Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft: Who will win at E3?

E3 2012 is just around the corner, and this year's show could prove to be one of the most important in years. That's because a new console generation is just around the corner, with Nintendo's Wii U already prepping for launch, while Microsoft and Sony continue to deny rumors of their own next generation machines. Not to mention that Sony and Nintendo are waging a huge portable battle, with the 3DS squaring off against the PS Vita. Not to mention that all three companies are still looking to squeeze out more sales of their current console generation, with plenty of new exclusives waiting to be announced.

So, the three major players are duking it out at E3 2012, and we asked the GameZone crew the most important question of all. Who will win?

Lance Liebl

As this is likely the last E3 before the Lizard people rise up and end the world this December (as predicted by the Mayans), I think that the big three — Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo — should each be trying to have their most impressive showing ever. But that won't happen. You know what will actually happen? Sony will win in a landslide, that's what. Why you may ask? The answer doesn't necessarily have to do with what Sony is doing, but more with that their competition is up to.

Microsoft is insistant about focusing on entertainment. They'll be showing off some of the Internet Explorer integration with the Kinect (maybe they'll download Firefox onto the 360 with it), we'll see more Kinect nonsense, etc. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed Kinect Disneyland Adventures and Once Upon a Monster, but for every good Kinect game there's four bad ones. We'll see a heavy dose of Halo 4, but will that be enough to win?

Nintendo is actually going to be showing off their new console... again. The Wii 1.5 will be talked about tons. We'll get a ton of new details and specs, and probably five party games with that. Maybe instead of calling it the Wii U, they should go for a more cinematic/dramatic name, like "The Wii 2: Return of the Wiimote" (and one new tablet controller).

What do we get from Sony? We actually get games we want. Who would've thought that E3 would be about awesome games?! We'll get some God of War Ascension, some Vita game announcements (and maybe a price cut?), and a ton of 'mine is bigger than yours' games from Sony. What's really going to win it for Sony, though, is The Last of Us. And shouldn't it? Considering the world is about to end and all...

Verdict: Sony Wins

Andrew Clouther

As someone who was raised on Nintendo, I’ve always felt that I have a certain bias (and unconditional love) for that big ‘N’ and the products which pour from their developers.  However, for some time now I haven’t been feeling that same love I used to feel.  The announcement of some sort of new Metroid game or new Smash Brothers game would be the only things that would excite me. 

Now, as someone who doesn’t own anything Sony I can’t say I’m looking forward to anything in particular. I'm a post-apocolypse lover, so The Last of Us intrigues me, and I would like to see some new announcements from that team. Meanwhile, I don't think Nintendo has anything to worry about regarding Smash Bros ripoff PlayStation All Stars. Honestly, it's a bit sad knowing there's not any real competition to encourage Smash Bros to step up their game, but oh well.

Lastly, there is Microsoft.  Everything is “Better with Kinect” after all, right?  Honestly though, when was the last time anyone bought a Kinect exclusive game?  I will say though,  that I’m impressed with some of the new functionality the Kinect has been offering. Though Mass Effect 3’s Kinect controls were completely gimmicky and unnecessary, it at least worked really smoothly. I admit I didn’t use these features myself, but I liked having that option, and want to see what direction Microsoft takes the Kinect next.  It’s been awhile for me having love for the Halo series, but Halo 4 does have potential and I’m curious.

Verdict: It isn’t a very large margin, but my vote goes to Microsoft for 2012’s E3.

Michael Splechta

This question always gives me a tough time, especially this year. The past couple of years, it was a fairly easy guess, not to mention Nintendo was usually at the bottom with lackluster Wii game announcements, or incredibly stupid peripherals (vitality sensor anyone?). This year however, it could honestly go to anyone. Sony might just pull some awesome Vita exclusives out of thin air, Microsoft could finally stop making shovelware Kinect games, or Nintendo could really amaze is with the Wii U. So who do I think will take E3? Let's break it down.

Let's start with Sony. I was a hard supporter of the Vita. So much so, that I even opted to buy the more expensive model which came out a week ahead of the official release. I don't regret my purchase of the system, as I'm loving the games I'm currently playing, but I can't help but feel that its library is feeling somewhat...empty. The initial release of games were plenty and awesome, but week after week, my trips to my local GameStop consist of staring at the Vita wall, which consists of the same games week after week. My point is here, without a PS4 announcement, Sony really has to push its new baby to the limit, and it can only do that by announcing some truly must own exclusive games, or ports of console games that were never available on handhelds before. The Last of Us can only take Sony so far.



Microsoft isn't winning me any favors either. Before the launch of the Kinect, I was easily impressed by the tech demos, if not a bit skeptical. I was amazed by the technology behind Milo and wanted to see just how far Microsoft can take the Kinect to enhance the way we play games. So far, I've been mostly disappointed. There have been some standouts, but mostly it's the same, nonresponsive, and laggy affair that just make me wish the game was designed with a controller in mind. If Microsoft is going to push the Kinect, it needs to eliminate the problems behind the technology. It also needs to integrate them seamlessly into games much like Mass Effect 3, but this time, make me want to use it, make it necessary, and most of all, make it fun.

Nintendo surprisingly has me intrigued the most. I wasn't a huge fan of the Wii U at first, especially considering that only one of those snazzy tablet controllers can be used on a single console. Kind of defeats the purpose of multiplayer games. Oddly enough, over time, I kept getting more interested in the Wii U and the technology behind it. It's also no secret that Nintendo first party franchises, such as the Zelda, Metroid, and of course Mario series, are one of the best in terms of gameplay, storytelling and overall enjoyment (easy Sony and Microsoft fanboys, easy), so with that said, I'm intrigued to see what Nintendo will show off for its upcoming Next-Gen console.

Verdict: It's a tough decision but seeing as though new hardware seems to be the talk of the town, I'm going to say that Nintendo might be the winner of E3 out of the Big Three. If it can deliver on some truly awesome first party games, as well as showcase full third party support, Nintendo might just win me over.

Matt Liebl

For the first time in a while, I honestly feel like the big three are going to be really predictable heading into E3. At this point, we know, or at least have a pretty good idea, of where each company stands and what they plan on doing.  What's the most any of them can do to really shock us? A price cut?

We have Microsoft who have repeatedly said no new console will be announced at E3. They seem content with the Xbox 360 and Kinect.  So what can they show off?  Halo 4, which I'm really excited about for the first time in a long time. Then what? Some Kinect technology? Some new entertainment apps or a new Xbox LIVE service?  Sure, those are cool and people seem to like them, but will it blow anybody's mind?

Next up we have Sony who have also remained committed to the PS3. They too have said they have no plans to reveal the PlayStation 4 - and with all the money spent on the Vita can you blame them?  Expect them to sell the Vita, and sell it hard. Will it rock the boat? Probably not. Hopefully they announce some really cool games for the Vita and show us some more footage of The Last of Us, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, and God of War: Ascension. Geeze, just looking at those three games, it looks like Sony already has a strong lineup heading into later 2012 and 2013.  Sony is known for their exclusives and for this reason, Sony could make a splash at E3. In my mind, this is where Sony is separating itself from Microsoft as more of a "gamers" console.  There is no doubt these games are going to be huge, but will it be enough to get people talking only about Sony?

Lastly, we have Nintendo.  The only one of the big three that plan on revealing a "next-gen" console.  The only problem? Their next gen Wii U, save for a few gizmos and gadgets, is only on par with the current generation.  Yes, we have the tablet controller which will add a nice touch of innovation (and if we've learned anything from the Wii, it's that innovation sells).  But how much will it sell for? This is the big question everybody wants to know, and the one question Nintendo has already said will not be answered at E3. In my opinion, the price of the Wii U will determine if the system is a hit or a flop.  Maybe we learn more about the system's tech and hopefully get some solid information about launch titles.  This could be the most exciting simply for the fact that it is new technology.

My winner goes to whoever throws the curveball.  We all think we know what Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo are going to do at E3, but will any of them have any big surprises?  If not, this may be one of the more boring E3 years.

Verdict: Surpise me

Vito Gesualdi

To start with, I've pretty much written Nintendo off as a player. When your company dips into the red for the first time in three decades, something is terribly wrong, yet aside from some reduced salaries, Nintendo hasn't done much to shake up their corporate structure. You've got the same people in charge who thought a $250 3DS was a good idea, yet couldn't even think to put a second analog stick on the thing. Looking forward to seeing just how badly they botch the Wii U, the same console which when announced, caused their stock price to fall. (Sorry to resort to an overused term, but "Epic Fail")
 
Sony and Microsoft however, is a much more interesting battle. To start with, Microsoft seems to be doing everything right these days. Though the Kinect has been a major disapointment, the 360 integration with... well, every video streaming service ever, has been incredible. Microsoft seems to be beating Sony at their own game, positioning the 360 as an awesome media center, a brilliant strategy considering that the pure "gaming" market all already own consoles. Instead, everybody is looking to win this media race, and Microsoft's planned integration of the Internet Explorer 7 browser could puts them ahead.
 
That being said, I really am pulling for Sony here. The Vita is an incredible device, and I'm hoping they can wow the world with some new Vita tech and get those important third party devs on board. With Kaz Hirai now in charge of Sony, you can be sure the former PlayStation head is going to be pushing the brand hard, and don't be surprised if we get some major Sony announcement that really shakes things up.
 
Verdict: Microsoft leads, but Sony could come from behind
Final Verdict: Microsoft narrowly squeaks out a win!

Do you agree with our predictions? Got an idea for a future GameZone Roundtable?  Let us know in the comments!

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Vito Gesualdi GameZone.com Senior Editor, DraftMagic.com Editor-in-Chief, NoNoComedy.com Contributor, and the hardest working man in show business. King of video walkthroughs for new games. Follow me on the twitters @VitoGesualdi.
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