Reggie is happy but hardcore gamers are left standing out in the cold.
At 5 pm GMT Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime took to the stage for Nintendo's E3 2007 press briefing. While we were all expecting games that would appeal to the mass market, the focus on casual gaming and expanding the gaming market completely dominated the presentation. While Reggie claimed to be happy, it's hard to tell if many people in the audience felt the same.
As is customary for Nintendo, the presentation started with the usual facts and figures for Nintendo and the industry as a whole. According to Reggie, E3 2007 is a "coming out party for the industry," but the facts and figures were clearly intended to highlight Nintendo's current dominance of the handheld and home console markets.
After the facts and figures had been delivered talk turned to games, but the revolutionary software on show didn't seem all that original. The Wii Zapper is a gun peripheral that the Wii-mote and Nunchuck attach to, and it'll be used in games such as Resident Evil Umbrella Chronicles, Ghost Squad, Medal of Honor for Wii and a yet to be announced Nintendo title. The peripheral will retail for $19.99 and also come bundled with Nintendo software.
A number of other Wii games were then shown before a couple of Nintendo's big guns for 2007 were rolled out onto the stage. First up was The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass - a title already out in Japan. Next came a demo of Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, which Nintendo claim will be the biggest FPS of the year and offer the most precise control ever seen in a console shooter.
Online has always been a sore point for Nintendo, but Reggie claimed that they're already making strides with the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service. A new Wii Channel was also announced, with "Check Mii out" enabling players to search Miis and take home their favourites.
Real online gaming came next, with Reggie pointing towards Pokemon on Wii and DS, as well as Mario Strikers Charged Football as examples of Nintendo's commitment in this area. Due this year are Madden NFL 08 and FIFA 08 from EA, Dragon Quest from Square Enix and Guitar Hero III from Activision, all with online play.
The big title from Nintendo to feature online play will be Mario Kart. Not due out until Q1 2008, the game will feature full local and online multiplayer, and appears to look remarkably similar to the GameCube's Double Dash entry in the series. Bizarrely, Mario Kart for Wii will ship with a steering wheel peripheral that looks not too dissimilar to the shoddy products the market was flooded with at the Wii's launch.
A bunch of games for everyone were featured, including High School The Musical and Rayman Raving Rabbids 2, but news of a November 12 release date for Super Mario Galaxy was what everyone wanted to hear. This will be followed by Super Smash Bros. Brawl on December 3. Sadly no European dates were mentioned, with every date coming with a "in the Americas" clause.
Finally came the big new game that was built up as something that will bring everyone together and allow everyone to play. This game was Wii Fit, a fitness game for the Wii. Nintendo fan favourite Shigeru Miyamoto came on stage to demo the 'game' and he roped in Reggie to test out some of its features. Interestingly the software will come will a new balance board peripheral.
All in all Nintendo's E3 2007 press briefing was bizarre. While key titles like Metroid Prime 3, Mario Galaxy, Smash Bros. and Mario Kart were shown, there were no original real games announced, with the focus firmly on 'games' for casuals. It was bound to happen after the success of the DS and Wii, but it seems that Nintendo is moving further and further away from the imaginative and exciting game developer than many gamers grew up with.