E3 2012 leaves us confused about the future

What was the main takeaway from this year’s E3? That would depend on who you asked.

If you asked Nintendo, it would tell you that gamers still want what they always have – new, innovative ways to play but still a familiar experience and accessible gameplay that everyone can enjoy.

If you asked Sony, it would tell you the future is all about things like augmented reality with its Wonderbook project and continued advancements of the technology on Playstation Vita.

If you asked Microsoft, it would tell you that gamers want more than just games – they want their console to be an entertainment powerhouse such that all content – music, movies, games, photos, and social experiences – are accessible on just one device.

If you asked a mobile gaming company, it would tell you that its industry is where all the excitement is right now.

Are we getting our point across yet? Yeah, the video game industry is in a state of disarray right now, but it’s the kind of disarray that most people believe will lead to a bright future. We just don’t know what that future is.

In the past, E3 was very predictable – whoever introduced new hardware was the one that made all the stories, while publishers fought over who has the “best in show” in terms of new games.

Recently, though, very different stories have come out of the annual event. Instead of talking about new hardware, we end up talking about how companies are extending the life of current hardware, leading to a point where E3 2012 felt almost the same as the show from 2008 or 2009 – when the PS3 and Xbox 360 were just a couple years old.

That is to say, no one is talking about it being time for those systems to be on the way out, but rather all the focus is on games and content, and perhaps that is a good thing for the industry.

The only problem is that with things like new Kinect experiences, augmented reality, tablet/smartphone connectivity, and all the other advancements being put on the table, some are bound to crash and burn.

But whatever it is that manages to define the new era of gaming will be a paradigm shift and we can’t wait to see what that ends up being.