Robert VerBruggen, Freelance Writer
There are two interesting questions that E3 2009 might answer: How are Microsoft and Sony responding to the Wii's success, and how is Nintendo dealing with the Wii's failures? On the former question, rumors have been circulating that one company or the other (or both) will announce some sort of new motion-control mechanism. This would be good news in that it would open new possibilities for Xbox 360 and/or PlayStation 3 games, but also worrisome in that video game peripherals are always a huge risk. Components sometimes don't work, in-game implementation can feel gimmicky, and gamers hate having to buy extra hardware when they already own systems.
As for Nintendo, the company has seen absurdly swift hardware sales, a trend that may or may not end soon. Regardless, the company faces some serious problems: even with component cables, the Wii looks awful in high definition, and American HDTV penetration will likely pass the 50 percent mark in the next few years. The consensus seems to be that some sort of "Wii HD" is in order, and there's been speculation of an E3 announcement.
This will be an extremely difficult undertaking, so it could be fascinating to see what Nintendo has come up with. Even with a 2010 launch, the other HD consoles will have had several years to establish an install base, build a game library, reduce production costs, cut prices, and (possibly) ape the idea of motion control. Not to mention that if the economy doesn't improve by then, it will take serious convincing to get gamers to shell out hundreds of dollars for Wii II just four years after the Wii I launch. Also on the Nintendo front: will we see any decent new games for the hardcore crowd?
Tony Capri, Freelance Writer
This year I'm most excited to see what Nintendo brings to E3. Though they disappointed at last year's event, they never really built themselves up beforehand. This year, however, Reggie has been dropping plenty of verbal bread crumbs to lead us on to the expo. What do I think they'll show?
We could very well see Mario this year. I know there's been some mumbling regarding the possibility of a sequel to Galaxy, but I believe it's too soon for a console Mario. No, I think we could see another Super Mario Bros. for DS. New Super Mario Bros. was such a joy for many long-time fans, and more 2D, Mario-platforming action would be just the kind of treat to get gamers giddy this holiday season. Of course, who knows? Nintendo could totally knock our socks off and unveil the first, built-for-Wii Zelda.
Either way, there are plenty of reasons to keep your eyes on Nintendo this year, not least of all MotionPlus and the games it will bring with it. Yes, it's infuriating that it's taken Nintendo roughly three years to offer Wii owners the level of entertainment they were initially promised, but alas, the wait is almost over. Now the system has virtually nothing holding it back from totally blowing doors. Red Steel 2 is surely shaping up to be proof of that.