As I stated in my last post, I run a gaming store here in Montreal. I should clarify one thing, I don't own it, however I do not have a corporate shadow lurking behind me, what I do have is a Montreal real estate mogul with lots of money, and he lets me play with his money. I will be calling him Jack and we will be hearing from him in future posts because this guy is awesome. Anyways, letting me play with his money has its advantage and dissadvantage, one dissadvantage is that I am basically gambling with this guys money, for example, I did a 40k bet on Call of Duty modern Warfare 2 last November, which paid off just about 6-7k, yeah, it should not be news for you guys but new video game sales do not pay much. It can be a little stressful at times, but its part of the job. On the other hand it does have its advantages, like getting invited to what I like to call, mini E3`s. At these mini E3, Canadian reps from Sony, Nintendo and MS lay out their plans for the year. This will be my subject of the day because it was pretty interesting, for once. It should also give us a nice little preview of how the big three will approach E3 this year.
Up here in Canada the main videogames distributor is Solutions 2 Go, if you buy and sell games somewhere in Canada, you have had to deal with them at least once. They are the guys that set these meetings up and this year they certainly did a decent job. We where at the Hilton in Laval, a suburb of Montreal, and as usual the lunch was payed, coffe, tea, and cans of pop are flowin and our presenters took the stage in the little hotel conference room. First up, Nintendo.
Nintendo at these things as of late are kind of, shall I say, shallow. They remind us Mario is out selling everything in Canada, and that we should suggest Mario Titles with Nintendo products, you know, so Mario can keep outselling everything. They show Canadian Sales charts to flex the fact that 4 year old DS titles are still in the top ten and to basically stroke their ego in public. I think Nintendo have gone crazy with power, sad really, they used to be so humble, now they flaunt the sales like there is not tomorrow. They remind me of Sony a few years back, it seems to be the common behavior for the guys on top in this industry. Sony is humble again btw, and I love their new approach as of late, and I will get to them in a bit. Now back to Nintendo's public self gratification.
So after their rep reminded us how they are on top of the world, they did let us enjoy some upcoming products. I had a decent play time with Sin and Punishment and boy do I love that game, there is just something about simple twich based shooters with zany japanese antics that gets me all fired up. It is simple, but damn fun. I watched people play Mario Galaxy 2 because lets face it, I have no need to play it, its an instant buy for me and I know I will love it. Even though I criticize Nintendo's Cpt money-worth approach at PR, they do deliver on solid products and Mario Galaxy is no exeption. They had photo dojo their also, I didnt play it but I watched a few guys make a fighter and it looked like a good DSI ware game. Nothing more to report on Nintendo really, they sell a crap load of games and consoles, they know it, and they like reminding us.
After a lite lunch we go back in for Sony. One thing I though that was funny about Sony was that they had to use their Sony projector, no way they would use the the one provided by Solution 2 go. Sony loves Sony. The two guys doing the presentation where pretty awesome, after a short montage showing many titles including GT4 the french rep says, "Now, before you guys ask about GT5 being in the montage, I already have the answer for you, GT5 will launch, most probably, unless it get pushed back, this year." I got a chuckle, I really can`t wait for that game. Sony showed off their exclusives and the average Meta score for said exclusives which was at around 90. They where proud of the fact that they had the most exclusives in the last few months and they where all well received, and I agree with them. I have been having a blast on my PS3 the last few months.
They also mentioned how they failed with the PsP go launch, and that to this day the regular psp still outsells the go. Last year at the same meeting, they where pushing the PSPgo as the best thing since sliced bread. They where very humble about it this time around and pretty much said that the PsP go and the psp will be side by side till the next portable console cycle. They showed us the new green PsP with Metal Gear Peacewalker and the movie 2012 bundle which I think I may get. One nice surprise was the new 9.99$ price structure for psp greatest hits, I think portable games would sell so much better if they where cheaper.
Then the surprise, they start talking about the PsP Move and as they talk about it they take the damn thing out. Yep, we where the second group in Canada to actually see the thing, and we got to try it. Sony have always been a tight lipped company, especially to retailers and here we had a rep with a debug PS3, a bunch of Move games and the famous tech demo we saw last year at E3. I was shocked to say the least. He also stated they will be showing it in public after E3, think the Wii smart car brigade a few years ago. My quick impression about it are pretty simple, its a better Wii, what can I say? And there is nothing wrong with that. I am excited about the Move, however I am even more excited about Sony's new friendlier approach to retailers, I have been in the business a long time and to me, this is huge. For crying out loud, I got to try the move, a month before E3 and 6-7 months before launch, this is unheard of from Sony. So yeah, Move got the whole gang a little excited, for once we where treated with an true early exclusive of sorts.
Oh MS, how I love thee. The rep was awesome, he was funny, witty and he had nothing new to tell us, and he knew it. He stared by saying how they where jealous they didn't have a Kevin Butler, and that he hopes the real Natal name will be good because he thought Move was a great name and he was not sure Natal would work well with the soccer moms. The catch phrase for the whole power point presentation was Today, Tomorrow and next week. Today was Alan Wake, tomorrow was Halo Reach, Natal, Fable 3 and next week was Gear of War 3. He showed us trailers for each of them, nothing new for 40 gamers in the know.
They announced a possible family gold pack which would have one master gold account and 2-3 kid accounts tied to it, probably costing 100$. He also mentioned that Natal would have around 16 games at E3 and half of those where MS products, they will all be boxed retail products when released. Now for the interesting part, and this was all sucked out of him with questions from all of us there. He kinda slipped the fact that MS was pretty much liquidating their current Xbox 360 stock and I asked him if he was confirming a 360 Slim. He said, and seemed pretty honest in what he was saying, that he truly has no clue. He mentioned that has been in the business long enough and the fact that he didn't know, and he could pretty much sense the iron curtain around the Redmond Washington head office, made him think something big was coming up. One thing I though was funny is that he said that they liked what Nintendo did. Now I am not 100% sure, but I think they will be re launching the 360, much like Nintendo did with the Gamecube when they relaunched it as a slimmer, better looking version called the Wii.
That was the end of my mini E3, I finished my day at a friend's place, where we played some Uncharted Drakes fortune since he needs to finish it before playing the 2nd one, damn slacker, and we screamed at each other during some Mortal Kombat vs DC, our Scorpion vs Sub zero matches have been epic for over a decade now, we would spend summers in arcades playing MK1 and MK2. We then watched the Habs tie the series 2-2, Halak was amazing once again. Halak to move it, move it.
till next time!
special thanks to crusader8463 from gianbomb, he is my guardian editor.
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