E3 2010: Editorial: Nintendo's Competition

What does Nintendo have to beat to be crowned King of LA?

Before we launch into our live coverage of Nintendo's E3 Media Presentation, let's take a look at the competition, particularly Microsoft's opening presentation focusing on the accessory formerly known as Project Natal, the newly-rechristened Kinect.

Unveiling the fifteen titles that will launch alongside the peripheral this November, Wii owners could be forgiven for letting out a few snickers of derision at the line-up. Sports, fitness, dance and minigame titles dominate the list, with hardly a stand-out title among the bunch. Reading like the bottom half of Wii's Metacritic list, there's next-to nothing announced that hasn't been seen before on Wii or, in the case of Kinectimals, even the DS. The only real big-name title for launch, Sega's Sonic Free Riders, wasn't great on GameCube and didn't really improve much with the Wii's motion controls added, so it's hard to imagine it taking off with full body control.

As for the pre-rendered video of Kinect's Star Wars title, the Wii is by far the better-equipped console to offer an authentic lightsaber experience, with MotionPlus, the in-built speaker and many reams of plastic accessories testify. Until we see a live demonstration of the title, it doesn't seem as though this can offer the same level of control and physical engagement as Wii.

Even changes to the 360's software and hardware mirror that of the Wii. Built-in WiFi and a quiet-running console? Out since 2006 for Nintendo. A new-look, motion-controlled hub where an onscreen hand picks content from a line-up of images arranged in a grid? Looks like the Wii Home Menu to us.

Perhaps the saddest part of the Kinect unveil was the death knell for Rare as a developer of great core titles, now relegated to producing sports and minigame compilations. Considering the team's talent and imagination, it's heartbreaking for Nintendo fans to see it fall so far from grace: the company's halcyon days of Perfect Dark, GoldenEye 007 and Jet Force Gemini look well and truly over.

In a bizarre reversal of fortunes, Microsoft is chasing the casual market the Wii has so successfully carved out as just as Wii owners wait in anticipation of announcements of the machine's core titles: the new Legend of Zelda is just hours away, folks. Where Nintendo continues to innovate its competitors feel content to copy, and we fully expect Sony's Move controller to show off more titles aping Nintendo's more popular titles.

So far this year's showing has proven that when it comes to innovation, you can't beat Nintendo. Stay tuned for more E3 coverage throughout the day, including live text coverage direct from the show.

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