or dual analogue nub could save the PSP brand, unfortunately, it is unlikely that it will ever be able to overcome the DS in sales, but we sure hope Sony try.

Sony’s massive E3 conference is only moments away, will they be able to top Nintendo? Tell us in the comments below.